I have two kids. Neither of them sleeps well. In fact, the little one is awake at 5:15 most mornings now. So when older moms used to tell me, “Oh, just make some coffee and get up before they do to study your Bible,” I laughed. Not gonna happen.
Here’s some ideas that did work for me, at various stages of motherhood:
Listen to the Bible
When you’re so tired that your eyes won’t focus…there’s a number of free ways to listen to the Bible instead of reading it. The ESV app and YouVersion app both have recordings of everything: just look for the little megaphone symbol in the toolbar.
But my favorite way by far is this: The Fighter Verses app. It’s technically a Bible memorization app, and it comes with several different tools to help you, including reading it aloud (obviously), several different quizzes (recite aloud, quick blanks, typing, trivia), lock screen pictures of the verse, and my absolute favorite: songs! We play these at the breakfast table, and some are a miss, but overall, I really like them. They also have a kid set, which has pictures to go with each verse to help prompt them. The app does cost money, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.
And if you like the idea of singing the Bible, Seeds Family Worship has taken a lot of Scripture and put it directly to music. This link is for the free YouTube channel, but there’s a lot more on CD or on DVD or through RightNow Media if your organization or church subscribes.
Yes, it’s listening to someone else who studied…but it’s something. Multitask, mamas!
If you’re not familiar, there are now many different ways to get podcasts, which are usually seminars or sermons that people recorded. The advantage of using your smart phone rather than just streaming through your computer is that they often have a download function, so you don’t have to keep the internet connection on, and on your smart phone, you have it with you all the time. I put them on while I’m doing dishes or baking or while my kids are having a snack so their mouths are somewhat occupied…P used to call them “pog-castles.” Adorable, right?!
For Android users, my husband recommends Podcast Addict.
For a free option, I like Stitcher, which is available for both iPhone and Android. Their “listen later” function lets me download stuff so when my internet is flaky, it’s no big deal. If I want to stream, I can put a few episodes together so I don’t have to stop every twenty minutes to pick something new.
OnePlace is an app that’s all Christian podcasts, all the time–it’s also available for both iPhone and Android users. They even have podcasts in Spanish. (I’m sure Kreyol is next on the list.)
Now, as far as specific podcasts, I categorize them into “long” (kids are asleep) and “short” (kids are awake).
LONG: The God Centered Mom Podcast–oh man. I’ve learned a lot of good stuff from Heather. She’s got kids like mine, and she’s in the trenches. She’s the real deal.
LONG/SHORT: Truth for Life. Yes, initially, I started listening just for Alistair’s amazing Scottish brogue, but now, it’s for the amazing content. The accent is just a plus. (Except for the word “Psalms.” That’s not right.) The weekday ones are short, and the weekends are long, so check before you start downloading.
SHORT: FamilyLife Today. These are often more “testimony” and less “Bible” oriented, and it’s usually someone who just wrote a book. Still, I’ve gotten a lot out of them over the years. It’s solid instruction, and lately, they’ve had some good thoughts on how to deal with cultural shifts in gender and sexuality. Helpful to those not in our home culture at the moment!
Other options might be Moody Radio, your college’s chapel (if you went to a Christian college), or service from your supporting churches. Once, I heard them praying for me, and it was such an encouragement that it brought tears to my eyes! It might also make you homesick, so be aware of the balance.
Study in Shifts
I learned how to do inductive Bible study in college, and it’s been a very fruitful practice for me…but these days, I haven’t had time to sit down and study for an hour at a time. (As a side note, I believe my children have a radar that alerts them when uninterruptible activities are happening. If anyone can tell me how to de-activate this radar, I’d be most grateful.)
FOCUSed15: I first heard about this on the God Centered Mom podcast, and it’s been great! Really, if you just get one, you can probably reproduce the steps she lays out. She breaks down inductive study into smaller, manageable chunks, and they’re available on Kindle. Good stuff.
Inscribe the Word: This usually takes me less than ten minutes. Just write out the verse for each day. Unless you have a disability, I want to encourage you to physically write it out, not type it. It’s a different part of your brain. And since they’re themed, they get your brain moving in the same direction each day, adding to the conversation. I’ve got a tiny Facebook group going for me and a few other mamas if anyone wants to join for moral support.
If you’re struggling with this, get some accountability! Chances are good that you have at least one friend or supporter who’d be willing to message you once a week and see if you’re studying every day. And husband don’t count. Get an outside voice…one who doesn’t have to sleep on the couch if they ask.
You’ve got this, mamas.