My Time

We were sitting around a living room, drinking coffee and nibbling on fresh baked goods. A few kids were in the basement, while mine ran up and down the stairs hoping for just one more bite of blueberry loaf. We were women, together to pray, to learn, and to fellowship. On the video screen was a well known evangelical Christian minister, giving tips on how to study the bible.

“Wake up every morning to spend time with God. Make it a habit. Do it every day until it becomes normal. Never miss a day. Do it for the rest of your life.”*

I sighed. There was no way, NO WAY I can wake up before the rest of my family these days. Normally my husband is prying me out of bed five minutes before he rushes out the door for work. He’s already fed the toddler and I am trying to nab a few more minutes of rest while my newborn lies beside me, suckling.

This is the life of a newborn Mama. Before having Gavin and once Cameron was sleeping through the night, I was up early most mornings in prayer or running (sometimes both). I could wake up an hour before the rest of my household when I was going to bed early and sleeping through the night. But, no matter how good my intentions are, I simply cannot get out of bed before my children when I’ve only had a few hours of sleep the night before. Doing so might result in a pious morning, but would leave me unfit to parent these incredible boys for the rest of the day.

But I take this pastor’s point. Even if waking up early isn’t manageable, it is important to carve out time each day to spend in prayer and scripture. And doing it at the same time every day will create a habit that is harder to break.

It is a lovely thought.

One that is clearly conceived by a man.

I don’t say that maliciously. I just mean that the goal of setting aside one distinct time each day is much more conducive to a typical man’s day than a typical woman’s, especially if that woman is a mother.

Many women, but especially wives and mothers, build their lives around other people. They prioritize the needs of their family above their own. Even our bodies are directly affected by other people as we grow children through pregnancy and nurse them through infancy. Our needs change as we go through each phase of life. Sometimes we need more sleep, sometimes less. Sometimes we can manage exercise, sometimes our bodies are working hard enough as it is. Sometimes our hours in the day are completely engulfed by needy children and needy spouses. Sometimes kids sleep. Sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes finding a minute in the madness isn’t even possible.

This is womanhood. This is motherhood.

This is where I have been this past week. My days have been filled with To-Dos and Should-Have-Dones. My children have gotten on my last nerve and have ridden it all the way past the end of my patience and kept going. I have been staying up long past midnight just to get a few things done and my exhaustion levels are at an all time high.

And my Bible, which had been becoming so alive to me lately, is now collecting dust.

Bible

“Wake up every morning to spend time with God. Make it a habit. Do it every day until it becomes normal. Never miss a day. Do it for the rest of your life.”

Those words from that well known evangelical minister have been haunting me.

But they shouldn’t. Because they’re not Godly.

This is how I’ve been created. I have been given the gift of motherhood and I have embraced it to the best of my human ability (which is so, so flawed). Right now, God is calling me to be a mother; to be a servant to my family by placing my children and my husband (ouch, conviction!) ahead of myself. And sometimes that means that at the end of my day, the time I selfishly wanted for myself, even if that time was meant to be focussed all on God, hasn’t happened. I can add it to the list of stuff to feel guilty about, or I can realize that I am doing what God has called me to do, and sometimes that just requires all of me, every one of my minutes.

As I was feeling guilty and discouraged because my time with God this week has been lacking, I realized that this guilt was misdirected. I should instead be taking those few moments every day when everything is quiet and peaceful, to turn to Him. When I’m nursing, I can put down my iPhone and lift up my heart. When I’m snuggling the toddler, I can stop trying to memorize every single line of Cars 2 and instead bring to mind verses that are stored in my heart.

I’m trying to hold onto my time, and I am doing a lousy job at it. Mothering a toddler and a newborn is pretty much impossible and it takes all I have to just finish off the day feeling proud of how I handled myself (it rarely happens). But this mothering thing, what I try so hard to only fail at, is what God has called me to do. So I don’t have to do it all alone. I don’t have to put all I have into it only to feel wasted at the end of my day.

I can just give it to God. My time. My mothering. My day. My children. I can make that my worship. And I can trust that He will know how to best manage what I am currently managing so poorly. And at the end of my day, if I have done all that and still haven’t found the time to sit down for an hour with him, I don’t have to feel the guilt. Because every moment of my day has happened by being dependant on Him.

*Not a true quote.

SheShares

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Edited to add: Tonight, as I snuck away from the house to spend some alone time in a less distracting, hopefully quieter environment, my daily bible reading led me to 1 Chronicles 28:20. It can be totally read as if God came right to this blog and left a comment.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, YOUR God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work [that he called you to do] is finished correctly.

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About Laura ORourke

Laura is a working Mom of two living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Juggling work, blogging, and life at home with her husband Dan and two sons Cameron (age 4) and Gavin (age 1) is always exciting (that's one word for it) but when she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment!

