Ever since becoming a mom, I have had a really hard time staying engaged in Bible study. Before my second child was born, I had found a good rhythm for Bible study during my first child’s naptime. But even as I enjoyed being in the Word during those two glorious afternoon hours, I knew that as soon as my new baby arrived, two hours of uninterrupted study time would be a lost luxury.
My baby boy is now 6 months old, and I still have not fallen into a consistent rhythm for Bible study. I did get some good feedback from other more experienced moms on how to incorporate “God time” into the busy days of mothering; including a great insight that, despite what I may think now, it won’t get easier. Life will always be busy, and it’s up to us to decide what gets our attention and how much attention we will devote to various things.
Not long ago, a close friend and mother to three boys encouraged me with the following advice: “Don’t try to work through an in-depth, daily Bible study with lots of homework right now. Pick a few verses that are meaningful to you to meditate on whenever you get a moment. Write them on sticky notes, tape them to your mirror or on your fridge… places where you tarry as you wait for the next thing to happen… and let these verses sustain you throughout the day.”
So I took my friend’s advice. Now when I find myself with unexpected free time, like when both kids are napping at the same time (Hallelujah), I know exactly which verses to turn to. For me, I chose to focus on Psalm 91. I struggle with fear, so this Psalm is a great encouragement to me. The amazing thing is that, as I continually return to this passage of Scripture, the Holy Spirit continually shows me more and more. It is amazing to me how much I have learned, simply by focusing on this one passage for a long period of time.
I think this is a great way to stay connected to Bible study when life is unusually busy. But I also firmly believe that when life adjusts and things are not as hectic it is important to return to a more in-depth form of study. I have always really enjoyed the “workbook” type of Bible study guides and have found that spending that kind of in-depth time in God’s Word is kind of like digging a well. As I study for extended periods of time, storing up the richness of God’s Word in my heart, I find that I draw from that well in future seasons where I don’t have time to spend long hours in study. So when I have time to focus on a more intense study, I need to make sure I take advantage of that time!
For me, it’s been an ebb and flow. There are seasons where study is long, rich and rewarding. Then there are other seasons that are so hectic that I barely have time to catch my breath; and it’s during those times that focusing on one section of Scripture and parking there for a period of time keeps me connect to the vine.
A few other Bible study strategies I find helpful during busy seasons of life are daily devotions and smart phone apps. I have hard copies of “Experiencing God Day by Day” and “My Utmost for His Highest” in different places around the house so that if I find I have a few minutes I can pick up the book for some added devotional time. I have also found many smartphone apps that have proven to be extremely helpful tools to aid in my study time, especially the Blue Letter Bible app; the You Version app; the Daily Audio Bible app; and the Desiring God Fighter Verses app. If you spend a lot of time on your tablet or smart phone I highly encourage you to investigate these apps and try them out for yourself.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to priorities. There is never, ever a time or season of life where any believer should fall into the trap of believing we get a “free pass” to ignoring our time in God’s Word. If we really believe God, and if we really believe his Word, how foolish we would be to go out into this dark and depraved world apart from the life-giving, sustaining, all encompassing fuel that comes from the power of God’s Word? So often we pray, “Lord speak to us!” when he has already spoken so much to us in his Word. It’s up to us to tune in and listen.