Help! Mommydom leaves me no time for God

Holly Elliff

Holly Elliff | 10.14.09
Twitter: @TSCMomlink


The following post is actually a letter Holly Elliff wrote to a frustrated mom who can’t seem to find time to spend with God. Can you relate?

Dear Mom,

Let me give you a little peek into my life. I have eight children and two in heaven I never got to meet. My kids are currently 32, 30, 27, 23, 21, 18, 15 and 13. I also take care of my mom who has Alzheimers and have four grandchildren age 2 and under! Although I'm not exactly in your shoes right at this moment, I do know what it feels like and I so understand what "tired" means.

busy momWhen my first four or five kids were all young, I had to focus so much on survival (for me and everyone else), that there were very few holes in my day to focus on time with the Lord. I wish I could tell you that I handled that like a spiritual giant and breezed through without struggle, but then I would just have to confess it the next time Nancy teaches on honesty!

I wish we could sit down together someplace peaceful and visit for a while. Since that's probably not going to happen, I would love to share a few insights that come as a result of years of living where you live and from the perspective of being a little further down the road.

God declares in His Word that your kids are a blessing and a gift. They are not an interruption, a mistake, or a hindrance to God's will in your life; they are God's will for your life.

Since these kids, at the ages they are at this moment, are God's will for your life, does He intend to speak to you in the next decade or so when you don't have free time? Of course He does. So how is that going to happen when you have so little time you can control?

Here are some practical tips on creating space to hear from the Lord:

1. First, think through the last 48 hrs. Any time-stealers come to mind? Facebook, Twitter, TV, email, Internet, phone calls, or texts? Make sure the enemy isn't robbing you of God-moments by offering a "harmless" substitute.

2. Time with the Lord takes intentional planning when you have a full, noisy, busy house. Some days, gather your kids around and read a passage to them. If you can make it interesting to listen to, you might get through several verses. Write a few verses out and leave them in the kitchen, laundry room, or car so you can contemplate as you cook, fold, or wait for your kids.

3. Place Bibles in several spots around your house so anytime you do get to sit down you can snatch a verse or two to ponder.

4. Use the first few minutes of nap time to get rest for your spirit. You probably won't be reading chapters or books at one sitting, but the Lord can use even snippets to instruct and encourage your heart. If you have kids who no longer nap, make a quiet zone where they can read or color while the little ones sleep and you get refreshed. Occasionally, this will actually work!!

5. Escape for a few minutes if you can after your husband gets home or right after dinner. I have had quiet times on picnic tables at the park, in my car at Sonic, on my driveway sitting in my car, and in my laundry room or closet.

6. Practice God's presence "in the midst" of your crazy days. He doesn't leave because your life is hectic. He can minister grace to your heart as you comfort that child or chop veggies for dinner or sort dirty socks. Christ knew what it was like to wash dirty feet. He is not absent when we are surrounded by lots of them! Remember that the Lord had many moments when He sought to draw apart to seek the Father. Sometimes that happened, sometimes He was moved with compassion and returned to the multitudes. His heart was to do the will of His Father every moment of every day, but He didn't live apart, He lived in the midst.

7. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and discernment as you discover what will work for your family. Since it is God's will for you to know Him, ask Him to enable you to creatively pursue that in this season of your life. God's Word is eternal. The lives of those who come to know Him are eternal. Houses, stuff, and even time will all pass away. We won't regret time invested in His Word and in raising our kids to love Christ.

Proverbs 2:1–10 says:

My (daughter), if you will receive my words
         And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
         Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
         Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
         And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
         And discover the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
         From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
         He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.

