I have had a terrible realization.
Today was not an easy day. The minute my toddler called 'Mommy' from her bed she began to whine. Whine and whine and whine. Whine for milk, and then whine for a cookie (“No honey, it's almost time for breakfast.”) Whine for Mommy to carry her while the baby is crying. Whine for Mommy to read more books when it was time to start breakfast. Whine that she didn't want to eat her breakfast and whine that she didn't want to get ready. It goes on and on and on and on. In the meantime, her baby sister is crying, arching her back, extremely upset because of a double ear infection and bad reflux pains. I had, what should have been, enough time to get ready for a play date but didn't get there until an hour later. The afternoon did not go much better and by the end of the day I was in pure exhaustion. Not even having 5 minutes to my self I was frustrated, annoyed, and my heart had grown hard.
My heart had grown hard.
What makes a heart grow hard in the first place? Time away from God. Sure exhaustion, no quiet time or enough time at all, and the demands of my little ones contribute, but no matter what my circumstances are, time away from God is the root of a hard heart. Throughout my entire day I maybe said one prayer. And scripture was far from my mind. Why? My reasoning is obvious; I was way too busy and way too needed by my girls for that.
Shame on me.
In days like these, because we all have them as mothers, how can I keep my house a place that is glorifying to God? My kids may be having horrible days but it is my job to keep directing them to the glory of God; to the love of Christ. And there is no way I can do that with a hard heart.
Keeping my heart soft even on these tough days is challenging but definitely not impossible. Here are some ways I am changing my days around...for my girls, for myself and above all for the glory of God.
1. Start the day in prayer. Even before my feet hit the ground I need to give the day up to my Lord. I need to bring my focus to where it should be. With both of my girls getting up in the middle of the night and both of them extremely early risers, I am unable to wake up before them right now (though if you do have that option I highly recommend it… read my post Benefits of Waking Up Early). Yet even while they are calling me from their beds, I can take 2-5 minutes to bring my day to the Lord. Keeping a verse beside my bed at all times (switching it up every other week or so) helps me keep my prayers focused.
2. Start the day in prayer. Yes, again. This time – with my toddler. Even though she wakes up extremely early (some days as early as 5:30 am) she has a tough time facing the day. The whines start pretty much as soon as I walk in her door. Taking a minute to pray with her for the day may just relax and calm her, bringing us into the presence of our Saviour. And honestly? She loves it. As she folds her hands and we thank God for the day ahead of us, she has a big smile on her face and the morning feels a bit easier to get through for both of us.
3. Scripture at Breakfast. Reading a Bible story at breakfast with the girls never crossed my mind until now. This again brings our focus back to the One who loves us and desires us to glorify Him in all things. This also means a longer breakfast. But as a stay-at-home mom I am blessed to be able to have this slow time in the morning and instead of using it to do extra chores or to hurry my girls up, I can use it to slow us down in reminder of who and what my days are really meant for.
4. Worship Music. Play it throughout the day. Keep it going all day long. Dance to it, have it playing in the back ground, sing to it, worship. Through those baby cries that worship music can get you through with thoughts that are pleasing to our Father rather than thoughts of negativity and complaints.
5. Scripture Memorization. My husband and I have decided to keep a verse up in our kitchen that we work on memorizing together. We try to switch it up every week, but both of us have to have it memorized before we do so. My girl is only 2 and a half. But no age is too young to teach scripture to. I strongly believe this. So, slowly I am teaching her memorization of scripture as well. For we must store scriptures in our hearts. Scripture is from the Holy Spirit. It is truth and it is life.
Surrounding my days with prayer and scripture (even when the time feels so limited) are the only ways I will be able to use my days to truly glorify God. Once again – I need to be reminded to abide. That is all we are asked - simply to abide. May I truly begin to abide, even and especially in the hardest and longest days of motherhood.
*Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.*