Quiettime is tough to find. At least it is where I live. I suppose pastors’ wives in different cultures may manage to live at a slower pace, but the increase of technology makes life run faster nearly everywhere. Just to write this article, I’m snatching a few peaceful moments at 6:00 a.m., before our household explodes into the day’s activities.
“Come away, and rest awhile,” Jesus told His disciples when they were so busy ministering that they hadn’t even taken time to eat (Mark 6:31). But if you’re like me, that can be a tough invitation to accept.
The thing is, if we want to minister effectively, if we want to have a lasting impact, if we want to be agents of revival in our congregations and communities, quiet time is something we cannot do without. Revival at church can come only after we experience personal revival at home.
It’s an inescapable fact: We simply cannot minister to others when we are empty ourselves. Even Jesus needed time away with His Father to rejuvenate and refill. But how do we actually make it happen? Where do we find the time?
Sometimes I look at older women or younger women, and I envy the extra free time they seem to have. Probably their lives feel just as busy as mine, filled with different activities. But it’s easy to imagine that other people have more time to rest or pray or study.
As younger pastors’ wives, we tend to fall into a narrow set of categories: fiancée, newlywed, young mother. I’ll admit that there are times when I daydream about the flexibility and freedom I had to spend time alone with God during my six years of being a “newlywed,” back when my day’s schedule was dictated by what I chose to do instead of by feedings and diaper changes and nap times.
The silly thing is, I didn’t think I had enough free time then, either. I thought I was so incredibly busy, and taking quiet time to be with God had to be just as intentional then as it is today.
And that’s my point. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. It doesn’t matter if you work or stay home. It doesn’t matter if your house is full of children or if you haven’t had kids yet or if they have all grown up and moved away. Getting daily spiritual revival time has to be a conscious choice. It is never going to magically happen. And the less time you spend communing with God, the more you’ll feel empty and dried up when dealing with others.
On my blog for young pastors’ wives, I recently published a series of profiles on several pastors’ wives and their devotional habits. I asked each woman to share what she did during her devotions, how she makes it happen, and what time of day she chose. An interesting trend emerged. The women who reported having successful, regular daily devotions all said that they wake up extra early to make it happen. The ones who don’t get up early, don’t make it happen. Now I’m sure that doesn’t mean there isn’t some woman out there who has meaningful quality time with God every single day in the middle of the afternoon. But our best chance of spiritual rejuvenation comes early, before the day’s madness begins.
Right now, I’m in a season of life where even the early mornings are difficult. Some of you probably are right here with me. Between my one-year-old son and the new baby arriving shortly, it is not necessarily quieter before dawn! And it probably won’t calm down much for another year or two. So what about us? What about the ones who do want to dedicate daily time with God but whose commitment to being good mothers to our little ones makes quiet time all but impossible?
If your day is so full of babies that you hardly have time to shower (believe me, I’ve been there!), try an unconventional approach to devotions. Play uplifting music and sing along while doing dishes, pray out loud while folding laundry, or turn on a recording of the Bible being read aloud while you nurse the baby. Talk to spiritual women whose children are a little older than yours and ask them how they did it. There are all kinds of ways to commune with God.
Life brings many seasons. Some seasons bring flexibility, others bring exhaustion. Some seasons bring deep spiritual communion, others feel like a drought. Sometimes we are rejuvenated best through hours of deep study, and at other times God speaks to us through song, uplifting relationships, or supportive prayer partners.
Whatever your stage in life, whatever your season, the important thing to remember is that God longs to bring you spiritual revival every day. He hopes that you’ll think He is important enough to make Him a priority in your day, even if you can only snatch a few minutes here or there.
If your season right now is flexible, why not choose to spend more time with God than you usually do? Maybe cut back on media consumption and other less valuable activities and just soak up this part of your spiritual journey!
And if, like me, your current season is full of exhausted weariness, remember that seasons come and go. This phase of life won’t last forever, and when it changes, you’ll have a different schedule with a different amount of time to spend with God.
Whatever your season, God wants to spend time with you today. What do you want to do with Him?