In my life, every waking moment is spent in a whirlwind. Noise is all around me in the forms of singing, humming, blabbering, screaming, or fighting. Right now as I type, it’s 5:52 A.M., and I can hear my toddler crying from the playpen in our basement. He’s down there so he doesn’t wake up my four- and six-year-olds.
Within minutes of waking up, my normal day begins with a train of thought something like this:
Turn on the stove. Get the eggs and butter out of the fr—Oh, the dog needs to be fed.
“Eliza, please feed Abbey!”
Man I have to pee. Why is the fridge door open? Right, butter and eggs.
“Mommy, can I eat dog food for breakfast?”
“No, Zach, dog food is not for humans. We’ve had this conversation before.”
I can’t forget to call the pediatrician today—“MAH-AHM, Ethan is eating the dog food and splashing the dog water!”
“I’ve told you a million times to keep Ethan out of the room when you feed the dog!” Why do I smell something burning? The pan is smoking. Turn it off.
“Kids, why didn’t you get dressed before you came downstairs? Please go back up and put on some clothes unless you want to go to school in your pajamas.”
“Yea, pajama day at school!”
Ignore them. Getting dressed. Now that would be nice. Maybe this morning I’ll make time to wash my face and brush my teeth before heading out th—
“AAAAhhhh! I was first!”
“No, I got to the top of the stairs FIRST!”
Clothes will have to wait. I can drive to school in what I’m wearing, but if I don’t pee before we leave, that would be bad.
If you’re anything like me, you understand this world. It’s utter chaos—and because of that, it’s easy to self-righteously excuse ourselves from “fitting” in time with God. Somehow we convince ourselves that our relationships with God, like a doctor’s appointment or soccer practice, are calendar entries that we need to set aside. Only we skip them because life happens, and then we feel guilty for not spending the time at Jesus’ feet we so desperately need.
If you manage to schedule this time into your day, more power to you (and I want your tips)! But for me, it’s a struggle for perfectionism in a phase of life that throws several unanticipated fires my way every day.
There will always be something else competing for my attention, but I can’t allow that to keep me from reading my Bible.
The Battle Unseen
Each day, interruptions can feel like a war zone where there is a constant onslaught from gunfire and bombs. As soon as I can get one raging child quiet, another one springs forth with a major tear-worthy issue, like not being able to get a shirt on the right way or not getting to watch a certain TV show. Each of these moments requires patience I don’t inherently have. And each wears me down.
Without God, my ability to deal and cope with the next meltdown dwindles with each episode. And I often explode. I find myself disappointed in my inability to act as I want in the tough moments. This is not the fruit of abiding in Christ. This is what the Enemy wants.
What I’m realizing is that I am in a spiritual battle.
Recently, while thinking about what Scripture says about itself, I was struck by Hebrews 4:12 in a way I hadn’t been before. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between the soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” I quickly looked up Ephesians 6 and read about the armor of God. Sure enough, there it was again: “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Word of God is the only weapon we have in our fight against Satan’s attacks. Ephesians tells us everything else is just protective gear; our only ammunition is knowing the Word of God in our hearts so we can fight back.
Wielding a Sword
Many of us believe that we face the same conundrum: we can’t do this mothering thing biblically without reading our Bibles, but we can’t find time to read our Bibles because we’re mothers.
But that’s a lie.
I’m as guilty as the next person for putting God on the back burner instead of living in him. I can no longer make excuses about not being able to get my hour of uninterrupted, “quiet” time.
But what you and I can do is read our Bibles for a few minutes while we nurse, or in the carpool lane, or once all our children go to bed. We can depend on our sovereign God for peace amid the chaos because peace doesn’t come from quiet; it comes from our Lord (2 Chronicles 20:30, Isaiah 9:6, Acts 10:36).
Our peaceful time with the Lord might not be what we want it to be, but it's so much better than nothing. It's better than facing the day with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation saying, “Take your best shot, Satan,” while we stand, swordless. How long can we possibly stand against the attack without any weapons?
A Scripture-Filled Life?
If the Word of God is living and active, we have to continually read it, study it, and memorize it. The same verses don't have the same application when we are 5, 15, and 35 year old. (Just think of how different “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” seems as a parent than it does as a child.) For the Bible to continue to minister to us, we need to continue to soak in it.
What if I could remember Scripture in those trying moments every day and speak life into my kids instead of losing my temper?
When Zach is whining for what seems like the millionth time in a day, what if I reminded him gently, “Do everything without complaining or arguing” (Philippians 2:14)?
When Ethan, my toddler, is awake again at 5 A.M. and ready for the day, what if I recited, “like cattle going down to the plain, give me rest by your Spirit, so I can give you glory” (see Isaiah 63:14)?
And when Eliza, my first grader, tries my patience with her attitude or questioning, what if instead of raising my voice and telling her to go to her room I recited Proverbs 25:15, “Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones”?
This ministers to my children, and it ministers to me—I need these verses as much as they do.
I need to trust that God can work with a few minutes here and there, even if that’s all I can find. I can’t wait for the perfect chunk of time to present itself. If I want to read my Bible, it might be loud around me. (Literally, someone might be clanging pots and pans.) But you and I can still find rest and peace because those things come from God.
So stop reading about how you need to read your Bible, and read your Bible, sister. Soak in what God wants to tell you, for his way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet (Nahum 1:3).
Christine Elliott Virgin is a writer, editor, and mother of three. She currently works part time for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. If she had more hours in the day, she would blog more at PeeInPeace.com and remember to brush her teeth and wash her face twice a day.