Last week I talked about the importance of letting go of structured quiet times in seasons where it just doesn’t seem to fit. If we feel we are banging our heads against a wall trying to find a way to practice our familiar quiet times routines, it may be time to set aside that particular method of connecting with God. But, that’s not to say we have to completely neglect our life with God.
On the contrary, I discovered new practices that fit more easily into my life as a mom. One particular practice eased my transition away from a more structured quiet time. It was the practice of reading and returning to one Psalm over and over throughout my day. I focused on reading only one Psalm a day, with the expectation that it might take the whole day to get through it. Instead of trying to fit the Psalm into one allotted “quiet time,” I anticipated the interruptions and distractions, and worked around them. I knew that on most days, surprise moments of quiet would appear. So I simply used those times to return to the Psalm, over and over throughout the day, as these short bursts of time became available.
A Typical Day of Reading the Psalms in the Cracks
Instead of forcing myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to attempt a quiet time, which is sure to be thwarted, I let myself sleep in until my kids practically beg me to get out of bed and feed them something. One of the perks of being a stay at home mom is sleeping in until the last possible minute. Let’s take advantage of this shall we?
So I drag my tired butt out of bed. With eyes half-open, I groggily pour their cereal and put a kettle to boil on the stove. As my children munch away, I bring my Bible to the table and open it to a Psalm. I used to read the Psalms in order. But since I’ve been doing this for a while, I now have a list of my favorite Psalms which I will list at the end of this post.
So, I open my Bible to one Psalm for the day. And I read it, slowly, for as long as I can until I get interrupted. Which sometimes is after only one or two verses. When this happens, I may try to read aloud if my kids are open to it. Usually Jed is not, but bonus points for you if do. Usually I read to myself.
If, by the end of breakfast, I make it through the whole Psalm, great! But if not, that’s okay too. I leave the Bible open to the that Psalm on the table. Then, I go on with my day and come back to the Psalm in the cracks of my day. These cracks often surprise me out of the blue. Magically, the kids find an activity and they happily play without me. Or I can sneak in a few verses on the Bible app on my phone while they’re occupied at the park. Or perhaps I resume reading at nap time. This practice feels much more accessible at nap time since it only takes a few minutes to read through a Psalm. Ultimately though, the goal isn’t to get through the whole Psalm. The goal is simply to find a connection point with God.
Take the Psalm with You
I expand this practice by identifying and thinking about a verse, phrase, or word that particularly catches my attention or feels important for my soul. This can be done whether I get through two verses or the whole Psalm. I try to hang onto a word/phrase/verse and think on it throughout the day. Some might call this a form of meditation or contemplation. Don’t let those word intimidate you. This is simply a practice of pondering on a thought, chewing on it by letting your mind go over and over it, and letting it sink into your bones. There’s no right way to do it. Let your mind play with it, wander, and make connections with that truth. Don’t try to force it. As you do the dishes, fold laundry, or nurse your baby, simply remember the words and let God speak to you through them. Sometimes it may not go anywhere and that’s okay. You are practicing the habit of making space in your day to connect with God. The more you practice, the easier and more natural it becomes.
A Few of the Psalms Greatest Hits
As promised, here are a few of my favorite Psalms. In my opinion, these Psalms hold rich imagery and bring a lot of meaning to my personal life. If you don’t want to start with Psalm 1, here are a few really great points of entry.
- Psalm 139 – a good one to remember you are seen and loved
- Psalm 40
- Psalm 73
- Psalm 145 – a good one for rejoicing in God
- Psalm 51 – a good one for when you’ve really blown it
- Psalm 32 – this one too
- Psalm 23 – because of course
- Psalm 47 – turn the music on and sing and dance after this one
- Psalm 67
- Psalm 91 – a good one for remembering God’s protection
Give this practice a whirl for a few days and let me know how it goes for you. Leave a comment at the bottom of the post.
One Last Note
I recommend reading the Psalms with the Message, NLT, or other easy-to-read translation. Translations like the NASB, the KJV or even the ESV are great for quiet time study sessions. But they are not the best translations for busy moms trying to sneak in a few moments of connection with God. A translation like the Message or the NLT uses more everyday language and won’t require the extra dose of mental capacity that other translations may require. Give yourself a break and get an easier translation to read for a season.