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June 22, 2007

Solitude for the Busy Mom

If you're a mother, you can relate: Between caring for kids, managing the house, and tackling work or other responsibilities, the idyllic quietness of heart and deep communion with God we long for can seem like a mirage, a perpetually unattainable goal. Real life with real kids is seldom quiet, and dedicated moms are hardly ever alone. For us, even using the bathroom can become a family affair! Of all the classic spiritual disciplines, silence and solitude can seem the most unrealistic for a mother with young children.

In many ways these disciplines are incongruous with parenthood. It's not possible to live as a hermit and bond with your children. It's not possible to take a vow of silence and simultaneously supply your children with the verbal affirmation, songs, and bedtime stories they need.

As one friend put it, "Solitude and silence are the least compatible disciplines with my life as a mom. Yet I long to be able to spend time alone in quietness; I have a really hard time listening to God without it." We all face this reality - when our lives are filled with noise, we feel that we are never alone with God. It certainly is hard to sense God's presence and listen to God's voice with children crying in the background.

But the core of the discipline of silence is quietness of heart. It is choosing to be still at the Lord's feet, as Mary did. Picture your heart as a lake. How does the surface appear to you? Is the water in constant motion, with choppy waves sloshing about as the winds of circumstance whip the water first this way and then that? Or is the water calm, still, and quiet? It is the calm lake that brilliantly reflects a sunrise like a mirror. Similarly, a heart that is still before God reflects his glory. Silence is choosing to be still before God.

Depending on the ages of your children times of solitude may already be a natural part of your day when your kids take naps or go to school. But solitude as a spiritual discipline is more than being physically alone. Solitude, like silence, is a matter of the heart. It is a purposeful withdrawal from the company of others in which we recognize that we are not truly alone but in the presence of an Almighty God.


I would LOVE to have some solitude. Right now,we are in a season where my husband is working in another city during the week and it's summer! AAAARRRGGGHHHH! I could possibly leave them for a little while with my 13 yr old in charge but the others (3 more!) are rotten for him. Someday...someday.

having a mandatory "rest time" for an hour is the goal at my house daily. kids in their room with a book, CD or quiet toy. I'd love two hours. I would love two hours, but sometimes I get nothin'.

I love the mental image of a lake. I am in a busy season at the moment and this is a very helpful idea for me.
In pursuit of quiet time I have gotten behind on all the little jobs around home (nappy washing, dishes, highchair cleaning etc.) and the stress of being behind has left me irritable and out of touch with God. I have taken this as a reminder to me to keep quality over quantity of quiet time.
God bless y'all!

Hi Ladies!

A few ways to experience "solitude" (quietness of heart) that actually work for busy moms are:

--Capturing shower/get-ready time as a moment to still one's heart.
--Fasting from TV or radio for a set time. (Background "noise" can keep those heart-waves in constant motion!)
--Going on nature walks with the kids, but having some time during the walk when we're all (somewhat) quiet, listening for birds, etc.
--Listening to calming music (usually classical for our family) that can have a quieting affect on all of us (baby included).
--Intentionally quieting one's heart when falling asleep at night. In other words, refusing to let stress, worry, or to-do lists crowd out some time "alone" with God.

What ideas do the rest of you have?

My husband has M.E. (2 years now) and so I took over the job of the school run (having only just passed my driving test two weeks before he fell ill!!). This gave me the fantastic opportunity of creating a quiet time away from the phone as I'm blessed to have a beautiful estuary to park alongside on my way home, and the best thing is that there's no mobile phone signal down there!
I know that many people do not have such beauty on their doorstep, but there are parks, maybe even just a nice road to park in. I keep a Bible and a notebook in the driver's door, and have managed to pacify my youngest son with his own toddler Bible for the days he doesn't go to nursery. This time has been an absolute lifeline for me, and because it is rooted to something I have to do every week day I hardly ever have to skip it.
My husband's illness has also left me needing to priorities tasks, otherwise I'll be left wrung out and useless to my family, and in my role in the church. I've learnt that dust doesn't kill me or mine, and that good friends are more tolerant of a bit of mess than we give them credit. I wish I didn't have to live like this, but God has spoken over and over of the need to only get hung up on eternal matters, and just do my best with the rest. Sometimes my best is not at all great, but my spiritual health is vastly improved for having made more time for God than for housework!

A man i thought we were to be husband and wife diappointed me and i feel it's a moment to seek God in a more higher dimension so that,He should provide at His WILL what HE had destined to me from the very day He created and sent me to this world full of misery.I think it is a sort of deliverance from bondage.I have every reason to Worship and Praise Him for such protection over my life.

I am a mother of two, grandmother of six and I remember clearly the overwhelming desire for solitude, quiet, and time alone with God. I longed for a few minutes to read and pray. Looking back I see how I learned to fill every few (rare and quiet) moments with prayer. I also learned to pray out loud in the presence of my children. Just one liners all through the day. "Thank you Lord that this accident only caused a bad scratch and not a bad cut that would need stitches" or "The blue sky and sunshine through the trees are so beautiful today - Thanks for helping me to be aware of it as a reminder of your love for us on this day full of rush here and there.

There is a time for every season. God knows that mother's of young children are pressed for time and energy. Our feeble attempts for time alone with the Lord are as precious to him as the widow putting in two coins! We give what we can "HE" understands and blesses us for our desire to have more time to pray. I feel this is one time in our lives when our intentions and desire to be alone with the Lord are a prayer in themselves. God has intrusted these "little ones" to us . .Each day is prayer in itself as we Trusting in, have faith in, and rely on the love and grace of God to guide us in raising our children.

It´s very interesting to read about this subject of solitude and notice that it is a universal need for mothers. i also loved the comparison with a lake.
I speak spanish every day and wanted to know if Kelly Trujillo speaks or writes spanish...cause your surname is very much Latin.

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