“Guys! Quick! Look at Mom! She cracked open a book and sat down peacefully with her coffee ready to read…
That’s our signal…
If somebody could start spontaneously bleeding from a tooth that would be awesome.
We also need another volunteer to ask her incessant questions, and one other brother to complain about his breakfast, and then spill his milk…
OK, everybody knows his role? Let’s do this. Operation Quiet Time commence.”
Quiet time, devotions, Bible reading, ‘basking in the presence of the Lord…’ You can call it whatever you like, but the point is, after those dear sweet (loud and appropriately needy) babies enter your life, it WILL NOT look like it used to, for at least a few years.
But the good news is that it’s not supposed to.
Create the Space
Coffee time is a sacred space in our home. It occurs after breakfast and after lunch, because… well, 4 kids… we adore caffeinated beverages.
The boys will frequently bounce in and out of the room to check our mugs. They are observing the coffee levels, because they know until they can see the bottom of the inside of the mug, Mom and Dad want to be sitting and involved in some sort of resting phase activity.
It’s our space to have a conversation, to read, to just be, and to live slow for ‘just a minute.’
Coffee Time. It’s taken 8 years of cultivation.
Create the Habit
I noticed one morning during my coffee time, that if I kept grabbing my Bible and sitting on the couch to purposefully read it in front of the kids, the kids would start copying me.
Eventually instead of just peering over my shoulder at the mysterious Bible with no pictures, my sons started asking for their Bibles to read while sitting beside me.
And so began the valuable learning and practicing of the habit, side by side. Beautiful.
Read it to out loud
I used to automatically think, “Ack, I’m trying to read! I’ll be right with you…” But it only takes one time of reading that part where the disciples were trying to brush off the kids and Jesus was all, “Bring them to me!”
Jesus had this figured out long before I ever did.
So come on kids. You’re going to sit beside me with your trains and your cars, bashing them together loudly in my ear?
I’m going to read this verse out loud to you while you do that.
You’re going to come and plant yourself next to me and munch on your honey toast right beside me?
I’m going to read that next verse out loud to you too.
I’m also going to pull in every applicable side story that I can to teach you some sort of truth about who Jesus is, how much he loves you, and how he wants the best for your life.
I’m pretty sure an hour had passed the other morning by the time everybody dispersed.
We had discussed pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Nehemiah re-building the wall and persevering while getting attacked on every side. We had discussed hope, evolution, creation, and whether or not Eve made fruit salad in the garden of Eden… not even joking.
The only person “journaling” was the re-routed 2 year old because he had previously been trying to scribble on my Bible. And that’s OK.
It’s louder, it’s perhaps less contemplative, but it can be such a rich experience.
It’s a space where I get to explain my faith in Jesus in the simplest of language, and it’s a place where I see God so very clearly in my day to day.
I think a slightly enhanced message version of Deuteronomy 6:6-9 would read something like this for me…
“Love God with your whole heart; love him with all that’s in you,
love him with all you’ve got!
Get these commandments inside of you and then get them inside your children.
Talk about them where you are, (at your kitchen table, in the elevator, walking to the garbage room… under the kitchen table picking up the old cereal bits once again…)
sitting at home or walking on the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning (even at the ungodly hour of the 5 am’s…)
to when you fall (exhausted, yet thankful) into bed at night.”
And to think… it all starts with grabbing a seat somewhere, some sort of beverage, and the tenacity to crack open a Bible in a space that is anything but “quiet.”