I have a confession that needs to be made today. It is something that has plagued me for a number of years and an occurrence (or lack thereof) that I bemoan almost daily.
I don’t have quiet times. I just don’t- and sometimes the weight of not having them is almost overwhelming.
You see- I have 5 kids, 3 of which have special needs. I’m a stay-at-home mom who runs a consulting firm out of my house. I have a husband. I’m active in our church. I try to write and nurture my ministry between snotty noses, feeding kids, and diaper changes. I have no time for anything past what I’m doing most days. I wake up tired and fall asleep each night exhausted. I’m in a season of raising tiny tots and there is precious little more that I do.
Though it saddens me I just don’t have time for quiet times. And it’s become a constant source of discouragement.
Because somewhere along the line I bought into the lie that there is such a thing as ‘quiet time’ with God that must be done daily. Somewhere I started thinking that if my time with the Lord didn’t look like an Instagram picture or a Pinterest worthy photo then I was doing this whole Christian-thing wrong. Somewhere I started believing that if I didn’t have 30 mins of uninterrupted, hot-coffee-on-the-desk, picturesque-mountains-in-the-background-with-birds-chirping-around-me-overlooking-a-crystal-cleat-lake-Bible-time… that my walk was somehow lacking.
Somewhere I thought that this idea of ‘quiet time’ was Biblical.
I was wrong.
Dear ones, as a busy mom and wife, writer, nurse, etc etc etc I have spent too many days and seasons of my life regretting seemingly lost moments with Jesus. I’ve shed tears that my kids don’t see me deep in the Word at the kitchen table every morning. I’ve deeply mourned the supposed empty spaces that I should have been spending time with the Father.
I’ve been so sorely mistaken. And though I would that I could have these amazing moments with God, I’m slowly learning that these types of quiet times are just not in the cards for me during this season of my life. They may yet occur in a different time, but for now it’s not possible.
I would imagine that there are not a few of you that have similar longings. Perhaps you feel the weight of not living up to this idealized facade of Christianity. Maybe you too find yourself regretting that your walk isn’t Instagram worthy. You compare. You feel unworthy. You feel lazy perhaps or even sinful.
I get it all too well.
Today let me encourage you. Let me show you what our Father esteems as a true woman of God… the Proverbs 31 woman.
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”
Notice there’s not one place here that shows this woman of God sitting down with a cappuccino and diligently spending hours in Bible study? Notice there’s no vases of flowers sitting in the background with perfectly highlighted Bibles laying around?
This season will not always be this way… and I’m learning to not compare other’s seasons with my own. My quiet times don’t exist- at least not in the idealized form I’d like. But I work to daily be about my Father’s business and I choose to stay contented with that. I refuse to live under false conviction that I’m not doing it ‘right’.
God meets us where we’re at. Whether it’s a pretty picture or (in my case) a blurred shot of a busy life. He is good. He understands. And He too is in these moments- crazy as they may be.
Please don’t get me wrong. If I could have quiet times like these with the Lord I would in a heartbeat. There’s nothing unBiblical about them. In fact for those who have the time to spend time with God in this way, I would challenge you to. Everyday. How I long for that kind of time!
But for those of us who’s time with Jesus doesn’t look the way we’d like it to, don’t get discouraged. This passage speaks of raising children, taking care of the poor, being thrifty and running a household well; teaching and working sun up to sun down. The woman of God is BUSY! Did you pick up on that? She’s got her hands and days full! She is about her Lord’s business.
I take such great comfort in that.
My quiet times may be anything but quiet but I see God in my kids faces and He certainly speaks to me through their little voices. I may not get to spend hours in the Word but I get to teach it to my children daily. I may not enjoy that hot cup of coffee each morning before the sun rises with my Savior, listening to the sound of creation awakening but I get to roll out of bed each day with the call of ministry to my family.