When our children were babies, I thought I would never have a quiet time with God again. It seemed unthinkable to encounter a moment of silence that I would not want filled with sleep. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been finding myself sitting in this chair in the early mornings, reading the same passage from Luke over and over. And looking forward to it.
I first learned about the “quiet time” when I was in college. My Catholic upbringing hadn’t educated me about spending a little time praying and reading the Bible everyday, but once I learned about it, I got right with the program. Quiet times proved to be excellent food for my 18-year-old soul. I experienced spiritual epiphanies, grew in self-awareness, and marveled at God. I also daydreamed about the boy in my piano class, got totally lost in Old Testament genealogies, and fell asleep on my Bible. That was all okay. And generally, I showed up for my quiet time, and God did too.
Now, fast forward about thirteen years.
It took me about a year after Lucy was born to stop feeling guilty about not having quiet times. I was able to maintain my journaling practice, but I kept thinking I might find a place for the Bible reading and prayer. It just wasn’t happening. The quiet part was missing. The time part was missing. I was a little mad about it and tired of feeling like a failture, so I followed the wisdom of my dear friend Kriss and said, “Quiet times and babies just don’t mix!” I wasn’t too worried about it. Mostly, I felt like I had transitioned from knowing God in Scripture to knowing God in dirty diapers and nursing. The same Person was with me in it all. I was comforted, too, by my spiritual director’s reminder that people have been in relationship with God for centuries, and many of them weren’t even literate. So there!
But a few weeks ago, I felt a little nudge from God. Not guilt, not a burden — just a friendly invitation. “You might enjoy reading the Bible, just a little bit.” No pressure. So I tried it. And I’m enjoying it. I’ve been reading this lovely little book by John Stott and meditating on the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. I talk to God about the day, and I ask him for help with parenting, and being generous, and remembering what it important in life.
I do feel a little nervous about my renewed practice sometimes. Will this last? Will I keep it up? I suppose I can’t know. I’ll just have to take it one day at a time. But for now, it is really quite lovely to start my day talking with Jesus.