Corin is living life in the midst of preschoolers (three of them) and it is evident from her words that she has not lost sight of the challenges we mothers of preschoolers face. She has learned how to worship God through sleepless nights, unpredictable days, and even unproductivity.
It can be frustrating to a mother with young children to read the advice of mothers who have forgotten the ins and outs of everyday life with little people; they often clearly don't recall how a mother of preschoolers is "on" every minute of her day. She is needed in a hundred different directions and hearing the still, small voice of God can seem impossible.
So take much encouragement in what Corin has to share, and Corin- congratulations!
I've struggled a lot with finding time to study Gods word. I've tried getting up early. I hear so many people talk about how wonderful their morning devotions are, and the benefits of starting off their day in God's Word. I don't doubt them, but for me it just didn't work. I'm not a morning person, and doing it in the morning didn't let my brain comprehend what I was reading. So I tried doing it at night, but fell asleep too often.
I tried cramming it all in a few times per week, to ponder over the rest of the week. That didn't work out too well either!
I tried reading my bible while nursing. That worked with my first and I read my bible, in short sections, several times a day. When #2 came along and I had to keep an eye on an 18 month old, while having difficulties with nursing the baby, that went right out the window. I was sure that I'd only be able to do any bible studying in short bursts again. Maybe once a day, maybe once a week, who knows? I grabbed my bible, when I could, on days that everything was going fairly calmly.
About 18 months later #3 joined us. How on earth was I going to find the time now?!?!? Reading while I nursed wasn't going to work with an 18 month old and a 3 year old around. Not that they were bad behaved, but to ask them to sit, quietly enough for me to really concentrate, for 30 minutes every 2-3 hours seemed a bit much to me. Every spare moment seemed to be filled! People at the grocery store asked how I even got a chance to shower! I bought CD bible set to listen to as I folded laundry, drove in the car and did other quiet, mindless, tasks. That was alright, but didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. I'm a visual learner, and when my eyes are active, my ears just don't comprehend as much and eventually it just blended in with the other background noise.
I had to step back for a few days and look at how I got anything accomplished. Did the cooking still get done each day? Yes (okay, so almost every day ;-) ), did the laundry still get done? How about the housework? All of those things may not have been done perfectly (I had 3 babies ages 3 and under, gimme a break!) but they did usually get done. So when did I find the time to do them? Hmmmmm... good question! I did a little here and a little there all day most days, while supervising play time, answering endless questions, and with at least 1 baby on my hip.
I prayed and took a look at when I did the majority of it. That's when I realized that nap time was my answer. I had 1 12 hours, each and every day, of quiet (assuming they all fell asleep at the same time instead of singing or playing in their beds). That was the time I used to really buckle down and get the housework done.
I didn't have time during naps to get all of the housework and bible reading done. They were both important, but which was really more important? Matched up socks, or time with my Lord? I took half an hour out of my nap time cleaning schedule and changed it to bible instead. I was able to do it every day and still get some housework done and at a time of day my brain was still functioning halfway decently. I left the easier tasks (such as putting away the silverware, dusting the lower parts of the furniture, etc.) undone and began teaching my boys to do them when they woke up from their nap. Doing that meant that the work still got done every day and I didn't have an excuse.
One year later it's still working out well. After lunch I sweep the floors, then read my bible. Usually it's for a little over half an hour. While it still may not get done every single day without question (does anything?), it does get done most days.
I've also changed a few other activities. I used to read a lot of news and commentaries online. I stopped and cleaned out my "favorites" list with 2 requirements: Is it edifying? (YIKES did that cut down a lot!) Does it help me better minister to my family? I belong to a wonderful Christian mothers forum that I used to check several times every day. While it fit both of my requirements wonderfully, it still took up a lot of time. I now check it once a day and you know what? Those posts that I would've read later in the day, then again in the evening, are still there waiting for me the next morning! I realized that doing those few things cut down my computer time from "who knows how long" each day, to about an hour. That gave me time to read books (other than my bible) that would help me stretch and grow spiritually.
My husband also recently signed up for an internet music service. Instead of getting bored with my small selection of praise and worship music and putting in something else instead, I can listen to a random mix, from hundreds of albums during the day without commercials or dj's interrupting. Now I'm learning new worship songs, and it's helping me focus more on Him while getting my work done.
Hopefully this will help someone else out there. Nap time may not work out for everyone. Pray, pray, pray and ask Him to show you how to find the time. The Lord doesn't ask you to take on more than you can handle, so if you can't find the time, then it's likely that you are spending time doing something that He may not have for you to do.