I’ve been there, and am still somewhat there. It’s fuzzy. Mostly for severe lack of sleep. But I remember.
Some of you are still nursing through the night. You’ve got a baby who seems to sleep a lot, but oddly, this seems to equate to more work rather than less. Your loads of laundry outnumber your REM cycles. You do a lot of wiping…well, everything. Your house is full of things like sippy cups with chewed-up tops, Pull-Ups, toys in highly saturated colors, board books of soggy edges. Your home may or may not smell like baby wipes, baby lotion, and occasionally baby diaper pail. You likely drink only cold coffee, and eat at least one meal a day standing up. You happily receive wet, open-mouthed kisses from short people that belong to you. When someone calls on the phone, you may have two options: a) Start talking to—wow! Another adult!—as words just fall out of your mouth, or b) hang up as quickly as possible so someone short but speedy doesn’t, say, flush your Tupperware lids down the master bathroom toilet. Messes are made roughly four times faster than they are cleaned up. But you wonder if the clean up ratio would improve if you had, say, three more hours of sleep, or as much energy as that toddler with those endearing little pigtails or that Superman cape he won’t take off for a bath.
Motherhood is somehow much harder than anyone told you, but so much more rewarding than they could have ever communicated.
When someone mentions a quiet time, you may or may not feel a guilty stab. But if so, the other half of your brain might say, if I had an extra twenty or thirty minutes, I should probably devote it to personal hygiene, e.g. a shower. That is, if I could stay awake.
I remember knowing very much my need for personal, more in-depth time with God—more than flipping open my Bible for a few minutes before bed before my eyes started crossing and surrendered to the incredible sleep-inducing forces that overcame me once I got horizontal. The problem was, the time—dare I say it?—almost felt too expensive. Sitting down for a quiet time meant I gave up more sleep, more of the to-do list I already felt weeks behind on, or the personal time for which I felt starved—pretty much a non-reality anyway. It also meant that once I sat down, I would likely pop up like a piece of toast for someone who had a nightmare, or the to-do list item that threatened to fall off the vast cliffs of my mind if I didn’t scrawl it down.
Here’s what I want to gently, compassionately suggest with my cyber-arm lovingly thrown around your shoulder: You need this. More than you need to feel like you’re not suffocated by a to-do list—or laundry. More than you need to be able to walk without injury…or exhausted tears—through your living room. More than sleep (true story!). This is you time. More importantly, it’s Him time. It’s time to revel in first things being first.
It’s time to be satisfied in God, which will make your entire life more God-glorifying, and quite possibly your kids happier as they see a filled-up mom. This is not a “should” time. No one’s making you do this. It’s an expression of what you choose, of what you need—of who He is. Not because you’re that noble, but because He is. It’s a time to listen, to be nourished. If the most perfect man who set foot on the planet—with the world on His shoulders—needed time alone with God, you just might, too.
So your senses need to know this, too (remember that whole concept of “positive association” from Psych 101?). Here’s my idea. Wait until naptime. Or if you can, take Crystal’s suggestion and go to bed just 20 or so minutes early, and get up just 20 minutes early. (You know—before those sweet little kids with jammies and bedhead seize the hand flopped over the edge of the bed, asking for breakfast and smelling like they need a change.) Grab yourself, let’s say, some scented lotion that you really love. Earlier, prepare a snack you’ve been hoping you could sit down to eat, and/or a drink (cappuccino? Tea?) that feels like a real treat. Maybe you want to soak your feet. Maybe you’ve been hoping to blow the dust off your journal and want to snag that, too. Then curl up in a place that murmurs “peace” to you: Outside? Your favorite chair? (Might want to steer away from the bed for now.) Start with twenty minutes. We can all find just twenty minutes, right? There are, like, 120 sets of those in a day.
Then take some time to simply be in God’s presence, like you would with a best friend. Slather on a little lotion. Take a bite, take a sip. Take a breath. Pour out your heart to God. Take some time to sift through your day or week for thanks, and to praise God for who He is. Confess your need and the ways you’ve failed. Meditate on just one Scripture passage, breathing it in and praying. From there, it’s up to you. But try not to walk away until you’re filled up, or have tuned your soul to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Or, you know, the natives just get too restless.
You can do it. There’s Someone who can’t wait to talk with you.
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