I’m on a mission this year. THIS will be the year that we organize the house – a place for everything and everything in its place. No more clutter, no more waste. Sound familiar? Yeah, to me too. I think I say that every year. As this calendar year dawns, I feel extra motivated and ready to make it a reality this time. Now, where to start? Hmm, that’s what seems to trip me up each time – paralyzed with indecision, I fall back into old habits and routines, treading water in the ocean of daily activities, homework, housework, etc.
My spiritual life can fall into the same trap at times. I WANT to spend quiet, quality time with the Lord each morning, rising before the rest of the family in order to start my day full of grace and patience. What actually happens? I wake up when my son’s alarm rings at 6AM (usually having fallen into bed after working until midnight), work with the children to get ready for school and head out the door by 7AM with five little ones. Then it is back home where sometimes the littles will play quietly for a while so that I can read my devotions and have that prayer time I’m longing for. Sometimes… Other times, they want more breakfast and a snack and a book read to them or a game played – you get the idea. My oldest child is eleven years old. In many ways, he is no longer my “little” boy (not the least of which is that he stands as tall as I do). I know how quickly times passes. I understand the importance of reading that book and playing that game and treasure the time I have with my “littles.” It doesn’t quell the longing for quiet time with my Lord though.
How do we find that balance? How do we find quiet, daily devotion time with our Lord while balancing our life’s vocation of marriage and motherhood? I haven’t found that answer yet. A couple ideas come to mind as I type. One is that I can aim for 15 minutes a day – I know there must be at least that much time “wasted” throughout my day. If my 15 minutes come in 5-minute increments, that is ok – I am still spending time with the Lord, who will recharge me and send me the grace I need to get through to the next opportunity. If the time I have with the Lord isn’t first thing in the morning, it doesn’t mean all is lost and I might as well just give up until the children are older. Sometimes the chance will be in the middle of the day during an unexpected nap time or in the evening when the children are doing their chores or homework or even after they are in bed for the night. Sometimes that chance comes in the middle of night if I’m awakened by a child who needs cuddles or the pressure of the little one I’m carrying on my bladder J. The second thought is one of my favorite bible verses, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) We do pray as a family together and separately – before meals, on the way to school, before any activity, before bed. Years ago, Father gave me wonderful advice in the confessional. He said that when things seem to be spinning out of control to stop, say a quick prayer, “God, please help me to intentionally accept the grace You are pouring into my soul.” God is always ready and waiting and here with us. It is up to us to recognize His presence.
As this new calendar year begins, what is God calling us to do in the coming year to grow closer to Him both individually and as a family? How can we “organize” our prayer life to help us achieve God’s will for us? What other parts of our lives need to be simplified in order for God’s will to be clearer to us?
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths* for the sake of his name. Psalm 23:1-3
If we listen for God’s calling, even amid the hustle and bustle of our family life, He will lead us, replenish us, and guide us home.
Lord, you know when I sit and when I stand. Please guide me and my family into this new calendar year along Your path. Help us to follow You ever more closely. Fill us with Your Grace and send the Holy Spirit to renew us even when the hustle and bustle keep us from having perfectly quiet devotion time with You. Help us to remember that the hustle and bustle is our vocation and our calling in this season of our lives. We give it all to You. We ask and offer all this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.