Comments

  1. I relate to this post SO much. I too love getting up before everyone else. I LOVE it. That time with my coffee, snuggled in my favourite comfy chair, praying and thinking and reading… I treasure it. But I also had to redefine it. It is not “me” time. It is just some time in the day that I am usually alone. When I used to call it my “me time” that meant that if I didn’t get it for whatever reason I would be angry about it. If Eli woke up early I was bitter. If the baby needed to nurse during that time I was annoyed. I realized I had to get over myself. I still enjoy that hour greatly, but it no longer drives me crazy if someone wakes up halfway through it. They can just cuddle with me and I will pray for them and treasure them, rather than resent their presence.
    But that newborn stage… it just doesnt happen does it? I know the feeling. I managed to get back to it after three or four months but at first it feels like life will never return to a routine again EVER. That nursing time is precious. No, I no longer had a block of time, an hour I could spare just to spend time with God, but five or ten minutes every hour or two I had to sit still and just be. So I kept my Kindle with the Bible on it right next to my favourite nursing chair (every nursing Mom needs an e-reader!) and could get in a few verses or a simple prayer of thanks. It works for the season, and makes me very thankful for the ability to breastfeed!

    • A woman’s life is all about those seasons. And we constantly have to redefine relationships each time those seasons change – it is true with our relationship with our spouse and it is true with our relationship with God too. We have to make those relationship work as things change.

      I have my bible on my iPhone and my computer and my eReader. These days it takes me all day to get through the readings/devotionals/journaling I want to do because I spend about 10 minutes at a time before jumping to something else, but it helps keep my days focused on the Lord. For sure.
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  2. You’ve captured, so perfectly, why I find motherhood so challenging (and rewarding). Being selfless, a servant to our families is not something that’s easy, it’s not something that our society rewards us for (directly; I would argue that it’s expected of us, but it’s not rewarded, making it a double-edged sword…), and it’s definitely not something tangible that our families can even really be conscious of.

    I can remember after my first was born being exhausted, and saying to my husband at the end of a really challenging day, “I can’t do this! I spent the whole day doing everything for everyone else, and even going to the bathroom felt like abandonment!” Phew. It was a tough day. Adding in a newborn to this? Yeah, it’s tough, and I feel you. I keep trying to tell myself that I had 31 years to myself, essentially, and now it’s my turn to be there for my family.

    • Exactly. For me, it isn’t 31 years (I was 23 when I got pregnant with Cameron), but I know i won’t be responsible for these little lives forever. They will grow up and depend on other people and I will just have to sit back at some point and learn to live my life for just myself and my husband again (which I am sure will be another adjustment). I know I will miss these days.

      It is such an incredible blessing to have this motherhood job! Definitely! But I am also super thankful when my husband steps up and I can have a few minutes to myself. It doesn’t happen often but it is awesome when it does! :)

      Thinking about you as you are going through this same transition I am! Stay strong, Mama!
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  3. Amen, Laura. I’m having a hard time finding time too. Most of it is my lack of motivation. It’s naptime and all I’ve done is watch tv and play on my computer. And then of course the guilt sets in for not being productive, for wanting to just take a mental break as opposed to all the gazillion things on my plate. Balance is really, really hard. Harder when you’re a mom.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Where the Heart Is?My Profile

    • Don’t feel guilty. In some of my personal prayer time lately, (I can’t remember what I was reading… maybe it was part of the last #shereadstruth study) I came to the realization that there is a difference between guilt and conviction. Guilt isn’t from God. It was such a beautiful thing for me to realize this because there is so much guilt surrounding motherhood. But not all of it is sin related. Even spending time on the computer during naptime is sometimes just the refresher you need to continue doing the work God has called you to do. Take heart, my dear friend. Don’t get discouraged. And when you can, remember what God has called you to do and that He wants you to lean on him to get through this job.

      Also? I am hear for you to lean on too!
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  4. JoanB
    Twitter:
    says:

    I loved Rick Warren’s comment that when we do what God created us to do, it is worship. So, my main question as a mom of three when I got up or through my day was: What is he priority for right now, Lord? What needs to be done?” and then my reply of “Well, then let’s go do it!”. It helps me know where to say know to other things to allow time to home relationships and priorities.

