As a children’s pastor, I have seen it a hundred times.
The frustrated look on a mother’s face as she is called out of the worship service to calm her child. I’ve seen the frantic dad, trying to get a toddler to be still long enough to spend some time worshipping.
There is so much joy and love in being a parent. But let’s face it there is also stretching and struggle. The truth is that with all there is to do, there is not a lot of time for ourselves. Especially when it comes to finding moments for personal time with the Lord. Many people struggle with feelings of guilt and fear over this; guilt because they feel that they are not investing enough time in their relationship with God. They also fear that they will not get what they need from God.
Well, take heart, precious parent. There is hope. God has not destined you to run dry of His joy and strength. Remind yourself of this guiding principle. It’s not as important how much time you’ve got to give to the Lord. It is how much of yourself you give to the Lord in the time that you’ve got.
Although it is important to make time with God a priority, He understands the restrictions placed on us by parenting. He is not mad when you miss a morning quiet time because you were up most of the night. He is also not restricted when you only get five or 10 minutes in your day to study your Bible.
Here is the way to get the most out of the time you have.
1. Give what you have to God.
Remember in John chapter 6, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000? He and His disciples were surrounded by a crowd of hungry people. Jesus did not fret; He simply asked His followers to inventory what was at hand. I often wonder if Andrew was not being a bit sarcastic when he answered, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they for so many?” (John 6:9).
Jesus took what was available and used it to feed the multitude. With an abundance of leftovers! In the same way, give to Jesus the small slices of time that you have. He will take them and abundantly fill your needs.
2. Give yourself wholeheartedly.
God doesn’t measure things in the same way that we do. In Mark 12 and Luke 21 Jesus stood at the temple and watched the people bring their offerings. He chose the poor widow’s small offering and assessed it as the greatest gift. This was not due to the market value of the coins, but the comparative value of the heart attitude. God values heart attitude over gift appraisal.
In 1 Samuel 15:22 the prophet declares to Saul, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”
Bring your whole heart to God in the moments that you do have. He will honor that regardless of the amount of time you have to spend.
3. Expect God to meet your needs.
Earlier in 1 Samuel, Jonathan decided to attack an entire company of Philistines with only himself and one other man. Read what he told the armor-bearer who was serving him
“Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few'” (1 Samuel 1:46).
Jonathan had faith that God was not released by nor restricted by the circumstances around him. He wasn’t then and He isn’t now in your life.
As you navigate your way through the challenges of parenting, remember that God understands! He will miraculously provide for your spiritual needs if you will trust Him and serve Him wholeheartedly.