My Sacred Time
When my daughter was first born, I attempted to put her on a nursing and napping schedule. I actually did accomplish a pretty predictable schedule there for awhile, at least during the day. Somehow she didn't really have a "set" bedtime though.
After a few months of being on a routine during the day, she started going down for the night around 8:30. She did this for a few nights in a row and then it just stuck! I eventually quit doing the nursing and napping routine and just decided that she would let me know when she's hungry and when she's tired... and she does! But even though we stopped having a daytime routine, we have not stopped going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day.
Today I want to share why!
For most of the past year, my husband worked a shift that started at 2am, which meant he went to bed between 7-8 every night. So after I nursed the baby to sleep at 8:30, our house was dark and quiet. I decided that since I KNEW that everyone would be asleep at 8:30pm most nights, I could dedicate this time to be used for prayer!
So that's what I did.
Almost every night after I put the baby to bed, I spend time in prayer. Sometimes I also use this time to read a book or work on my blog (that has been rare lately though!)
Knowing what time my baby will go to sleep each night is very important to me because it gives some predictability to my day.
The quietude of our home after 8:30 is a sacred time. It is the only time in my day where I can actually sit and truly focus on talking with the Lord, alone. I am able to pray about the things that happened in my day; I am able to reflect on what I could have done better, and then ask the Lord to help me in those areas; I am able to petition the Lord day after day for Him to provide a new job for us and a new home where we can grow our family; I am able to plead with the Lord on behalf of our country and those around me; I am able to call out to the Lord on behalf of my husband and daughter, as I know that it is my responsibility to earnestly pray for them; and I am able to praise, worship and give thanks to the Lord for what He has done for me.
This time in my day is important for a few reasons: First of all, I know I am commanded to have prayer times like this that are consistent and where I am alert. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18)
Secondly, praying gives me hope when it comes to the things I can't change in my own power; I desperately need the hope that comes from praying to the God who CAN change things and do things that I cannot do.
Last but definitely not least, spending time in prayer draws me closer to my Lord. Reading the Word of God is very important, but we aren't supposed to do that only. We are to spend time in God's Word along with spending time in prayer. Both are important and both are necessary!
I encourage you, especially if you have little ones at home, to set aside a specific and consistent time for prayer and/or reading your Bible! Whether that means putting the kids to bed early every night or getting up before they do in the mornings, having uninterrupted time to spend with God each day is very, very important. In fact, it's the most important thing you can do as a mom. So figure out what works best with you and your family, and get yourself your own sacred time. I promise you won't regret it!
P.S. One key to getting your baby/toddler to go to sleep at the same time every night is to make them wake up at the same time every day. The time that they awake will determine what time they nap, and that will ultimately determine what time they fall asleep. This will take a few weeks, but it will work! My daughter wakes up at 7am (sometimes without the alarm); she usually naps between 12-2; she then gets pretty tired the closer it gets to 8:30. I watch her every afternoon to gauge whether she wants to go to sleep earlier or not. So even though I haven't set up a schedule for during the day, me just waking her up at the same time every morning has caused her body to naturally fall into its own routine. How neat is that!