I can remember pre-motherhood, the deep Bible studies and long times of prayer I used to have, particularly during my college days. Now, suddenly, I’m lucky to fit it in unless I wake up with the worms (that means, even before the early birds). Even then, my time is limited, and consequently, so is my depth of study.
For years, I’d beat myself up with guilt and even go through periods of giving up on devotions altogether because I couldn’t get the quality out of them that I craved. But as I talked with other godly women, older women who had survived the struggles of motherdom and come out on the other side, I received some valuable advice.
How do I care for my family and fit in quality Bible study? Through a strategy of immersion rather than submersion. Here’s what I mean: though you might not have time to go “deep,” we all have bits of time throughout the day to continually immerse ourselves in God’s Word and in prayer. Listed below are a few ideas that have helped me.
- Study shorter passages for longer amounts of time. Take a verse or two each day. This isn’t lazy by any means. I have learned that if I read a couple of verses, I have time to really meditate and to study those verses more fully than if I read long passages at a time. That doesn’t mean that you read verses out of context, but rather study a book of the Bible in bite-sizes.
- Meditate on your reading through the day. This is immersion, and it works best with a strategy of reading smaller passages at a time. The lesson from my devotions is the lesson for my whole day, and many times I will have a good paraphrase of what I have read fresh on my mind. And each day, my understanding of the passage grows. I’m digging deep one spoonful of dirt at a time.
- Arrange a sanctuary for retreat. We all have moments during the day when we just have to get away. Especially at home with little ones, I have found that I crave “just a few minutes” more than I ever used to. So, I’ve set up a place of retreat (don’t laugh) in my bathroom. This is the place I can lock myself away for those precious few moments and pray and meditate–mostly undisturbed. The short devotional readers are perfect for this sanctuary. Find a favorite devotional book that has a short verse and a page or two of devotional thoughts. A couple of my favorites have been Lydia Brownback’s books.