I hope this helps,


Topics: With Your Kids, Relationship with God


  1. That was incredibly helpful, thank you so much! God bless you.
    posted by Holly
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:14 am
  2. Thank you so much. This one really spoke to my heart. I am guilty of spending little snippets of time (too many) on facebook or other web surfing when I could be using that time, several times a day to spend with the Lord. All about priorities. Even though I have 3 young children, I am sure if I really tried I could find enough time to spend with the Lord....its having the discipline to match my desire to do so.
    posted by Nina
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:23 am
  3. Thank you so much for this letter. I have been struggling in this area. I pray throughout the day, but am missing His Words. I have 4 kids and 1 on the way and I homeschool. I am busy. But I know that checking email and blogs probably take up an hour a day. I also read at night. That is the time I should spending in the Bible. We also have to remember that Satan loves it when we don't get into the Word everyday. It is a victory for him. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
    posted by Belinda
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:37 am
  4. Thank you!!! I have 5 kids, ages 10 - 6weeks old. Very busy, very tired. These tips are great!
    posted by Cindy
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 8:52 am
  5. Thank you so much for the encouragement. When I saw this topic in my inbox, I thought "my, the Lord really loves me." I have 3 kids, ages 6 1/2, 5, and 2 1/2 and this has been an issue for me. I'm guilty of the surfing that takes away valuable time. Thanks again for the great encouragement. May I yield to the Lord's heeding.
    posted by Shenita
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 9:02 am
  6. Thank you so much for the article, which is so much needed, and your suggestions are really good.

    One thing I would add is to: Pray...asking God to give you a HEART that seeks after Him and that puts Him first in all of your life. Once we have the heart that desires Him, making the time becomes way much easier - and way more meaningful. Do I have the heart for God that I want to see my children have when they are growing and then grown?

    One of my friends recently said concerning making/taking time for the Lord in the midst of an incredibly filled schedule, "The God of creation can help me be creative in my time management, for sure." The question is: am I asking Him to do that?

    Jer.24:7, which reads-"Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
    posted by Ellen
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:10 am
  7. Thought this was great advice for us busy mom's and really anyone!
    posted by Elizabeth Sclater
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:20 am
  8. What Holly says about intentional time in God's Word is so important. It is so easy to "fritter" away time and not realize it. We are so often told in preaching to put God first in the day. How I remember feeling very alone in the midst of children while my husband left for his private office where he could have a quiet time. But, like Holly, I learned to snatch time here and there and eventually as the children grew older, they took on more responsibility that gave me more freedom to spend time with God. It also taught them to take time for God and they started in personal devotions early in life. Sometimes family devotions were a big blessing to me! I was so hungry to hear from God that the family time was something I looked very much forward to. Most importantly, we can't let Satan defeat us. If our children see us "out of sorts" then how do they know that God's presence gives us peace and wisdom? Sometimes we need to remember to stop and take a few deep breaths, call out to God for wisdom, and rest in His grace. I really think those memory verses we learned at a young age come to us when we are desperate and call out, "Lord remind me of something in your Word." He always comes through. Although my children are grown, I find my days remain busy and I still have to intentionally make time for quiet devotions. It will always be a struggle to overcome interruptions. Take courage, the Lord is in the little moments as well as in the long hours. When we truly delight in Him, He wonderfully gives us the desires of our hearts. Psalm 37:4
    posted by Karyl
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:23 am
  9. O.K. I give up - I'm not a "true woman" by your standards.

    I've read through several articles here and think you should change the name of your organization and site to "True MOTHERhood"

    What about women who can't have children or adopt them?

    Aren't we "true" women?

    God designed me the way I am. He has a plan for me.

    Your plan is too small to be His.
    posted by Pat
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:59 am
  10. Dear Pat,
    The subject currently is on motherhood and I think it will be all month. You just happened to start when the subject is motherhood. Children are an intregal part of life, however. There are lots of chldren longing to a loving touch. Teach a Sunday School Class or after school club, help in the church nursery, volunteer at a boys and girls club, and on and on. God gives us all children in one way or another and all these mothering tips help. A while back the subject was on husand and wife and I no longer have a husband. I read the blogs once in a while anyhow and even joined in a time or two. I suggest you try Revive Our Hearts for Bible study truths. We all need to be True to God throughout our days regardless of life's circumstances. So, that makes us true women.
    posted by Karyl
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 11:15 am
  11. Whoa, Pat, you must be new. This organization is headed by a single woman with no children. Of course, you ARE a true woman if you are following after God according to His plans and directions. Every woman can be a "true" woman, that is, a woman as God designed her to be. He has a plan for each ones life as you said, but His guidelines for every life are the same, and found in the Bible. On the other hand, the reality is that the majority of the women in the world are mothers. But there are also millions without a proper mother who would love to be loved and nurtured by you. May God guide you to them.
    posted by Barbara Barrick
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 11:40 am
  12. Thanks for a very helpful post. It's encouraging (and challenging... and convicting...) to me right now, and I want to put it on file to assist me in encouraging others later!
    posted by Suzanne
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm
  13. Pat,
    I want to encourage you to stay tuned. Later this month, I'll have a post on infertility and one on adoption.

