If a poll were to be taken among Christian mothers concerning the greatest challenge in their ministry of mothering, I venture to say that it would be finding time to spend with the Lord. More mornings than not, most homeschooling mothers hit the ground running. Then when evening comes, they are so exhausted from all their running that as soon as their heads hit the pillow, they are out cold. Then the next day it starts all over again with seemingly no end in sight.
I know because I’ve been there. At a time when I most needed the Scriptures and their encouragement, when discouragement, mental exhaustion, and exasperation with myself and the kids were most likely to take its toll, I often found it the hardest to get alone with the Lord.
But let me encourage you, dear Mother, that it can be done. When my children were young, Isaiah 40:11 was a promise that I found I could cling to: “[He] shall gently lead those that are with young.” During my child raising years, I found that the Lord was always there for me, even when I thought I was alone. He knew my heart’s desire was to raise children for His glory. And He understood my need for His help and guidance every day. My intention was to regularly spend time with Him, even though many times it did not materialize. As I look back, I see that the Lord often met with me in the most unsuspecting ways. But I found that I had to be open and receptive to those meeting places and times.
The following are a few ways I “met” with the Lord when I was in the thick of homeschooling. Each year brought new challenges and each year I would often need to revamp my strategy. Some of the below worked well with babies, some better with middle school age children, and some proved useful with family in general. But I utilized all of them at one point or another.
Quiet Time Strategies
1. Make time for God.
Whether it be as soon as you wake up, before bed at night, or during the baby’s nap time, intentionally schedule a quiet time. Maybe your husband could tell the kids a bedtime story some nights giving you time alone in your room. Even when my children were past the ages for naps, we would have a quiet hour each afternoon when they would read or do school work in their room. When alone myself, I would try to make Bible reading my first priority, avoiding the temptation to catch up on chores to show the Lord my sincerity.
2. Have group devotions.
“Homeschooling Devotions,” as I would call it so as not to be confused with “Family Devotions,” often gave me the opportunity to study right along with my kids. There were seasons where, before we started our actual school work for the day, my children and I would read a devotional together along with the accompanying Scripture and then discuss together a personal application. I greatly looked forward to these times, especially if I didn’t get my own personal devotions done that morning.
3. Create visual aids.
Scripture posters were a big part of my older children’s curriculum. I would write large sections of the Bible on poster board, sometimes with pictures, and hang it on the family room wall. Every day we would study a verse together with Fridays for review. Even to this day, I still remember the verses we studied as I learned right along with my children.
4. Listen to Scripture.
Before bedtime, at nap time, or during afternoon quiet time, I often played Bible stories or audio Christian biographies on a cassette or DVD player set up in the hallway. Nowadays, my grown daughter plays an audio program throughout her house. If I was unable to read the Bible myself, or I desperately needed to just lie down, I also would listen to these audio Bible stories right along with my children. Even this would quiet my spirit and give rest to my soul.
5. Use the phone.
With the internet available, Siri or Google can read the Bible out loud while you’re folding clothes, ironing, cleaning up the kitchen, or doing non-thinking activities. It’s just one way to fill your mind and house with Scripture.
6. Download an app.
Bible apps on your phone are another excellent way to plug into Scripture reading while holding the baby, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or sitting in traffic. Rather than checking Facebook or the news, modern technology can be used for spiritual good.
7. Play music.
Having Christian music softly playing in the house is a great way to get Scripture into both your and your children’s spirit. The right kind of music can do wonders for the heart and instill a worship attitude in the children.
Keep in mind that child-raising is only for a season. Each year will bring changes and different challenges. I can promise you that there will come a day when you will look back on these hard-to-catch times with the Lord and wish you could go back to enjoy what has passed. The important thing now is to desire to spend time with the Lord, and He will meet you where you’re at.
I Samuel 16:7 exclaims, “[T]he LORD looketh on the heart.” God knows your intentions. He sees your desires. And He understands your motives for homeschooling. The Lord can supply your spiritual needs, if only you take the first step and reach out to Him. He will be there. I promise.