It begins with that wicked noise demanding that I wake at 5 AM. It nags again in 30 minutes, reminding me that it will not tolerate my burrowing deeper into my cotton flannel, warm cocoon. Once I succumb to the relentless reminders to get out of bed, it's all downhill from there. With doors and cupboards opening and slamming percussion to the melody of my children's "Mooooooooom," the volume escalates as everyone attempts to make it out the door on time.
That is the routine on a GOOD day. On one where there are doctor's appointments, or therapies, or medical crises, the frenetic sound and activity drowns even more loudly.
There is no time for developing habits of holiness like the Church season of Lent. For 40 days the faithful share a designated time to fast, pray, and contemplate the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Here are some thoughts on on how parents like us might begin to develop those habits:
- The closer you are to a person, the easier it is for you to hear them. So it is with God. Be intentional by personally resolving to draw near to your Maker over the next 40 days and beyond. Pick a specific time and place to meet the Lord, where you slow yourself down, set aside other distractions, and marinate in awareness of His presence. Of course, because of the lifestyle of caregiving, flexibility has to be built in. But make this your goal, something you do just for the health of your own soul.
- God speaks through His word. Commit to spending daily time in His word. While some find Bible reading difficult, hard to understand, or boring, there are more Bible translations available today than ever before. Visit https://www.biblegateway.com/ to find a version that is most readable to you. Some of my recent favorites include The Voice and the Amplified Bible.
- God also speaks through people. Use some of the solid tools that God created to accompany your Bible reading during Lent. Places like Christianbook.com have boundless meditations and studies available for this 40 day period that will increase your understanding and encounter of God. There are also many FREE devotionals you can sign up for online, like the ones from BibleGateway.com. Since you can have them sent right to your e-mail, you can access God's word and supporting materials right from your smart device, wherever you may be.
- Keep God's word accessible. Since caregivers like us are know to spend inordinate amounts of time waiting... In doctor's offices, in carpool lines, on hold with the insurance company... We make the best use of that time when we spend it listening to our Lord. Whether it's a pocket Bible or devotional, or it's a favorite app on our phones, sometimes these periods of waiting can afford us the greatest opportunities to quiet ourselves and really listen to God. I also love places like My Utmost For His Highest or Ann Voskamp on Facebook. These pages offer beautiful graphics that usher us right into the presence of the Lord.
- Sing your heart out. When I homeschooled my children, there was a curriculum that maintained that, "If you can sing it, you can memorize it." To this day, I can tell you all of the continents by singing them. It's no different with God's truth. So often His word set to music helps us to really grasp His message to us. I often laugh with the parents I mentor, confessing that I have a song for everything we study. With excellent contemporary Christian music so readily available, it is easy to really impress these things on our hearts as we wash dishes, administer infusions, or drive to appointments. Even remembering old hymns make wherever we stand holy ground. By the way, doing this draws our children closer to God as an added bonus!
~ Barb Dittrich
* Type the word "Lent" in the upper left search bar for more devotions and meditations on the season of Lent.