    True Women come in all shapes and sizes. Some are mothers; some are not. I hope you'll stick with us.

    In Christ,
    posted by Mindy Kroesche
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 12:45 pm
  14. A true woman is also the spiritual mom of others she leads to Christ. ~God's highest calling.
    posted by Leslie Dawn Neagle
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm
  15. Thank you so much for this, being a mom can definately be hectic, but I would not trade it for the world! Thank you for you suggestions!
    posted by Gabriela Gammo
    on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm
  16. Holly,

    I love this article! Thanks for being a True Woman who loves to fulfill the Titus 2 model!

    Thanks Friend!
    Love You Much :-)
    posted by Kimberly Wagner
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:08 am
  17. Hi girls, thanks for all your input. I love the way you are encouraging each other.

    All of us will have 168 hours this week. How we govern and use that time makes a huge difference in who we are as women who bear the name of Christ.

    Maybe we should ponder where our 168 hours went this week and see if we need to make some adjustments. (I've been reminded of some missed opportunities in my life this week even as I've been typing this!)

    I imagine the Lord is just waiting for us to discover that He IS available and those moments to meet Him ARE there ..... if we are intentional about seeking them out! God Bless, Holly
    posted by
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 1:22 am
  18. Pat, God has all kinds of True Women.

    Regardless of our current season of life, it's critical for us to understand what God's word teaches in every aspect of potential assignments we might have as women.

    Although this isn't your assignment right now, I pray that the truths you are reading will allow you to encourage someone else and that those principles will become part of the truth matrix that God desires to shape in each of us.

    I pray that the Lord will amaze you in the months ahead with what He desires for you and that you will have great joy in pursuing His perfect will.

    God bless, Holly
    posted by
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 2:13 am
  19. Dearest Holly!
    Thank you for this post. Yes, it does help. Thank you for your helpful reminders and tips. It can be quite a struggle sometimes to find that quiet time with the Lord when we are busy wives and mothers (probably for some singles, too). I'm still working on gettting the balance in it all, but take comfort in the fact that the Lord is still working on me to help in this area! He is good! (Ps. 42)
    P.S. I just recently pulled an older book off my shelf (more specifically for wives and mothers) -- "More Hours in my Day", by Emilie Barnes -- I think it is a good one for someone like me, who would have more time for the Lord if I could get my overall household and schedule better organized.
    In His love,
    posted by Leslie S.
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 11:15 am
  20. This was awesome advice. Thank you! :)
    posted by Christin
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm
  21. Freneticism
    Sucking the life out of life
    Psalm 46:10 (NIV), Psalm 46:10 (MSG)...
    posted by Christian Haiku
    on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm
  22. Thank you Lord. I truly needed this.
    posted by Kim
    on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm
  23. what a blessing! I have been struggling with this myself over the last few weeks...God Bless you all as we strive to be the women He wants us to be.
    posted by Marilyn
    on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm
  24. I struggle with this a lot, I am a single mom and must work full time outside the home, come home, get dinner on the table, deal with homework, etc. I try to spend even just a few minutes a night before we go to bed on devotionals, most nights we don't get to it. What is a mom supposed to do when they are juggliing multiple roles?? Sure we all have 168 hrs a week but what to do when the majority of them are spend in an office and not raising your child(ren)?
    posted by Erica
    on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm
  25. Any advice for a mom who needs more time than a prayer here and a verse there? I used to spend and hour or so in worship and prayer and feel like anything less is getting potato chips when I need a steak. I feel like I'm starving spiritually...
    posted by Monica
    on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 12:16 am
  26. Dear Monica,

    I can so relate to your struggle! Regardless the ages of our children, the daily reality of busyness, distractions and responsibilities can threaten to rob us of the time we desire to spend with the Lord. In my own life I’ve even found that a “longing for what used to be” can become a deterrent to intimacy with Jesus.

