Making the Most of Your Quiet Time
As a mom some days it feels like mastering the art of quiet time requires marathon effort. I can remember the early days when my children were little, sneaking quickly past their rooms hoping to avoid the crack in the floor where it would groan and squeak just enough to draw them out of their unconscious slumber. I remember, too, the feeling of disappointment at hearing them rise before I was ready to greet them. (And then the subsequent guilt that came for acknowledging the disappointment.)
Quiet time, especially when my kids were little, was rarely ever quiet….and sometimes non-existent. I learned though, that making the time to get before God in quiet contemplation was necessary for me to meet with my children and to conquer (or at least maneuver through) the day ahead. It is amazing to look back, now, and see how clear things look, from this vantage point; how profitable, how dear, how necessary that time with the Lord actually is for us. The time we spend with Him affects everything we do, think and say. ( 1 Cor 10:31) Though this time of preparing doesn’t change the storms that are to come, it will change how we react to them. Somehow knowing that, makes all the difference.
Seeking the quiet place of reverence prepares us for what is to come.
As a young mom, and I should add that I was a new believer, I felt as if I was swimming with my eyes closed, or walking down a dark hallway feeling for the wall to keep from falling. We had a child with a chronic health condition that added to the stress of first-time parenting along with, eventually, two more healthy and relatively easy children. (As if it is ever easy.) Then we decided to throw homeschooling into the mix and, well, that sealed my fate… I was losing it.
Honestly, there were days when I felt like I was losing it. Hindsight is 20/20, friends, and I am so thankful I obeyed the Lord on this journey. There was redemption in mind with those early decisions; God was fully in control even when it felt like I was losing control. He had a purpose, as He always does, and it was bigger than anything I could have imagined.
Quiet time is not a set hour of the day, but an appointed ‘time’ to meet with God.
Through the years of diapers, hospital visits, teething, tears, and school books, the Lord brought me gently to His Word at alternate times during the day with a purpose. He was teaching me to cling to the hope that was etched in the pages of my Bible. I had always assumed that I had to have my quiet time in the morning, and while that is prudent and provident, it wasn’t a realistic option for me all the time.
Let me be real with you. I am NOT a morning person. For a long time, functioning early was not a possibility for me. Most of the quiet time I was able to harness came in the evening when everyone was in bed. The problem is that when I finally had that time, it was late and I was tired. Not to mention, the late bedtime made it even harder for this non-morning Person to get up and be cheerful and operational the next day.
I have a dear friend who is full of joy and spirit. Every situation she approaches is like an adventure or a party. She has FUN wherever she goes and it seems like she doesn’t have to try. I met her when our kids were young and I was envious of this freedom she had. She is a morning person; up for hours in the morning able to accomplish so much before my droopy eyelids even fluttered against morning’s bright rays. Hearing her accolades often made me feel quite lazy and inadequate, I just couldn’t make this ‘ideal mom’ appear to fit my presupposed image. Then gently one day she pulled me aside and reminded me that, unlike me, she was usually in bed by 8:30, which is why she could be up at 4:00 am and ready to go by6:00 am. When I was at my most productive, she too, was sound asleep. ~ AHA Moment! ~
I recently read a devotional by Renee Swope on the Proverbs 31 website that fits this idea so well. She admitted that she would wake up feeling guilty about her morning routine regularly. After contemplation and prayer this is the part of her devotional that really blessed my heart on this topic finding the your best time of the day for quiet time.
“The only problem is, I don’t process thoughts or words early in the morning so I’d beat myself up for being distracted and groggy. One day God interrupted me with this thought; Renee, I made you. I know you are not a morning person. I know you like variety. I created you, so work with me.”( – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/blog/getting-up-early/#sthash.E4W39ixj.dpuf)
This description fit my situation perfectly. I, too, felt guilty for missing that most important time in my morning, and that guilt weighed on me throughout the day.
We are each hard-wired to be filled and to produce differently.
We are ALL created to meet with God, often, in order to be productive.
We can come at any time, any hour with reverence and awe.
We can approach the Throne of Grace knowing mercy is our reward and grace is the gift.
We all need to just come
Come and be quiet before the Lord. ~Psalm 46:10
Recently, when I was speaking into the heart of a friend who needed to be reminded to give herself and her children grace, I was reminded how very little grace I give myself. Even now, as I am writing I still feel those twinges of failure looming large for the inability to master the morning hours as successfully as I think I should have. I remember, too, the words of a wise older momma coming back when I attended a Home School Leadership Retreat for our state years ago. I was reluctant to go because I just didn’t have the time or the funds to make it work, but God orchestrates the possible where our limitations shout impossible.
I was up early, waiting in the meeting room before anyone else, feeling out of place because I was only 1 of 4 women there without a husband. (Mine was home with the children so I could go) The topic was that ever untouchable subject of, “Quiet Time for Moms”, and I was bit apprehensive. The thought that I was going to leave here feeling even MORE pressure and failure was prominent in my mind.
Her heart was fully engaged to encourage those of us there to meet with her. She had a quiet and peaceful approach to her sharing which immediately calmed my heart. It was what followed, her words, which later carried me through those days when I felt like I missed the boat. Aside for the list of all the reasons why we need quiet time, especially right away in the morning, the most effective tool I learned that weekend was a song. As her session ended, she shared a prayer/song that had become her routine each day. “Good Morning, Lord. I love you, Lord. What have you planned today? Make me a part I pray.”
