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Did You Have Your “Oceans?”

Did You Have Your “Oceans?”

One of those mom days had pushed me to the brink. Beary, a brown soft teddy bear lay like a drowned rat in the bottom of the toilet. That stuffed animal, heavy with parfum de toilet was the pacifier of every bedtime.

It represented the line between nap and no nap, sleep and no sleep.

“Amee.” I shot out her name like a paddling.

Two-year-old Amee ran to my side where I stood. She peered down at Beary, and then at me.

“Mommy?”

Peanut butter smeared her cheeks, a mutilated piece of bread hung off her hand, and her blonde hair stuck like glued strips across her face. A pony tail that had once been bouncy and taut hung limply at the nape of her neck.

With one hand on my hip, I pointed to the stuffed animal and stomped my foot.

Shock filled her eyes. She looked at my foot, then up at my face, then back at my foot. A frown, a little bit woman and a lot baby girl, furrowed her brow.

“Mommy,” she rebuked, “did you have your ‘oceans’?”

It caught me off guard. “Oceans” was her word for my devotions, my special time with Jesus in the mornings, and I realized that actually, no I hadn’t.

Smacked by my guilt, I couldn’t help but laugh.

“What does she even think happens at “oceans”?”

Time with Jesus and mommy-hood can seem like an oxymoron, but the more difficult the day, the greater the need. The more impossible, the more essential.

How does mom manage to nurture a walk with God when time and energy are as rare as two matching socks? What does it look like? Let’s take a few tips from Psalm 119.

1)      Be intentional. Come to Him with a heart like the Psalmist. “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”Psalm 119:18 (NIV)

Let’s face it, sometimes the desire just doesn’t rise above the tiredness and confusion. Drop the perfect picture of how you want it to look and pull out a new canvas. Accept that feeding your spiritual soul will be different than pre-children. Make it a first priority not a last. Maximize time. Go directly to God’s Word rather than a devotional book.

2)      Learn to be comfortable with fractured chunks of time.

“Seven times a day I praise You,” the Psalmist says in Ps. 119:164 ( NIV). Maybe the Psalmist understood a mother’s schedule. He talks about his meditation throughout the day (v. 97), before dawn (v.147), and at midnight (v.62).

Make the most of snatches of time. When quietness just isn’t going to happen, keep an open Bible on the kitchen counter and as you fly by read a verse out loud. Use a post-it to mark your next spot, and you will be through Peter, James and on to John before you know it.

Go for the long haul. Strive for consistency. Grab what you can, even if it’s in little puzzle pieces. It is never wasted time.

3)      Internalize the Word. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Ps. 119:11(NIV)

Snippets of time can actually be great opportunities to repeat verses until they are committed to memory.

  • Write a verse on a card and put it above the sink or the changing table. Read it during night feedings, put your head back and let it soak in. You will be surprised at how much sticks through your stupor.
  • Build it into your child’s expectations. Amee and I often sat on the floor while she colored Bible stories or looked at Bible story books. I’d gulp down as much of my own Bible time as I could while the quiet activities lasted. We folded our hands and prayed for daddy at work before she’d jump up and run off. She was quite proud of her own “oceans.”
  • One of my friends uses a giant post-it note paper and puts it up on a wall with one characteristic about God written on the top, like “faithfulness.” During the day she jots onto the paper ways He shows that truth to her during the day. At the end of the day she reads through them.
  • A decorative chalkboard, whiteboard or old window is a great way to put a verse before your blurry eyes.

4)      Trust the Word for guidance. “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”Ps. 119:24 (NKJV)

A mom makes a million decisions daily. “Should I put him down for a nap?” “Is she sick?” “Was that rebellion, or was that a child’s mistake?”

Sometimes fragmented snatches of time in God’s Word feels shallow, less than spiritual, yet the cumulative effect far exceeds whatever frustration of the moment. Each segment builds upon another and ten years down the road the portion laid today may be something God uses in an unexpected way. It is through knowledge of the Word that wisdom is learned.

It is such a sweet comfort to know that as moms we have the best fount of instruction and understanding. “The Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (v. 105).Like tennis shoes that light with the steps of a child, the Word is a foundation for clarity when we don’t have all the answers. “The entrance of Your words gives light.”(v.130)

There will be days that end without that coveted quiet time. It’s part of the season with small children, of interrupted routine and tending to needs of others. But in the wavy ocean of parenting, God’s Word anchors our souls, and nurtures our hearts. Truth laid brick by brick, layer by layer and piece by piece, establishes a strong foundation.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, atsylviaschroeder.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

 

2 Comments

  1. I’m loving the “oceans” from your little girl! It is a reminder that our children can often tell when we’ve been with Jesus—and when we haven’t!

  2. Thanks Kelly!

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