    So here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:

    • Begin by simply getting honest with the Lord. He is well aware of the realities you face each day, Monica. He’s not surprised by your frustrations or the challenges you face in spending time alone with Him. Intimacy always begins with honesty. So spend some time pouring your heart out before the Lord.
    • Offer a sacrifice of praise. Choose to praise the Lord for the season of life you are in. Thank Him for what He wants to teach you about Himself and His ways during this season. Thank Him for the season of life when you were able to spend extended periods of time in the Word and in prayer. Thank him that though this season might look different He remains the same! His presence is with you every moment and He longs to teach you new things about Himself.
    • Ask the Lord to help you develop and accept a new “routine” for your time with Him – realizing that this is for a season. Could you spend time in the Word during your children’s nap time? Would evening hours work better? Are your children old enough that you could begin training them to play quietly while Mommy spends time with Jesus?

    Your quiet time may not look the way it used to, Monica, but the Lord is still at work in your life! Oh, how He loves the longing of your heart to walk intimately with Him each day. Cry out to Him…He will give you creativity in developing a time with Him in this season of life.
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:20 am
  27. A local gathering of women in weekly Bible study has helped me a lot. If you have small children (or homeschooled older ones), excellent childcare - teaching, actually, is provided for 2 hours.

    Search online for Community Bible Study (CBS) or Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) - sometimes women drive an hour to get there because it's worth it! It's nicely organized , and it's for all denominations; held during daytime in the school year, but there are some evening groups too.
    posted by A Woman and Mom
    on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm
  28. Thank You : ) God is so good this has literally changed my life, i felt so lost. Buyt nt anymore, you freed me and gave me complete understanding. God bless you :
    posted by Naima
    on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm
  29. My mom was the complete opposite. As a child, I remember feeling like I was competing with God for my mother's attention --- and to no avail. I remember when I hurt myself or needed to talk, I always had to wait ... wait till her worship CD had finished or wait till some religious program on TV was done. I remember her telling me I felt convicted and that's why I felt the way I did. I wasn't guilty. I just wanted my mom to spend time with me, and not judge me, like she did with God. He always won, was always on her side and I felt defeated and lonely. To this day, I still struggle with God and find it difficult to attend church or talk with my mother about anything religious or otherwise.
    posted by Kristine
    on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm
  30. Kristine, I'll have to admit that I don't often hear your particular circumstance as you grew up! Usually, it is time with the Lord that is neglected, not time with our children.
    The Lord is amazingly able to sort through our hurts, our needs, and our realities and bring good from them. I would encourage you to give your Mom some grace and then plunge ahead in pursuing your own personal relationship with Christ.
    Allow him to heal your wounds, learn forgiveness, and grow as you find in Him everything you need for the current needs of your life.
    Yielding your life to Christ is the genesis of every desire of your heart being found in Him. He loves you and has since your were created and He longs to grow you up as you walk with Him. He will never ignore you or resist you if you are seeking Him with a whole heart.
    I would encourage you not to let your perspective on your past blind you to the mercy of God that is stored up for YOUR life and those you will influence!
    The book of John might be a good place to start as you pursue God's truth. Thanks for having the courage to seek it out for yourself. Let us know how that's going! God bless, Holly
    posted by Holly Elliff
    on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm
  31. This website is so encouraging. Thank you for the wisdom in having quality time with the Lord and not quantity. I'm a young, working mother (3rd shift) of 3 ages 3 1/2-7mons that also helps taking care of a terminally ill loved one. So, needless to say, I have little time for Jesus or myself. I was finding myself burnt out and longing for ways to spend time with God. I find myself guilty of being on Facebook and playing games on my iPad instead of maximizing that time for him. Yet recent events last month (i lost my uncle, mother and a church fam mbr) had me re-evaluating my priorities and recognize my distractions. I really appreciate the insight and hope that you continue to minister to moms like me for a long time.
    posted by Khira
    on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm
  32. I would add that as a mom we need to evaluate our expectations and Maybe lower them in some ways, and change our definition of successful parenting. Ask yourself for whom do I labor and deprive myself of good? many times we are conforming to an invisible impossible standard from diverse sources, like women's magazine, a fictional bit from advertising, or impressing a husband's coworker. We compete with imaginary super people. If you get through the day with a greatful spirit, a contented heart, that is great achievement. God can take what seems to be insignificant obscurity, diapers, attending to needy, needy relatives, or being unable to create with your education bought talents, and make you more influential than you can imagine. Parenting can be humbling in so many ways, but God will lift you up, you will eventually reap from what seem to be lots of dirt now, a harvest of righteousness. you will be envied for your joy.
    True woman
    posted by R. Sorenson
    on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm
  33. Also, I had a mom whose drug of choice was church. yes you can have an unholy addiction to religious fervor.
    True religion is to love mercy, deal justly, and walk humbly with God. I have a hunch Pat was competing with a legalistic stranglehold her mom had, probably a cultish type follower of emotional feeding through power hungry Christians. Your Creator is not your competitor. identify the real problem. Just as a person can be obese and nutritionally deficient, a person can fill up on religious actions and be spiritually starved. how do you get healthy? be not wise in your own eyes. Turn entirely away from evil. Fear and praise The Lord. honor Him with your life. that means acknowledge God. not a self imposed pentinence and preoccupation with cleaning the outside of the cup.
    posted by R.Sorenson
    on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm
  34. Surely its more than just coming to the word, what about your hearts attitude. what if you are feeling so tired and weary that you cant even focus on what your reading? Shouldn't we sort out our heart first by coming to God with an honest heart instead of trying to attempt to steal moments to read the word, where you find your not taking in anything your reading because maybe your heart is hard, tired, or in sin. Sometimes for me to draw close I need reassurance of his acceptance and love for me, and surely I need time to sit in his presence and read his word to realise this, time to sit and be still so that I can hear him. This is what I lack... that time...that time to just stop and be still and search my heart. these days in the evening it just seems impossible, I just feel ready to drop when we finally get to sit down. I stop but my eyes are too heavy to read, Im with my husband so I cant go away and pray. The mornings are often ridiculas, Anna wakes 5 am! Am I to wake at 3:30 - 4 and go through a whole day at work right through to the evening? This just seems to be the only solution. I feel stuck here, any advise?
    posted by Naomi
    on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 4:08 am
  35. Hi Naomi ~ Thanks for your email.
    I certainly understand that "head barely above water" feeling. I appreciate your honesty too. The cool thing about the Lord is that He already "knows" our path (Ps.142) and in that Psalm, David says he pours out his complaint to the Lord.
    Obviously, the Lord already knew David's heart, but as He came to the Lord, honest about His needs, he began to gain perspective. Our Father doesn't expect us to be "fine" when we come to Him. By His astounding grace, we have already been granted access to His throne and His presence anywhere or anytime.
    Running to the Lord is just crying out for help and the Lord doesn't hold us hostage until we are energized or spiritual or have things under control.
    As a mom of eight kids, and caring for my Mom with Alzheimers and years ago caring for my mother in law who also had Alzheimers (when we only had four kids). I have learned that I have NO ability to place myself in a position where I feel I can approach Him. However, God promises that His grace which grants me the power to do His will and the desire to do it, is always surrounding me. At any moment I can cry out for help and He invites me into His presence (warts and all). In His presence I find peace, direction, hope and rest.
    It is rare for me to have extended uninterrupted time to seek His face, BUT God is so gracious that He seeks me out, by His Spirit and through His word. It might be a chapter or perhaps just a few verses, but the Lord can use His word to encourage my heart.
    Look for tiny things that might be robbing you of those moments. Email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Media are huge black holes that can consume our moments that might be directed toward the Lord. Ask Him to show you anything that could be changed in your schedule or
    I meet the Lord so much of the time, "in the midst" of my life events. He can restore my heart as I rock a child, wash my Mom's clothes or take care of her needs, or in moments of fatigue when I know HE is my refuge and my strength. Be diligent to change details that might give you more time to pursue Him, and then trust Him to work through your circumstances to show you your need and to meet those needs. He is STEADFAST, HUGE and He LOVES you, right where you are, every moment of every day. Run toward Him, He will be waiting.

    God bless, Holly

    Grace for today ..... and for tomorrow !
    posted by Tammy Zebell
    on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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