    • That is an awesome question to be asking. Lately, the question I have been asking is “how do you want me to respond to this, Lord?” because I have been so quick to lose patience and get angry. Asking that question convicts me and really helps me keep my attitude in check so that I may do this job to the best of my ability. I am so thankful that I’m not the only one loving and raising these kids – I can lean on God all of the time!
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

      • JoanB
        Twitter:
        says:

        Love that piggyback question. There are a lot of these that can pull you through the day. We make ourselves feel so guilty sometimes when I think Jesus would just walk moment by moment. If he felt himself depleted, he just pulled away somehow to refuel and get God’s directions for the next phase. I never heard him tell us have a quiet time first thing in the morning. We apply rules to try to help create disciplines, but if we aren’t careful, they become ways we can judge ourselves in ways I don’t think God does. I don’t always speak to my husband in the morning either due to our schedules, but he’s okay with it. I think God loves me even more than that! Everyone has to learn their pockets of window, their time, their needs, and try to make sure they are filling up with God and not other things. I think this is an awesome article to address these questions!

  5. I fail daily at something, most of the time, it’s to do with my mothering. And I stopped beating myself up over it and just resolve to do better the next day. Yes, the next day is equally hard (if not harder) and I usually fail again. I just keep telling myself I need to try harder. And that is all we can do isn’t it? Whether it’s mothering or finding time for ourselves. We just have to try and do better tomorrow.

    • Oh, so much failure. It is normal, I am sure of it. And heartbreaking. And motivating. And we keep failing. And keep trying. It is all we can do. Good luck with your new day today!
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  6. Hi Laura,
    I found you via the She Shares linkup on the #SheReadsTruth site, & I wanted to say hello!
    I’m not a momma (yet), but I found your post to be so refreshing & so completely honest– it’s hard to do, to open up to strangers about faith. I think it’s just so important for women to remember that your time with God doesn’t have to be reading the bible, or even explicitly praying– you said it perfectly when you mentioned “every moment of my day has happened by being dependant on Him.” YES. YES. YES.
    That’s what matters. You know it. & He knows it.

    Beautiful post, I’m following along now… :)
    Have a great weekend!
    Breanna recently posted..#SheReadsTruth Saturday– He is Enough.My Profile

    • Hi Brenna! I am so glad you stopped by and said Hello!

      You are right, it is SO hard to open up about these things. I blog about my faith very rarely, and when I do it is always with much trepidation, but it is also always so freeing and refreshing to do so. It really allows me to connect with people on a whole other level and I am so thankful when that happens.

      I’m glad you’ll be following along now. I can’t wait to get to know you through your blog too!
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

    • Oh my – I totally spelled your name wrong. :S Sorry. The ironic part? We were TOTALLY going to name our most recent baby Breanna if he would have been a girl! Beautiful name! :)
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  7. Yes. Yes. And Yes again. I can so relate to this post. Every single word. I *know* that I should get up first thing in the morning and spend my time in the word and in prayer. I *know* that I should sacrifice my early bedtime to get in some time that I’ve missed during the day. But these days? Between trying to finish up work and being pregnant and getting in AS MUCH one on one time with Noah as I can manage? I just can’t. Or just don’t. I love though that you shared this and I felt a pull when I was reading your words about THIS being the season that I was called to be in. That this is what I’m called to do right now. Parent my son, take care of this growing baby and contribute financially while I can to our family. Like you, there are areas that I could make more time…not checking Facebook or my iPhone so often, etc. Know that you most certainly aren’t alone in this. :)
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..Our Week via InstaGramMy Profile

    • Thanks Courtney! It doesn’t surprise me that I’m not alone in this. This is a total Mom thing – to feel pulled in so many directions. Our family calls us to be one thing, society calls us to be another, our heart calls us to be something different. The trick is to align all that with what God calls us to do and to do it with his strength.

      Praying for you! Being a pregnant Mama is a tough gig! xo
      Laura recently posted..My TimeMy Profile

  8. My morning are so busy and it feels like the second my alarm goes off the morning is packed with daily tasks and the needs of my children. I use to get up and read my bible every morning before children. Nap time or after the kids go to bed is when I usually get my quiet time in.
    Tammi recently posted..Packing for Much Needed Family Time!My Profile

  9. No matter what season you are in, life will always hold obstacles for spending time with Jesus. I am in a home school, enrichmennt class teaching ,speech, occupational, and physical therapy going (for my son), getting my daughter off to college, babysitting my grandchild, helping my hubby at the office season of life. And Satan uses this season to tell me that my time with God is not working because I don’t have a regular routine and that I am not making Him the top priority in my day. But i know that’s a lie! I won’t let Satan rob me of the joy that all of these “obstacles” bring me. Life is constantly changing and so so short. And Jesus honors the time I spend with him whether its first thing in the morning or not. So enjoy God;s gifts now and the time you have with him whenever it may be!
    Carmen recently posted..His Grace Is SufficientMy Profile

  10. This spoke to my heart so much – especially with the verse at the end. Thank you for this.
    Tracie recently posted..What Works – Stepping BackMy Profile

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