Why is it so important to begin the day in the Word and prayer? Does it really matter if it happens in the afternoon or evening instead?
Anytime spent in the Word is good and beneficial. But spending time with God before my day gets going is crucial. All of the characteristics I want to display before my children - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - are fruits of the Spirit. That means, no matter how hard I try, I can't make myself any of these things without the Holy Spirit working in my life and heart. And how will He work if I've neglected spending time with Him day after day after day?
To be real with you, I have not and will not always do this as faithfully as I want to. I've had many days where I've rolled out of bed awoken by the hungry cries of my "starving" children. :) I'm not a Super Mom who is up with the baby all night and still rising at 5am with my Bible. However, I do have a great, simple tip that enables me to spend time with God before my children
Here it is! I've trained the girls to stay in their room after they wake up! That's my super simple tip, and it's worked wonders. The girls used to wake up very early, come out of their room, and immediately ask for breakfast. And not knowing any better, I would drag myself out of bed at unreasonably early hours and feed/entertain them. That left no time for me to read my Bible or pray. Oh, I would try to do it while they ate breakfast, but my time with God was so interrupted and shallow that by lunch time I couldn't even remember what I had read! I would also try to read at night, but I was usually too exhausted to stay awake. Can anyone relate?
When it dawned on me that my children should not be dictating their wake up time (I'm slow sometimes), I began to train them to stay in their rooms until I came to get them. At first, this did not go over well at all. I had enabled a bad habit, and they were not happy about it. There was drama and tears and I almost gave up. But I'm so glad I stuck with it, because we're experiencing the fruits of it now!
5 practical tips1. Start small. At first, I only expected them to stay in their room for 15 minutes after waking up. As time went on, I increased this amount of time. Yesterday morning, I spent an hour in the Word as my 2 and 5 year old daughters quietly played!
2. Teach them what they can do as they wait for you. Our girls are allowed to read books on their bed, play quietly with toys, or talk to each other with quiet voices.
3. They may not like this new change at first, but it's ok. Stick with it because in the end it's so worth it! Be clear and age appropriate with your expectations and consistently discipline any disobedience.
4. Be patient as you train them. Explain your expectations and why this is good for both you and them. I tell my girls that Mommy needs special time with God in order to be a good Mommy. Rachel will still pout when I say this. Again, it's ok. I'm modeling something very important for them that they will hopefully appreciate in years to come if not right now. Put God first. They won't forget that.
5. There will be interruptions. I'll be honest... My kids are young and they argue with each other frequently. There are definitely interruptions that I need to deal with or squabbles that I need to help them resolve. Respond to their needs, but be brief and return to the Word after it's taken care of.
I hope this is helpful! It's what has worked well for us in this time crunched season of raising very small children.
Do you have any tips for ensuring that you have time in the Word? What works for your family?