Establishing a Consistent Quiet Time

Today I'm going to talk to you about a subject that quite possibly has more potential to summons the guilt within than a piece of double fudge cake for breakfast.

Two words. QUIET. TIME.

#SurprisedByLife

Let's be honest ladies (& gents). Some of us hear those two words and feel as though we've been reduced to 4th grade Sunday School when the teacher asked us if we had practiced our memory verse for the week and could now recite it in front of the class.

Shame. Guilt. Remorse.

We know we should spend time alone with the Lord talking to Him, hearing from Him, pouring over His Word to hide it in our hearts. But we don't.

Emptied Out and Filled Up

December of 2001 the Lord called me to establish a consistent quiet time.

I had spent the previous six months pouring my heart into my very first full-time job. A ministry calling, it didn't take long for me to realize that giving and giving and giving without putting anything back in was forcing me to run on empty. What had started out as a joy for me, was becoming a chore and I was positioning myself to burn out quickly.

I knew down deep in my knower that something had to change or I wasn't going to be able to fulfill the calling God had placed on my life.

So January 1, 2002 I began to get up two hours earlier than usual to spend concentrated time in the Word each day.

January 1, 2002 through June 19, 2005 was a time of exponential spiritual growth in my life. My memories of those two hour long quiet times with the Lord are so sweet. I remember lingering over His Word. Hungering for it more and more each day. Seeing for the first time the great worth of my salvation even though I had been saved for many years.

But why, you might ask, did I place an ending date on this time of great spiritual growth?

Friends, I'm going to share a secret with you. If you're like me, and oh I pray you are, hearing what I'm about to tell you may help you find peace and freedom. Because if you have experienced this, you'll know you are NOT ALONE.

June 19, 2005 was the day I experienced bringing a new life into the world for the very first time. It was also the day that my nectar sweet time alone in the Word of God came to a crashing halt.

Babies and Quiet Time??

I was unprepared for the emotions I would experience as a new mom. Despite having a Masters in Counseling and knowing I might struggle I was unprepared. The first year of my sweet baby boy's life was filled with doubt...

"Who am I now?"

"I'm totally responsible for keeping this baby alive. There's never going to be a vacation from this child."

"Why won't you help me with this Lord? Why won't You make him sleep? Why won't You make breastfeeding beautiful and easy? I can't even feed my own child without a fight!"

"Why are You doing this to me, God?"

"I'M A FAILURE."

The first six months after he was born my husband and I didn't even have a church home, so I had no "Titus 2" women to help me through my fears and anxieties as a new mother. I fell into the baby blues...a form of depression. And instead of choosing to turn to the Lord with my fears, I got angry with Him. Thought He had deserted me. Thought that if He REALLY loved me, He would change my circumstances.

After about six months we committed to a new church home. It's where we continue to worship today. Slowly, but surely, we began to trust again and take initial steps toward building relationships. I realized that I was in desperate need for fellowship with other women, so I began attending the women's Bible studies and eventually leading them again...something I dearly love to do.

And I came out of the fog. One small step at a time.

I knew down deep in my knower that something had to change or I wasn't going to be able to fulfill the calling God had placed on my life.

And I began to see again...see His great love for me. See that He had been there all along. Was with me every long night, every stress filled day, every battle...He was there.

I found Him again in His Word. Finally I was able to stop living based on what had been in my life and instead, live for what He was doing...now.

Another One??

When my second son was born just 23 short months later I found myself tempted to respond the exact same way. It didn't get any easier. There were times when if I had kept alcohol in the house...well...let's just say there were times when I would've taken whatever means there were to have a break.

Except this time, I knew the consequences. And I never wanted to feel so far away from my God again.

Through it all I learned some interesting things. I'd like to share them with you now.

1. Quiet time doesn't have to be in the morning. God doesn't care for legalism. But there is something particularly anointed about rising early to start your day in the Word, to hide the Word of God in your heart so that you might not sin against Him throughout the day.

2. Get Creative! I think God delights in our creativity when it comes to time alone with Him each day. When my sons were young they both went through seasons of chronic ear infections ending in tubes. My oldest was 12 months when he got tubes and my youngest was just nine months. During those times, both about five months long, my husband and I didn't sleep. At. All. Add to that shift-work and momma working (at that time) four days a week and you get an equation for disaster. I simply could not force myself to get up one milisecond before I absolutely had to in the morning. And I often fell asleep at my desk during lunch.

The only time I consistently had to hear from the Word of God was on my drive to and from work and (prepare yourself...I'm going to be blunt here) when I was pumping milk for my children at work. I bought the ESV (my favorite) New Testament on CD...Max McClean's The Listener's Bible... and would listen to a few chapters on the drive to and from work. Then, for about 20minutes, two times a day, I would hole up in an office without windows, "hook up", and open up my Bible to those same verses I had listened to on the way in that morning. I was doing my best to fill my heart and head with the Word of God. To study it in-depth, and to stay close to the One Who would give me the strength to get through a difficult time.

3. Just read a little. Also during that time, a friend of mine who had her children, three daughters, VERY close together, shared with me that she, a pastor's wife even, had struggled to find consistent time in the Word each day as a young mother. Her secret during her children's very young years? A Psalm and a Proverb a day. That's it. It sustained her until such a time that her family life could allow her to set aside more time. I immediately incorporated that into my own routine.

4. Make the Word available everywhere. I heard a story about the Reverend Billy Grahm. He took literally the call to feast on the Word at all times and was known to keep several copies of the Bible laying around His home so that anytime he entered a new room he could read a few verses and meditate on them while performing day-to-day activities. This is also something that would be easy for young mothers or working mothers with little time to themselves.

Quiet Time is a Must For the Weary Mama

Time in the Word of God and communion with Him is essential to living a full, joyful, hope-filled life as a Christian. We've been promised trouble (John 16:33) in this world simply BECAUSE we are Christians. Life is hard. Being a parent is hard. There are times when I long for the selfishness of my single life...when it was all about what was best for me. But this season of difficulty has kept me diving head first to the Cross.

No matter what it costs...no matter what it looks like I know I MUST have more and more of Him. And I want to encourage you to commit now to joyfully setting aside time each day to spend with the One Who gives you your life and breath and being.

Get creative. Ask other women in your season of life how they do it. But do it. It's a committment you'll never regret. And it's a committment that gives back more than any other "resolution" you'll ever make. I promise.

Question: Have you struggled with consistent quiet time in the past and found creative ways to overcome? Share them in a comment.