I have previously posted this on a different blog, however I feel it might be helpful for readers on this blog
Exhausted parents, especially Christian moms, often feel guilty (or made to feel guilty by other Christians) for not spending *enough* quality time with God. Here is a compassionate encouragement – and some practical tips.
Time and time again I come across exasperate parents, especially precious mothers, exhausted already with all that is going on in their lives, beating themselves up that they are neglecting quality time with the Lord.
If you’re one of them, then see this blog as a loving and compassionate letter to you … or pass it on to those who might need it.
Forgive me for addressing mothers here. If you are a father in this situation, and there are many of you out there, then please consider this blog personally written to you as an encouragement, too.
Typically, when describing their situation, parents berate themselves as whining about their lack of intimate time with the Lord. If this is you, I’d say, ‘no, you are not whining, you just described an honest desire and frustration most of us mothers go through, a heartfelt craving to spent more time in His presence whilst juggling everything else in life.’
I have heard some ladies in the ministry candidly talk about the same dilemma you described, e.g. I recall James Goll’s late wife Michal Ann express her frustration crying out to God in the privacy of her bathroom.
So, what do you do?
Certainly I experienced all this when my kids were little. I guess what it means is becoming more flexible and going with the flow of new dynamics.
For example, the lifestyle and dynamics most likely would have changed in your relationship with your partner or spouse over the years, especially since a family arrived.
Instead of resisting or regretting changes, or squeezing in the impossible and then become totally fatigued, it is smarter to become more resourceful and adaptable, rather than beating yourself up for not doing or accomplishing what you used to do, or were able to do.
You may as well, for especially if your kids are little, there’ll be many years to come, when the parent-ministry will be quite intense. So, you might as well make yourself at home ‘in the trenches’ and go with the flow!
Most importantly do not compare yourself to what you used to do, or even worse to other parents, especially those super spiritual ones! You have a very unique relationship with your Heavenly Lover, your Heavenly Father, your Lord and Saviour. Your tender, intimate relationship with Him does not have to measure up to anyone else’s. You are the apple of His eye, so just bask in His affectionate Love, on-the-go, with total surrender and gratitude.
See, part of all this guilt business stems from doing rather than being. So, learn to enter more into His rest and float in His presence.
Have you ever floated on water at the beach?
When you stretch out your arms, allow your face to be partially immersed in the water and stay still, you trust the water to carry you, it will, and you peacefully and effortlessly float.
However, if you paddle with your arms hoping to float, invariably your face goes under the water ….
So, learn to be still, relax, just be, and float in the supportive loving waters of His Spirit.
Practising the Prensence and Intimacy with God with a fresh awareness
There is another factor we so often either forget or are not aware of: Our thoughts are not private in the spirit realm! Our mental chatter is loud and clear to God and His faithful angelic realm …. so, we might as well use this as a focused communication tool more regularly than what we might have done before.
Thus, yes we can host and practice the presence of God on-the-go without having to sit for hours in Bible reading with long-winded prayers, which is great if there is the time available … if not, then just be flexible.
Quality time with Him is not so much doing things but just resting in Him and being deeply conscious of Him, practicing the awareness of His sweet presence.
Now, am I saying, it doesn not really matter if your alone time with Him is curtailed to just chatting with Him in your mind, whenever you happen to think of Him, or utter a quick prayer like, “Oh, Lord You know and understand how busy I am!” – No, definitely not!
Anything in life, if it is burningly important enough, we make room for it. The Kingdom of God is seemingly full of paradoxes, and contrary to the things we would ‘naturally’ do. For example, in the ‘natural’ we get hungry when we have not eaten, whereas in the ’spiritual’ you get hungry the more you eat. People who are not hungry for God and intimacy with Him usually have not eaten, or spend time with Him.
We need to seperate ourselves to be alone with Him regularly. I like a statement by Bill Johnson, who is my adopted spiritual father, “Fruitfulness comes out of Rest; Warfare comes out of Romance”
We need that rest and romance with Him daily, both in our continuous awareness and flowing with Him, adapting our lives accordingly, as well as some specific set aside time with Him.
Feeling guilty, and a sense that you should spend more time with Him is counterproductive and as detrimental as obeying the letter of the law.
No, He is beckoning with tenderness and love. He is love and responds to our love and craving for Him. When we are so besotted, smitten, in love with Him that we can’t wait to steal away just to catch His gaze and His breath, and linger in His presence, any time of the day or night will do!
…. and something more practical
One thing I used to do, when my kids were little, was every morning get dressed with my Walkman. These days it’s the MP3 player or iPod. Just like you would put on your underwear, put on your iPod or MP3 player, stuffed with either the spoken Bible or great teaching sermons. (There’s a pic of me holding my daughter, when she was little, and of course the ever present walkman).
You’ll be surprised how many opportunities you have during the day to pop in those ear-phones, if you actually wear the player as a routine every day.
I used to go to the playground with my kids, do all the house chores, shopping - you name it … whilst catching up on some good Word.
Sure, there are many times you get distracted and you’ll have to re-listen the same thing over and over. But that’s ok, your spirit will get it, and eventually your head catches up too.
So, let go of all these guilt feelings, and just enjoy Him every second of your life, grab those windows of opportunity, even if it’s just seconds long; just close your eyes, breathe deeply, be still, and let your heart whisper your love and gratitude to Him, and receive His.
In His love,
© Copyright Angelika Regina Heimann – inStrengths Ministries - The Journey of Intimacy, 2008. All Rights Reserved