Some days I really just want to be alone.
I love my babies, don’t get me wrong; staying at home with my wild and crazy little boys is the delight of my life, and I am glad to do it.
I must be doing a halfway decent job as a mom, because my guys adore me so much that they think they need to be with me every second, even when I go to the bathroom. But every once in a while, it would it be heaven to be able to use the toilet in peace.
And maybe spend a few moments praying or reading my Bible.
All my life I’ve been taught that the key to growing as a Christian is to spend time alone with God, praying and meditating on Scripture. In Christian circles we usually refer to this as “quiet time.”
I think whoever coined that phrase must not have been a parent. Regardless, I rarely get time alone, quiet or otherwise. And I struggled with that for a long time, feeling like I wasn’t doing my duty as a Christian.
One day in particular, I had finally gotten a few moments to myself, and was sitting down beside my bed to read and pray. I had no more opened my Bible than I heard my 10-month-old wailing from his crib. Nap time, apparently, was over. And I started to cry.
“I know I asked you for these boys,” I lamented to the Lord, “but now I feel chained to them. How am I supposed to grow in you if I never get a break from being a mom?” For days I was in a funk, convinced that parenting was going to be the ruin of me.
Then one morning, God reminded of a simple truth:
Paul had chains, too.
Do you remember them?
Paul was imprisoned over and over for his tenacious preaching that Jesus was the Messiah. When he was in Rome, awaiting his trial before Caesar, he was watched by members of the praetorian guard, Roman troops assigned to the emperor. But these soldiers didn’t just stand outside a holding cell, or keep Paul hostage with a weapon. The guards and prisoners were literally chained together.
So Paul knew what it was like to be constantly with others, never alone for a moment. He would have had every right to complain. But he didn’t. Do you know what he said about his chains?
“What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14, emphasis added).
Paul recognized that his chains were an opportunity to serve the Lord. His guardians could not leave, so they were a captive audience for his message of reconciliation to God.
Understanding this has changed my perspective about this season of my life.
I still crave alone time. Adult conversation. Moments away from my boys.
But when I adopt Paul’s perspective, the chains become a little easier to bear. My sons are my captive audience. Every day, whether I intend to or not, I am teaching them with my words and my actions.
And at the end of the day, I want to be able to say that “I am in chains for Christ.”
By Amy Reasoner, More Than Rubies
Photo by: Steven Depolo