Fast forward a few years and I'm a wife/mom/missionary combo with a pack of children and very busy days. I miss my hours up in the loft with my Bible and Spurgeon.
What is a mom to do?
My Bible study habits have had it's ups and downs. There have been good seasons and bad seasons.
In interest of full disclosure, two years ago when on furlough I, the missionary wife, was asked in front of a group of ladies at a church's missions conference how I found time to read my Bible.
My answer? "I don't. I'm not sure if I even packed my Bible in my suitcase for this trip. I think I forgot it." It was not an answer I was proud of, but it was the truth. I went on to tell them how happy I was that I had committed verses to memory as a child and teenager because many days that was all I could do was say a Bible verse over and over in my head. I told them I had been blessed and encouraged by reading my kids Bible storybook to them. I also told them that biggest lesson I had learned during that very busy, hectic year was that my children are not a distraction.
On the rare occasions that I did get up early to read my Bible and found a small child had woken up too, the best thing to do is pull them up on your lap and read it aloud to them. Don't huff, don't puff, don't get angry. Seize that teachable moment. No, you won't be reading for hours with a squirmy toddler on your lap, it will most likely only be minutes, but it will help.
A few things I've learned in list form (because I LOVE lists!)
1. Do your best to get up early before the kids and read your Bible. Or read it when they're napping, if you're not a morning person. Maybe it's just one verse, but read something!
2. Leave an open Bible on your kitchen counter, dining room table, or someplace prominent where you can walk by and get a quick glance. This will help instill the habit and practice of seeking out God's Word.
3. Have a plan. Plan to read through God's Word in two or three years. Take it slow and be realistic.
4. Have help! The Busy Mom's Guide to Bible Study - A 15 Minute Daily Plan by Lisa Welchel was a big help to me when I had two babies. I was hesitant at first, the cover looked "fluffy" to me (I know that makes me sound snobby. ugh) but it wasn't sweet nothings in the book, but more of a diving board for you to jump off of. Tips and tricks for how to study your Bible. I really enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised!
5. If you find your day whisking by and you haven't had personal quiet time yet, gather the littles around and read two or three verses to them. Explain it simply and pray. Five minutes may be all you have, but God can work wonders with five minutes.
6. Memorize, memorize, memorize. We love the Fighter Verse app and are having a great time learning verses together as a family. Next time you find yourself standing at the sink with a mountain of dishes recite your verses. That time is not wasted.
7. Saturate your home with Bible verses. It could be pretty print-outs or just scribbled on Post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, but put His Word everywhere.
8. Don't feel guilty when it doesn't happen. God loves you and knows where you are right now. He sees the spit up stains on your shirt and dirty socks all over the floor, and he knows you're oh so very tired. He loves you anyway and will be waiting.
A few more devotional books and helps I have found and loved for Bible study:
Now things have settled down a bit for us, I am able to wake up an hour before the girls and read my Bible. I am reading through one book at a time, one chapter at a time, until I read the whole thing. It may take me months, it may take me years, but I'm in no rush. I keep a basket with all my Bible study supplies in it so that when an opportunity pops up, I don't have to rush around looking for my stuff. Pencils, a journal for my thoughts, my Bible, and whatever devotional or theological or helpful book I am reading through at the time. I usually only read about a paragraph or two before it's time to make breakfast. I'm currently reading through Standing on the Promises by Doug Wilson.
While I would like to say that I read it every day, it simple isn't true. If I was up too late the night before, I sleep in and the day slips by awfully fast. But I'm trying and every week is getting better.
So let me hear it from you. What works? What doesn't? Any tips?
(And if you're reading this and thinking..."uh...it's been a long time and I'm not even sure where the Bible is..." trust me, I've been there too.)