I have long, long struggled with keeping a daily devotional time, that so-called "quiet time." As a morning person, you would think I would attend to it directly but I've always found that I do a bunch of things in the morning--household tasks, answering e-mails, reading the news, etc. I don't naturally desire to sit and be quiet in the morning. And once small children are thrown in the mix, mornings are rarely quiet again. For a while, it seemed that no matter how early I set my alarm, one child or another would wake up fifteen minutes before the radio clicked on. Or, as I sat in the blue recliner, Bible in lap, I'd get two verses in before I heard the smack of bare feet on tile from one end of the house to the other. So, into my lap she goes, and I try to maintain concentration with thumb-sucking and humming in my ear.
This month, as we got out the felt Christmas tree Advent calendar of my childhood, I was determined that R and I would daily read our verse and message that corresponds to each ornament we placed on the tree. Each ornament reflects part of the Christmas story or a name or attribute of Christ or a lesson about God's Word. R eagerly sticks the ornament on the tree and will listen to the verse but squirms, puts her head in her lap, even rolls her eyes as we read the lesson and I ask her a question or two. And to pray at the end...pulling teeth.
So what have I learned? My child is just like me. And I should have started daily devotions at age 2 or 3 instead of 4 when I thought she was old enough. And to keep it simple and short. And to model better for the next kids in line. And to remember that talking about God isn't confined to our devotion time, but to eagerly watch for moments when I can direct my children to the God of the universe and the Christ who came to save. And to pray for her heart, and for mine. And to keep it up, tomorrow and the next day. And to give her grace, and some for me, too.