It is in daily contact with our Creator that we find the strength and patience we need to be parents. But how can we hear God when our toddlers also demand our attention?
Recently, the French website (Fréquence chrétienne) published an excellent article on our prayer life. Entitled “7 keys to spend quality time with God”, the article suggested that to have a good time with God, we should have an isolated place, a quiet moment and many other excellent tips. While reading this article, I could hear moms - especially those with preschoolers - screaming “Yes! Yes! I dream of that: an isolated place and a quiet moment!”
Being at this stage of life, I confirm that even going to the bathroom alone is an impossible mission! I almost thought I was in a horror movie the other day: I locked the bathroom door, and I could hear my four-year-old knocking on the door tenaciously and see my 2 years old’s little fingers trying to make their way under the door. With harassing music, we would have had a real horror movie scene!
So, reading this article, I thought I would share some keys that I have learned over time. It is possible (and even necessary) to have quality time with God even in the chaos of a house full of children. This is the first maternity lesson I learned while visiting a church in Northern Ireland (the Bangor Community Church, which I greet with love!). There, the number of children exceeded the number of adults. During a prayer night, I was a little distracted to see these children running around while the adults prayed fervently. The pastor told me a truth that changed my life. “It’s not the children who disturb the Holy Spirit, it’s the reaction of adults to children that can sadden the Spirit.”
He was absolutely right. Jesus never pushed the children away. “But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NASB) We can imagine that when Jesus taught, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of children running and shouting around. But nowhere do we read that Jesus was disturbed by their attitude.
Of course, We must take care of our children and educate them. That’s what the Irish pastor told me as well. When a child became too excited at the prayer meeting and did not comply with their parents’ requests for calm, one of them would take them out of the room to discipline them. “Children are also here to learn to live in society; if we exclude them all the time, they will not learn. When they exaggerate, we take them apart and teach them how to behave. But after, they come back and we continue. ”
Which brings me back to our time with God. If we know that the Holy Spirit is not offended by children, if we know that He is not distracted by their games, we should not be so stressed. If we can find an isolated place to pray, great, but if we do not have one because our children have decided to climb Mount Mommy that morning, it does not matter. You can talk with God even with toddlers on your lap.
In the morning, I often read my Bible, my devotional, and even study the scriptures, while my 2-year-old daughter uses my legs as a tunnel for the animals on her farm. I receive just as much encouragement or correction from our Heavenly Father even though she is there. I also pray with my 4-year-old son sitting next to me. And it’s good: he hears me praying and he learns at the same time. If I have very personal things to say to God, I will tell Him in the shower. But most of my conversations with our Heavenly Father can be done with my children around. In fact, I usually take this opportunity to ask my son what he wants to say to God, and we pray together. What a blessing!
I just wanted to encourage the moms of this world, you can have a good time with God even when your children are there. Even if your place is not isolated, even if silence is not present, do not underestimate the power and tenderness of your God. Most importantly, do not neglect your daily time with your Heavenly Father. Because He, children or not, is waiting for you to listen to you, to encourage you, to strengthen you, to correct you, in short, to give you what is essential to be a good mother.
- I’m talking to moms here, but that could, of course, apply to fathers too.