That was it! Just a 10-20 second prayer to start her day; and for many years that was my early quiet time, because that really was all I could do. Simply for the same reasons many of you miss out on that early morning time: I wasn’t always the first one up, I had to help my hubby get out of the door in the morning, or my kiddos would roll out of bed as soon as they heard my feet pattering on the floor, etc. It was that moment, when my eyes opened that I could quickly acknowledge His presence in my day and revere His deserved place as Lord of my life. Here in this moment of my day, where the first breath was uttered in absolute gratefulness and wonder at what He would do, I would rest in Him.
Do you realize that one second with God is enough to bless you for the rest of your life, not just the next 24 hours?
Now it goes without saying that just those few seconds with God do not equate with purpose-filled time in His Word, studying and meditating, praying and communing with Him. However, it was that quiet start to my day that gave me the leverage I needed to be free of the guilt that threatened to take away the joy He has so willingly given to us.
He is fully present in all situations and we can find Joy in them all because He is near. ( Ps 16:11)
One day during read aloud time with my kids on the couch, the Lord taught me about the location of my quiet time. It has to start in my heart. It was a day in which I was truly exhausted. I didn’t feel like trying to master any more math or spelling , the dishes in the sink were piled and waiting, and I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner. So we sat down on the couch to read.
It is a good thing because Volcano Mom may have erupted unceremoniously making her presence known. I chose to read the biography of Susana Wesley, and like usual I was taken into the story. I think one of the kids fell asleep, and another one traipsed off to play in their room with Legos, but I was enraptured with her testimony of quiet simple faith. In the middle of a mass of little ones ( 19 babies, 10 who survived), homeschooling, and lack of most basic essentials, Susanna exuded a solid faith that affected each one of her children. Children who later went on to make quite an impact on the world.
Her prayer closet, her quiet time, was under her apron! I loved that! Not to mention it gave me a deep and affectionate love for those sweet little garments that were a consistent accessory familiar to many a housewife in days gone by. I realized, though, that this was something I could do to steal a moment in the day to quietly be with God. It would be a real and visible reminder to the children ( and myself) that I am in the middle of something important here.. for both of us.
Let God make the most of your quiet time.
You commit to God and Let him be life changer.
Let me give you some hope and encouragement. Like the turning of the earth brings on the changing of the seasons and controls the movement of the ocean’s tides, so does the God you serve continue to be constant and faithful in your daily living. He can make the most of our quiet time, whenever it may be offered: quietly on our bed at night, purposely planned early morning meetings, late night revelations and resting, or even under the shadow of your apron. The point is to take time, to make time … quiet and reflecting upon His goodness… in your day.
Later as my children grew I was able to make the early morning hours work better. I wasn’t as tired, mostly because I would go to bed earlier or they were less needy in the morning. I still get up and get my husband ready in the morning, making sure he leaves the house with a nice lunch and a wish for a good day. I still make the journey to the coffee pot as one of the first checks on my list of things to do. However, even if everyone is up, I find my spot on the porch and I make time to get quiet before God. I bring my Bible, my notebook, and my pencil and I prepare for what He has for me to find in His word. It is here that I set to pray and to reflect on His goodness and it is here that I meet with my God in wonder and awe.
Take time, to make time, to spend in quiet reflection before the Lord.
Let His light spill forward and fill you up so that you overflow out of the abundance that His goodness pours into you in those quiet moments with Him.
Scriptures to encourage you:
- Matthew 6:33 – Seek first His kingdom
- James 4:7-8 – Come to near to God.
- Psalm 1: 2 – Delight yourself in His Word
- Mark 1:35 – Seek Him early, but most importantly, often.
- Matthew 6:6 – Find a quiet place to think and pray.
Make it personal! Come with a plan to RECEIVE His goodness and bring some essentials.
- Your Bible
- A journal and Pen
- A devotional
- An open heart
I have found that when I bring a devotional with me each morning I meet with God ( or in the evening when they all go to bed), it helped me to quiet my own heart as I prepared to commune with the Father.
I always try to focus on one book of the Bible that week or month and then journal from the reflection and study of His Word.
I keep note cards and a prayer journal to remind me who to pray for. The note cards are tucked in my Bible and I try to add prayer requests that are continual in the very back of my journal so that I only have to look back to remember.
Lastly, I always try to approach this time with reverence and expectation. Proverbs 13:12 is one of my favorite verses because God took that time of quiet reflection and challenged me with a proverb of my own. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled it is a tree of life.” It was here where I spent myself in contemplative prayer and study that He answered a need that I still carry today.
Faith in the face of fear gives wings to Hope that cannot be deferred.
- Sometimes when our faith is low we need to recharge with His Word. ( Romans 10:17)
- Often when our hope is low, we need to come to the prayer bench. (1 Thes 5:17)
- Usually, when we are fearful about something, it can be overcome by His love. (2 Tim 1:7)
We need to make the most out of our quiet time, by first coming and then attending to His heart for us. The amount of time we spend, the day, and the hour are not as important as the actual act of coming and communing with your God. He is so eager to meet with you and share your day. Give him those first fruits and allow Him to show you all He has planned for the day.
Greet Him with joy and expect Heaven’s bounty!
My love for God and His Word is followed closely with my love for my family. I am the blessed wife to Tom, and grateful homeschool mom to three amazing kids, Haleigh, Tanner and Lauren. We have walked this journey together, being real and trying to live daily for His glory, ever thankful for His amazing grace.