To say that I am busy, is quite honestly an understatement. I am responsible for four kids, an adult with disabilities, pets, a house, and a business! I like to tell people that we just embrace the chaos because that's all we can manage to do. Life is hectic no matter how many kids or obligations you have, but as a woman who calls herself a Christ follower, I am committed to finding time in God's word. Why? Because I know that in order to live this life in a way that glorifies God, I need to know what He expects from me. The only way to do that is to be in the word of God as often as possible. I know that's difficult. I know that it's easy to make other things, or other people a priority. But, if God is stirring in your heart, nudging you to take time out of your chaos, to spend studying His word I would like to share with you what has worked for me. Just like anything in life, we are all different. What works for me and my family may not work for you, and that's ok. I would just like to encourage you to not stop looking until you find the solution.
Here are 3 ways I make time to dive into God's words:
1. I joined a weekly Bible Study
For the past three years I have been going to a weekly women's inductive Bible study. We love Kay Arthur, and I am especially fond of the Precept Upon Precept series. Kay guides you through God's word and encourages you to dig deep, interrupting scripture with scripture through cross references and word studies. I love that these studies break down big chunks of the Bible into manageable, and sometimes repetitious sections so that it can be understood in context. I'm going to be honest with you, when our group takes a break for the summer or the winter holidays, I get out of habit and routine and I do not study my Bible as much as I know I should. So I have learned that it is VERY important for me to have the outside pressure of a weekly meeting to get my homework completed. It is not so much of a peer pressure to make me feel like I have to do the work. It is more of an internal motivator, I personally, need a firm deadline to get things accomplished because I am not very self motivated.
An added bonus to joining a group is that you get to have discussions about what you are learning which solidifies the topics learned. It also keeps you accountable for interpreting the word accurately! Win, Win, Win!
2. I do my study when my kids are awake!
Do you remember the son "Unashamed Love" By Ten Shekel Shirt? The opening verse goes like this,
"You're calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place"
Before kids, this song spoke to me so deeply. It reminded me to make an intentional effort to focus on my Creator as often as possible. It was so easy to walk to my room close the door, and just like that I was alone, in the quiet, and ready to hear what God had to say to me. Now, I am never alone, it is rare to find quiet. I am literally alone for less than 5 minutes total some days, and that's cumulative, not consecutive minutes! So, finding quiet time with God is a real challenge! You know the old saying "If you can't beat them, join them!"? Since I can't find any piece and quiet, I have to work with what I do have. That's right, noise and chaos! Before I sit down, I ask if anyone needs anything, and address all of those needs. Then I sit down and read out loud. When they want my attention, I engage them in what I'm learning. Some ways I do this is by reading them the scripture, letting them draw the symbols in my Bible, or for the younger boys I tell them the words I am looking for and ask them to "help" me find them, usually with a thumbs up. I read them the follow up questions and we talk about the answers together. We pull out our Kids Bible Handbook and Bible Dictionary to get a better understanding at their level. I still get interrupted and need to take frequent breaks, but it allows me less excuses. I think it's important to set an example of prioritizing studying God's word, and also teaching them how to study for themselves!
3. We have lots and lots of Children's Bibles
We make a priority to read the Bible with our kids every night. This is for their good, but also for mine! You would be surprised how often God speaks to me through their Children's Bibles! The older our kids get, the more picky I am about what kind of Bibles we read to them. We feel very strongly that God's word is rich and powerful and does not need to be supplemented. We love our church because they take Children's ministry and discipleship seriously and they use a expository form of teaching both kids and adults. That means that they teach with more scripture than opinion or commentary. Our older boys can earn rewards at church for finishing Bible reading plans where they read through a whole book of the Bible at a time. They love the incentive! This year, we were looking for a new Bible and our Children's Director recommended The One Year Children's Bible. We ordered it on Amazon and so far love it for it's accuracy. I am a firm believer that something is better than nothing, and God will teach us and grow us where we are at! Even if it is with a simple children's story.
These pictures are my attempt at a self portrait. Ashton was helping me finish my homework. It's hard while we're in the middle, but I know I am going to miss these sweet baby snuggles
I would love to hear what works for you and your family and be encouraged by your spiritual growth!