Tips for Bible study when you have small children

I remember as a teenager having oodles of time for Bible study. After school or work, I would head up to our loft with my two Bible (one for each language, of course!) a pack of highlighters, and my favorite commentary by Charles Spurgeon. I would read for hours and loved every second.

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..."'s been a long time and I'm not even sure where the Bible is..." trust me, I've been there too.)

On loss and grace

Last Sunday I had my first miscarriage.

Miscarriage is one of those things that so many women have gone through, and every woman hopes she doesn't have to go through it. Prior to this I have had three healthy, full term babies. I assumed I would never have a miscarriage, until I got pregnant with my fourth. And somehow, after the first two weeks, I just knew that this baby would not be here on Earth with us. My symptoms left suddenly, and I just knew. I was at peace with this and felt God's grace washing all over me. On week nine, which is when Baby is supposed to be as big as grape, I had the miscarriage. It was hard, and sad, and yet...I'm amazed at how many blessings God gave me through the experience.

I saw my church family gather round and show me love and care through emails, text messages, phone calls, and many prayers.

I received emails, Facebook messages and comments from people all around the world. Kindness abounded from everyone.

I met a wonderful Christian gynecologist who took the time to hear me, respected my decisions, and then gave me wallpaper for my bathroom. Random, I know, but I walked into her office, told her much I loved her wallpaper and then she gave me some extra rolls of it she had in her cabinet. This almost made me cry. Here I am going through a miscarriage and receiving a pretty gift from a total stranger, a gift that I had secretly been hoping for and knew we could not afford anytime soon...God is kind and loving to me, even in the little things, like wallpaper for my bathroom.

All the food I had stocked my freezer with, the food I had made and frozen and planning to use for after the birth of the baby, came in handy for those days while I recovered.

I'm thankful I didn't miscarry two weeks ago while Brian was at camp. I'm thankful it didn't happen while we were in Asuncion doing paperwork.

Thankful that, as Elena put it, "This baby gets to spend his or her WHOLE life with Jesus and will never sin like we do."

Thankful, that when it happened, we did not get angry at God or question Him.

Thankful, that no D&C was needed.

Thankful, that I'm healthy and feeling well again.

God is good and sovereign! What a truth to hold on to.

Panic mode!

"Broken" faucet dillema.


Should I tell her that she didn't break the faucet? That it has a hose which pulls out?

(This is Lexi when she is panicked.)

Life is now

Feeling overwhelmed and distraught today with the condition of my house. It's never clean or organized and I'm always looking for my keys. I know what's for dinner but I forgot to get it out of the freezer and we don't have a microwave (but I'm starting to really want one!)

I spend all day wiping faces, making sandwiches, filling cups and changing diapers. You know, the basic survival stuff.

And like every other woman (person?) on the planet I convince myself that if I could just freeze all the little people around me for a day I could catch up. I could clean up the mess around them, find those crazy keys, and organize my desk. Oh, and thaw dinner.

I start to feel snippy and desperate and head over to Ann's wise words (there are so many to choose from...) and I am reminded by her that this mess is life. Life is not waiting for me to get organized so that it can start, life is, all around me.


It is all from Him, it is all good, and it's happening now.

(But I'm still glad Brian took the girls to the pool for the afternoon so I could make a nice dinner in a quiet house.)