I've got my hands full.
(And I know because I'm reminded every single day by strangers who see me trying to haul/corral three kids under age four.)
And I see FB posts and read blogs and books written by Christian women FOR Christian women. And most say the same thing: get up early, get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, light a candle, curl up in a cozy chair, and read your Bible.
First, we are a family who likes to sleep in. And don't you know, you should never wake a sleeping baby (or babies). Right now, my four-year-old is in afternoon preschool (the best thing I ever did. No more of this getting all three kids up-and-at-'em and out the door by 7:40 a.m.), so we are continuing our summer sleeping schedule by getting up late. So I'm taking advantage of the shut-eye. I'm a person who doesn't function well on less than eight hours of sleep.
Second, I don't like coffee. Well, I do like the $7 soy latte I occasionally get at Starbucks...which yes, is completely ridiculous. Thank you.
Third, I hate candles. Anything scented, really.
Fourth, I don't own a cozy chair. I have a really nice couch, where, if I'm sitting upon it, all three of my kids are literally stacked on top of me. Peaceful, right?
Fifth, I'm borderline ADHD/OCD, and sitting for any long-ish period of time to read anything is really hard for me to do. I've got stuff to DO (all day, every day).
There is tremendous value in getting quiet, getting real, getting grounded with God. No doubt.
A wise friend once told me that really, you don't have to work to make people see Jesus in you and for you to pour out Jesus. If you are right with God, in His word, it will be naturally part of you. People will see it, feel it, and want it. And obviously, we can't fool God. We come before Him as we wish, but He sees us transparently.
I have realized that once again, I'm working too hard on worrying about Christianity SHOULD be instead of just being a Christian and growing naturally.
All summer, I worked with my girls on a few areas of learning they were interested in. Shoe-tying and reading with Miss E, my four-year-old, and letters and colors with my two-year-old. I had "Bible time" on the schedule. And I failed at it...miserably. I just lost energy, motivation, and inspiration. What's the "right" way to teach kids about Jesus? How do I make sure they get it? I was lost.
As Miss E started back in preschool, I had to get us into a new routine. Move the baby's naps and feedings around, move lunch up by an hour and a half (gulp!), make sure my kids were presentably dressed by the time we had to head out the door to go to school.
On day #2, the girls were eating their early lunch (11 a.m....which is hard when you eat breakfast at 9...). The house was quiet. No tv, no radio, and no baby (he was asleep in his crib for his morning nap). And it dawned on me to pick up our favorite kid's Bible, which had been sitting in the kitchen in a lovely decorative container all summer, and read it to them. A story a day. Monday-Friday. How simple is that? They were a captive audience. Eating their grapes and cheese, their brother not gobbling up my attention.
The funny thing is, I tend to get so much more out of Jesus-time when it's with my kids. I don't know why this is. Is it because the moment is so pure and peaceful and honest? Is it because it's non-threatening? Because it's just so genuine and calm?
How easily (and embarrasingly) I forgot God's great love story. How I tend to see the Bible as a series of unconnected, historical, "back in the day" events that are perhaps unrelateable to me and my life and my struggles and my joys and my story. How I find myself distracted by things that don't really matter. How I am so easily ensnared. How I lose motivation, how I worry, how I forgot how badly we all need a savior.
Here's the thing. I was beginning to wonder if God gives us crazy-busy moms of many little ones a pass to not be totally "with it" spiritually. We have SO much to take care of.
Then I realized how completely legalistc that is. There is no points or star system. No reward chart or scoreboard. Jesus died for us. Legalism/rules=gone.
God just wants us. Willing. Honest. Ready. Listening.
And it doesn't matter how we come to Him. If it's via a Bible study with girlfriends, or a church service Sunday, or a few moments in the car with a Christian song playing or us whispering prayers, or if it's like me, reading my kids a Bible story over a snack. He just wants us to come.
To put God in a box, or to put our Christianity in a box, and say it needs to be/look like/seem like/sounds like this, that, or the other, well, that just guilts us into sinning (the opposite of what God wants for us!).
So don't think it's all or nothing. Don't think to be a good Chrisitian you must be X, Y, or Z. Don't believe Satan when he tells you to give up, slow down, feel guilty, or just follow certain rules.
Just approach God's throne, wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you are dealing with, and see what happens.