Most of us have trouble juggling. The woman who says she doesn’t is someone whom I admire but have never met. ~ Barbara Walters
Last weekend I was blessed and privileged to speak to my church’s women’s ministry. I told the ladies I would follow with an overview of what I shared. Complete with links to resources. That is what I share with you today…
My long-time readers may notice that this is somewhat similar to my 6 Simple Successful Strategies for Homeschooling a House Full.
First off, to give you just bit of an idea of a household with five children, I share with you a day which gives you a peek into a juggling act I was a part of:
“Since the morning was a blur of helping get children fed and dressed, changing diapers and gathering library books, I’ll begin with our arrival at the library.
Get the picture. Two older children, carrying loads of books to return, struggle through the door only to allow it to close on younger sisters and Mama, lugging the car seat with the baby. We get in the building and two-year-old reminds everyone (loudly) that we are in the library and we need to BE QUIET. I park the baby near the two boxes of toddler books and sit down in a toddler chair to read to two-year-old. Only she’s over in the adult fiction section now.” More of Thanksgiving for My Life with Five.
Of course the children are much more grown now and my days are different. Now I wake before dawn with the little ones and sometimes stay up til after midnight talking with my older ones and watching Downton Abbey.
So, just how to keep Christ at the center of your life? We all aim to be that Proverbs 31 woman. She is a fearsome woman indeed. I don’t know about you but I often feel quite defeated when I can’t live up to that standard. Yet, the Lord has shown me, in His gentle ways, just how I can be a practical Proverbs 31 woman. Even in the busiest of times and amidst the overwhelm.
The Child Training Bible, pictured above.
8 Simple Steps for Keeping Christ at the Center of Your Life
1. Keep Your Priorities in Order
As a Christian mother I aim to put God first, my husband second and the children come after that. Having a quiet time is a must. Getting that alone time with God first thing in the morning is my arsenal for the day. I know you know how important this is too.
Then, my husband and I were a family before we had children. We make a point of having some time to sit and talk either right before supper or right after. Just the two of us. So we can hear about how the day went. We also make it a priority to have a weekly date night. Ours are usually simple and inexpensive – we even have date nights at home. One of our favorites is a sunset drive to a neighboring city – driving off into the sunset. Just having that time to talk is golden. Or a walk around the neighborhood after the younger ones are tucked into bed. We used to even hook the baby monitor on a hip for a late night walk. More: Dating Your Husband
Next, the children. We do want to raise Godly children, disciples of Christ. We want to educate them well. Bring them up to love the Lord. He has entrusted us with these children. I like to think of this time with the urgency of Moses’ mother. She knew that Moses had to go to the palace when he was roughly age five. If you knew that, wouldn’t you have an urgency? At the end of the day when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and folks, the time is short.
2. Get Wisdom
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.
ASK – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
…you do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2 In the last couple of years I have been purposefully asking the Lord for wisdom. This was a huge ‘duh’ moment for me. I have also been asking him to bless us. Bless our homeschool week, bless our learning. Bless our business. Finding the Heart of Homeschool.
SEEK – All my education and premarital counseling and parenting prep couldn’t prepare me for married life and for being a parent. So I seek out women of wisdom. I make time for Biblical parenting Bible studies. I am blessed with mentors.
(my grandmother, Mama Ann, at top right.)
Learn from the women of your family. If you don’t have a family member to learn from then pray the Lord will send a Titus 2:3 woman to you. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Be a woman who is always learning. This life is always one of continuing education.
KNOCK – The best way to GET WISDOM is to listen. Listen to the Lord during quiet time. This little, pink Book of Prayer is a collection of Power of a Praying… books. I spend a portion of my quiet time with this book almost daily. Sections for prayer for myself, for my husband and individual prayers for each of the children.
Some of my best devotion times were at a 3 a.m. feeding with Baby Boot Camp.
3. Practical Prayer Throughout the Day
Who remembers the big flood of 2009? Well, as the flood waters were rising around us, we all started to get sick. The whole family. And this is a story of what the Lord taught me…
The community helpers puzzle. Its pieces dumped in the floor, again. I find myself frustrated, again. Frustrated to pick up the pieces and frustrated we were all sick. Frustrated we couldn’t get out and help the victims of recent flooding.
But the Lord calmly gave me an answer, in His patient way. As I was picking up each puzzle piece, He said, “Pray.” The ambulance piece – pray for ambulance workers. The police car – pray for our police force rescuing flood victims. The tow truck – wow. I hadn’t even thought about all those cars needing to be towed away. More Practical Prayers
Prayer Calendar – Pray 31 Biblical virtues for your children! I keep a copy of this calendar in my closet so I can see it as I get ready in the morning. Also on the side of the fridge in the kitchen. (Thanks to my friend Melanie, of Passionate Purposeful Parenting, for this calendar!)
