Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Establishing a Devotional Life: The Baby and Toddler Edition

Having a meaningful devotional life as a Christian woman can be simplified into three steps:

1. Take Bible to a cozy chair upon rising in the morning.
2. Spend the first hour in prayer.
3. Spend an additional hour in Bible study.

Nice and easy of course. If you are a mother of babies and toddlers, you may need to add a few additional steps. Preparation is key, so the steps begin the evening before your anticipated devotional time (aka "quiet time"):

1. Set alarm for 5:00 A.M. Early morning devotions are essential. You must meet with God first thing, of course.
2. Go to bed at a decent hour. (Note: The phrase "a decent hour" is highly relative. The most exact figure used to explain it would be the hour between the last drink/good night kiss/"just one more thing to tell you" routine and the hour the baby awakes for his midnight feeding.)
3. Awaken approximately 4-5 more times for varied reasons involving your children before falling into a deep sleep at 3:00 A.M.
4. Drag out of bed at the prompting of the alarm clock you diligently set last night. Fumble with alarm clock to turn it off and realize that you've already turned it off. That high-pitched siren is actually the baby...hungry...again.
5. Gather Bible from under a pile of artwork, bills and a banana peel. Breathe the first prayer of your devotional time which is a prayer of repentance for allowing something to be laid atop God's Word. Oops...add to that repentance for allowing God's Word to be dropped on the floor...bananas leave a slippery residue.
6.Wipe off the front of your Bible and take it and the now screaming baby to the cozy chair. Dump the stuffed animal collection and the stack of books on the floor and settle in to feed the baby while reading your three chapters of the Old Testament for the day. (Your plan to read the Bible through every year has yet to make it out of the Old Testament by December 31.)
7. Read first verse and hear a plaintive whisper from the staircase, "Mommy, I can't sleep. Can I sit with you?" Smile sweetly and say, "Why sure, dear!" Mumble something that sounds like an affirmative and wait for said darling to climb onto your lap. As he settles in, you get a good idea of why he couldn't sleep. His waterbed sprung a leak...oh yeah, no waterbeds in the house. Which must mean....
8. Tuck darling into bed after a sponge bath and clean sheets. Utter the second prayer of the day which is "Please let him go back to sleep, Lord!" Scoop up once again screaming baby who is indignant for having his feeding interrupted.
9. Settle into a chair with baby again and reread first verse. Read verse two and three before baby starts to fuss--he's done eating but not ready for sleeping yet.
10. Abandon your Bible and decide to walk and pray while jostling baby. Five minutes of this and you start to feel a bit smug for multi-tasking. This has got to count for an exercise routine. Which reminds you that you never got around to exercising yesterday or the day before that. You start wondering if you'll ever be able to lose the baby fat with such an erratic exercise routine when your husband comes downstairs and asks what you are doing. You start to tell him you are praying then realize that your mind is a now a million miles from whatever you were praying about. You also realize that he will laugh if you tell him you are exercising by jostling the baby who is now (finally!) sleeping, so you remain speechless.
11. Your husband gets in the shower. You successfully put the baby back to bed. You decide to pray while fixing your honey's breakfast. While you are buttering toast and starting on the missionaries, said honey hollers, "Could you bring me a towel?" At which point you realize that the entire household inventory of towels are in the dryer, which after investigating, you discover was never started. You pile them into the washing machine again and look around for something with which to improvise.
12. You head back to the kitchen and are met with several tousled-haired children with one thought on their mind, "What's for breakfast?"
13. After serving your children the now-cold buttered toast, you pop some more in for your husband and surrender to the fact that your devotional time for that morning is now over.

Disclaimer: The above scenario is completely fictitious. Any similarity to a real-life situation is completely coincidental and entirely probable.


  1. Oh my goodness Jen! This seriously sounds like my morning! I love it! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that this happens too...lol(especially the early morning baths and the laundry and don't forget to toss in the screaming baby). That's great, thanks soooo much for the laugh, it was well needed today:)

  2. Welcome! I thought it might resonate with a few moms. lol

    By the way, I didn't mean to suggest that a devotional life is always easy if you're not a mother of toddlers. More later this week...

  3. oh my goodness, your writing just cracks me up! I love this and it is sooo true! Thank you for sharing this! This also reminds me I need to start our dryer full of towels

  4. Oops....maybe you need to put them in the washer again. :-) lol