This past summer at a musical festive in WI, my friend and speaking partner Pastor Henry Graf and I led a session on Dirty Parenting. Yea, you read that right. Dirty, as in the screw ups, the loss of control, the freakouts all teach us, mold us and help us get to our knees in prayer and invite God into the mess. It is a reminder that real life doesn’t look spiritual. Most of the time it just looks like a mess.
At least it does for me.
After one of the sessions, a woman came up to me and asked how I found time for spiritual fulfillment. I thought that was funny considering most of the time I am wondering that myself. I told her in the last few months I had found a good balance of accepting my reality with adjusting my expectations.
I told her this is what I wanted: Every morning wake up at least half an hour before the kids. Open my Bible, pray, journal, read, pray, cry, let go, be filled, be ready for the chaos.
Then I told her this happens maybe once every two weeks.
Then I told her this is what I strive for every week now.
Once a week I pray over my children after I put them to bed. We have read stories, teeth are brushed, our devotions and prayers and thankfulness to God are done. Then when our ritual is complete and everyone is tucked in, I pray. I pray out loud with my hand on the child I am praying for and I pour out my fears, my weakness, my dreams, my hopes, and my control. I lay down my expectations for my child and pray that God gives me eyes to see them for who they are. I pray for wisdom, for me and for them. I pray for their friends, their future spouse, and their relationship with their siblings and father. I pray for truth, for the men/woman of God they will become. I lay it all out there for them to hear. I let my children hear my heart for them and lay them back down before God almighty.
If nothing else, when they are in counseling when they are older confessing all the ways I screwed them up, they may hopefully remember that I tried. That I loved them enough to give them back to God every day. I tried.
Once a week my husband and I do our Managers meeting. This is spiritually fulfilling because it is prayer time with my partner. It is coming before God Almighty together, confessing together, gaining strength together, supporting each other, loving each other at the feet of God. This is hands down one of the most centering, balancing discipline I have.
Once a week I wake up early to journal, to read scripture and to pray. This is my truest form of honestly I can strive for. My journal has horrible confessions and crazy thoughts and emotions. It has questions that good Christians don’t ask anymore. It is my time to gain wisdom from scripture, lay down my sense of control and seek God’s counsel for the way I live my life.
I used to strive for five days a week waking up early, and when I couldn’t accomplish that and was struck by feelings of failure, I would eventually stop. Once a week is very doable if you are smart about the morning you choose to wake up early.
There are people out there who can accomplish devotional time every morning, and I congratulate you on your success. However, for those of you who can’t because your current life circumstances don’t allow it, I want to encourage you to find what works for you. Be creative, and find your vibe.
Once a week we do a family devotional and snuggle time. We read from Paul’s Bible and we just ask the kids questions about what we read. There aren’t any great activities and no the questions are planned, we are kind of fly by the seat of your pants people. Then after the Bible reading is done, we just hang out on bed, snuggle, giggle, tickle, laugh, snuggle, and hang out. It is a time to reconnect and push the pause button on life. It is full of love and therefore a deeply spiritual act.
This year, our family motto is to be intentional. When we discuss our priorities, humbling ourselves and subjecting ourselves to God’s authority needs to be intentional. If you aren’t intentional about your spiritual life, be aware that regular daily duties of life have a tendency to steal your spiritual life.
Creating these weekly ways of connecting your soul with its creator is our way of being intentional.
Four days a week I try to plug my soul back into my creator in an intentional way. The way I figure, four out of seven ain’t bad. I’m over half covered. The reason I have found success with this method is that each of my four days fills me in a different way and it looks different so it keeps my interested and forces different habits from me. Healthy habits with my kids, with my partner, and for myself.