4. The Word Within Sight
These Watch Words from the Doorposts family. (Maybe you use sticky notes?) Sometimes I turn around and see this. Just. Exactly. When. I. Need. To.
Bible Basket – When something is right in front of you it’s hard to ignore it. I’ve seen many different versions of a Bible basket shared around the internet lately and I was inspired. I gathered all our Bibles into one basket. I put the basket right in the center of the family room table. More Bible Study and Character Training for Multiple Ages.
5. Offer an Attitude of Praise
Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts opened my eyes to God’s gifts around me. ” A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.” I started writing them down. All those things – those gifts – I noticed throughout the day. I started watching for the gifts! Here’s an example of a recent thank you list. “Pirates of the Caribbean heard from the piano, a Middle Girl-made cake, Steve home just a little early, Nerf darts littering the floor…these are a few of my favorite things.” I also like to share gifts on Instagram, using that #1000gifts tag
Then, when I spy a mound of laundry needing folding, I try to be thankful that it’s already clean. Say thank you for each and every one of those that wear those piled up clothes.
Thank God for dirty dishes; They have a tale to tell.
While other folks go hungry, We’re eating pretty well.
With home, and health and happiness, We shouldn’t want to fuss;
For by this stack of evidence, God’s very good to us.
Keep a hymnal with your Bible in your quiet time spot. Get a favorite collection of hymns to listen to. We turn the hymns on Sunday mornings as we are getting ready for church – and *I think* it helps with attitudes and finding shoes… There is also an app for devotions around hymns and other topics at shereadstruth.com.
7. Build in Times of Refreshment – Have Coping Strategies
Be ready because challenges will come.
The Lord’s Strong Tower – This is one of may favorite coping strategies.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
The Lord – HE is our strong tower! I learned a wonderful habit a few years ago from Jan Silvious and her book, Foolproofing Your Life, that I will share to encourage you too. Here goes: You can actually imagine – picture in your mind – running into the Lord’s strong tower. You see that person coming towards you that makes things difficult for you? You have that text appear on your phone, a number show up on your caller id?
Take just a minute to picture physically going into His Strong Tower. Very nicely, pull up your drawbridge. Now, position yourself. You are safe. You are ready to be kind. You still wave to this person. You still speak to them and encourage them. But your mind and your emotions? They are all safe, protected and locked up tight in His Strong Tower. You are standing at that window balcony. Smiling and waving. “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave!” The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
Afternoon Quiet Time – Are you ready to put your feet up and relax? I am! Afternoon quiet time is our longest running habit. This gives us a spot of quiet for all ages. Back when my first toddler outgrew her nap I wondered what to do. See, I needed that time. Why did she outgrow her nap when I had an infant too? Afternoon quiet time was the answer.
When You Want to Scream Just Sing – When you want to scream, just sing. We all have those moments. The overwhelming, frustrating time of wanting to yell or scream at the top of our lungs. Well, I’ve found one way of diverting the irritating. When you want to scream, just sing. Turn it to praise! (Sometimes even through gritted teeth)
Just Step Outside – Sometimes when it’s been a full day. When the patience is tapped. Or the noise is a bit much. I step outside…Just a short walk outside, around the house. A breath of fresh air. A new perspective…And a better wife, better mama for it. Refreshed to freely love. Ready to tuck in precious ones. Listen to prayers. Be thankful.”
Hot bath at the end of the day!
Take time for a passion – art, writing, baking, walking (even 5-10 minutes can make such a difference)
8. Praise at the End of the Day
Celebrate Every Day – “Why not find something to celebrate every day? A lost tooth, an extra measure of kindness, diligence in school work or finding the long-lost library book.” Several times during the week someone gets the special plate. Often we rotate through the family based on age. Even Mama and Daddy get a turn!
Whoever has the special plate at supper time gets to lead us in the blessing. Then at some point during the meal, when tummies are about full, we ask the question. “What do you appreciate about ___________?” More: 10 Habits for the Family Table
Pray constantly that you will have the strength and the wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet. Luke 21:36
One of my all time favorite quotes from my friend and mentor, Vicki Bentley.
In closing…I am super blessed to be a part of an amazing church family. A gifted women’s ministry! Thankful for each one of these ladies…
I do not have all the answers. I am still learning. It is continuing education all the time – I encourage you to do the same. Keep on learning.
Keep asking for wisdom, asking him to bless. He will.
As far as I’m concerned, God gets all the glory and thank the Lord He isn’t finished with me yet!!
How do YOU keep God at the center of your life?