Disclaimer: In no way is the following example supposed to illustrate that I do not enjoy being a mother, living overseas, or being the wife of a teacher/missionary. I love it. Without these things my life would be pretty boring.
I am always busy. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am constantly trying to figure out how to live in a foreign country. How could I not be?
In fact, here is what a typical day might look like:
I wake up at 6:30am to my "alarm clock" (aka: Noah Thomas Perry). Before I can even be completely awake I am already feeding Noah breakfast. Then I make sure Justin has breakfast and help him with any last minute things so he can get out the door for work. After Justin leaves, I spend a few hours entertaining Noah, changing diapers, etc. We might even throw a trip to the park into the mix. Noah takes a nap at 9AM. Now I can eat breakfast, take a shower, possibly brush my hair, practice a few words in Japanese, throw in a load of laundry, do the dishes that I couldn't quite finish up the night before, clean...oh, Noah's up. So, I feed Noah a snack, get him dressed and we are out the door to grocery shop. This will take roughly a while because I have to go to two to three different grocery stores walking (or biking) home between each one in order to get all the groceries home. (Of course I don't grocery shop everyday but there is something that takes up this time if it isn't grocery shopping.) Nap time for Noah again. Time to do more laundry, straighten up the house, possibly do a few things on the internet, work...oh wait, there's Noah. So now there is feeding, changing, and playing with Noah time. Daddy's home! I hand Noah over to spend some time with him to start dinner. I make dinner, eat dinner, clean up after dinner. Bath and bedtime for Noah starts right about now. While Justin bathes him I will get his night clothes ready and his towel, make sure his bed is in order and whatever else needs to be done during that time. Then I feed Noah and put him to bed. It's 8pm. Time to finish up the laundry, catch up with my hubby, maybe fit in a page or two of a book I'm reading and then...oh wait, I am totally asleep and crashed out for the night.
So, that long paragraph I just wrote was to ask the following question. What is missing in all the hustle and bustle of my day?
My quiet time.
It was nonexistent. In fact, for a while it had been weeks since I really had spent quality time with the Lord. And I'm not counting a quick prayer that the foam Noah just swallowed won't cause us to spend a day in the hospital or the Bible verse I read when I opened up the Bible and pointed to a random verse. I am talking about real time, purposely spent with Him. I would go through my whole day, get to the end of it and feel extremely guilty about the fact that I didn't make time for a quiet time, vow that tomorrow would be different, and guess what? It always ended up the same.
One day I just realized it HAD to change. So, this is what I decided to do. I eat an english muffin or some kind of toast for breakfast every morning. Our toaster oven takes 12 minutes to even begin to toast anything. 12 minutes?!?! This used to frustrate me to no end. Do I look like I have the time to wait more than 12 minutes for a piece of toast? But then I realized wait, I could do my quiet time during that 12 minutes! And so I put my bread item in the toaster oven, start the timer, grab my Bible and start my quiet time. Once I get started I usually end up going through my eating time and a little more than that.
And you know what? I manage to get everything else done by the end of the day. Amazing right? I can even see a difference in the way I handle things. Life just seems a little less stressful. It's near impossible enough trying to be a mom and/or wife without a quiet time. I would never ever ever recommend trying that. But when your doing these things overseas while juggling different ministries you MUST do this to survive. Spending time with the Lord is something that has to be a part of your day or you will never do all the things Christ has set out for you to do.