936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
“Dear God, please bless our week today,” I smiled as I listened to her sincere request. Obviously I needed to review the difference between a day and a week with my kindergarten students.
And yet her small voice taught me a big lesson that morning. I replayed her words in my mind. How many times have I tried to do a week’s worth of living in one day? Whether trying to squeeze every ounce of fun out of a vacation, or each drop of productivity from a busy day; it seems we have too much to do and too little time to do it.
God gives each of us twenty four hours a day. Subtract a third for sleep and we are down to sixteen hours; give or take a couple hours, especially for menopausal Nanas trying to stay asleep and weary Mamas trying to stay awake.
Time is a precious commodity, how are we investing it?
Do you rise early to prepare for the grand exodus? Packing diaper bags, back packs, and lunches while rushing to enter the workplace on time? After a long day do you pick up children and hurry home to throw dinner together, clean up, toss in some laundry with just enough energy left to tuck the kids in bed, then fall into bed exhausted yourself? Maybe dinner was eaten in the car as you headed to a ball game or school activity. Then there’s the challenge of finding time for homework and projects. I remember those days well, they were exhausting.
Perhaps you are a stay at home mom. You too rise early, because if you don’t, your toddler will climb out of bed and rearrange your cabinets or shampoo the carpets; with your salon brand. Your day might be filled with cleaning up one mess after another, trying to take a shower, and searching for the secret to crossing things off of your to-do list.
Teaching at a Christian school, I spend my days planning, preparing and teaching children to read, write, and love the Lord; not always in that order. Through the years I’ve learned to look to Jesus, the master teacher for the best use of my time.
Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus woke up very early in the morning to pray. If God in the flesh needed to pray before he started his day, how much more does my flesh need it? I find the more I have to do, the more time I need in prayer. My day doesn’t always go as planned, but the One who plans my day goes with me.
I didn’t always value this time together with God. Although I attended church growing up, I wasn’t a Christian when I became a mom. Frankly, the first time I heard a clear presentation of the gospel I was offended. Void of a personal relationship with God, I rejected the idea that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I was raised to be self-sufficient and had become very good at it. I didn’t want to think I needed anyone, and I certainly didn’t think I needed “saving”.
However, surrendering my life to the Lord was the best thing I ever did. Seeing my life in light of God’s truth, I knew I needed the work of God to transform me.
But who has time to pursue God in the midst of crying babies, messy spaces, and husbands vying with children for attention?
Shortly after my third child was born, I complained to a friend about not being able to get anything done. Overwhelmed and under-prayed caused me to resent her suggestion.
“Stay up after the baby’s 5:00 a.m. feeding. The house will be quiet before everyone else wakes up and you can have time to read the Bible and pray. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish after that.”
Are you kidding me?
During the early days of parenting I wasn’t a night owl or an early bird; I felt like a perpetually exhausted pigeon. I thought my friend was crazy to think that I would be awake enough at 5:00 a.m. to form words to pray, let alone understand what I was reading. However, she did seem to have a peace in her parenting that I lacked and enjoyed a fulfilling marriage that I envied. I decided to give it a try. And you know what? It was hard.
The temptation to return to sleep was stronger than my will to stay up. My bed beckoned me like the Sirens lured the men in the Odyssey. I realized I didn’t really want to stay up. So, I began to ask God to help me want to stay up; to love him more than I loved sleep. To my surprise, he answered. I’ve been enjoying special time with God each morning ever since.
When you feel like you’ve got a week’s worth of living or working to do in a day, remember to start out with the Lord. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you”. When you desire better communication with your spouse, help with potty training, or organizing your kitchen, ask for it. Peace in your circumstance, restoration of broken relationships, and joy for your journey are only a prayer away. God’s invitation comes with his promise. You ask and he answers. You can even ask him to bless your week today.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!