I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. If there’s not a baby that needs feeding, there’s a toddler who peed through his diaper or a three-year-old who got lost wandering the halls. Recently I awoke to a chubby hand tapping on my neck. He had licked Daddy’s deodorant and couldn’t sleep because his tongue felt funny. There are days I just can’t keep my eyes open.
If your daily schedule looks anything like mine you might be thinking, “How can I maintain a gospel focus when I don’t even have time to finish a complete thought?” We need practical ways to keep Christ at the center of our motherhood or we will naturally fall back into stress, comparing, and mixed-up priorities. We need time in God’s Word.
But before jumping into the “how” we need to answer the “why.” Think about that time (or if you’re like me – times) that your head hits the pillow at night and you groan and think, “I didn’t read my Bible today!” Instead of thanking God for His faithfulness as you drift off, you fight off the guilt and fall asleep making a list of all the ways you’ll do better tomorrow. No reflecting or praying. If you didn’t spend time with God, He doesn’t want to hear from you, right?
The beauty of the gospel is that God’s love toward us is not based on how spiritual we feel each day. When He sees us He sees His Son. And that’s about as “spiritual” as you can get.
We don’t clock in and clock out of our prayer closets so we can check one more thing off of our good-mommy list. There are beautiful reasons to spend time in the Word. Guilt shouldn’t be one of them.
Let’s think about some of the things that might have taken the place of reading your Bible today. Was it…changing a diaper? Making dinner twice because you forgot to turn on the crock pot? Or was it those five minutes you took to have a cup of coffee and check your email? Those moments might not seem as spiritual as reading your Bible but when done with a thankful heart they bring God great glory.
We don’t read our Bible to feel better about ourselves or to make God feel better about us. Time in God’s Word is a means of experiencing His grace, not earning it.
This doesn’t mean we put our Bibles on the shelf. When we’re not in the Word we rob ourselves of the beautiful gifts the gospel has to offer – assurance, peace, freedom, joy. We have to remember that the concept of grace does not come naturally to our hearts. We have to put it in there – daily! A lot of other things do come naturally: worry, ungratefulness, jealousy, discouragement. No one has to teach us those things.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” We have to be purposeful about saturating our minds with truth. When the grace of the gospel is at the forefront of our minds it will be at the forefront of our parenting. That’s a great reason to spend time in God’s Word.
But that brings us to the question of how – how do we find the time? If we finally do carve out special time to spend in God’s Word we are immediately bombarded with distractions. Trying to have a deep, meaningful Bible reading time with little ones running around is like trying to walk uphill in roller skates.
A few days ago my four-year-old walked up to me with an accusing frown and demanded, “Why don’t you read your Bible, Mommy?”
“I do!” I said immediately. I felt very defensive.
“Well, I never see you do it.”
I explained to him that I do it when he is sleeping because that helps me concentrate. He still looked a little disapproving as he went back to his Legos. His question stuck with me. Yes, I was able to concentrate better when the kids were sleeping – but I wound up with kids who think Mommy doesn’t read the Bible. I decided, why do I have to wait until they are asleep? I can take advantage of modeling something very precious.
And I’ve realized something beautiful: the Holy Spirit is faithful to use what we put in. You never know when that verse, read over the sound of a noisy xylophone in the next room, will pop into your mind later at just the right time. None of it is a waste.
Whether you set aside time after the kids go to bed, while they’re still awake, or a mix of both, my challenge to all of us moms is: Don’t wait for the perfect time to read your Bible. It will never come. Accept that there will always be some level of distraction. The Bible isn’t just for times of stillness. It’s for real life.
It’s easy to get discouraged when we compare what we used to have with what we have now. Before kids it was easy for me to get up early, pick up my Bible first thing, and spend quality quiet time in the Word. Seems like a lifetime ago. I’m in a different phase of life right now and my “quiet time” isn’t so quiet. That’s okay.
Still don’t know where to start? Check out the verses listed below and begin writing them on index cards, one each day. Keep them in the places you spend the most time (taped above the changing table, on the table by your nursing chair, next to your computer, etc.) and meditate on them throughout the day.
(Don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Gospel-Centered Mom Bible study! Available for purchase here!)
Gospel Meditation for Moms
2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to thekind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, andthrough Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.As far as the east is from the west,so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.