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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meaningful Scripture Study

Dear Sister,

You knew this wouldn't be a short reply.

So here's my situation, only one child probably a lot like the people you'll be talking to, this is for your old ward right?  Anyways, mine is older than just a baby that sleeps all of the time.  The one child thing is that they don't have a playmate, so they sometimes beg for MORE of your attention.

As far as making time for scripture study goes.............this is what works for ME:

I tried waking up earlier than Daughter for awhile, but sometimes she'd wake up that early too (small house) and that made for no scripture study and 2 very grumpy people from waking up early, so I canned that.  I also hate to read at night.  I usually am tired and that is my best "project" time AND Husband is home.  It's hard to give up some of that precious spouse time even for something good like reading the scriptures (He reads in the morning while he eats breakfast and Daughter and I are asleep).  I also don't like to read at night, because I don't need to build up my armor to promptly fall asleep.  When I read in the morning little phrases that I read will pop back into my head all day long (even if I am not purposefully trying to ponder them).  I love that, because I can tell I have the Spirit with me all day.

So my mission was to try to figure out how to read while Husband was at school as to maximize our couple time and read earlier in the day so as to draw from that strength ALL while a child has the potential to interrupt making the scripture study questioningly meaningful.

These are things that I have done.

1. I take my scriptures/ journal outside.  I read/ write while Daughter plays in the backyard.

2. I have taken scriptures/ journal/ Ensign to the park, Science Museum, zoo, library, mall etc.  Anytime I am going somewhere that I know Daughter will be completely enraptured by something, I take them along.  Many times I come home without having read, but many times I have been able to get something in.  (The zoo has a park, the science museum a walled off children's area and rocking chairs for the parents to sit in, etc......I don't just drop her off somewhere, these are places that have areas for her and comfortable places for me to sit while I supervise.)

3.  Not going to lie, I let Daughter watch TV sometimes, so that I can get in my reading.  She wakes up with Husband and when he leaves for school, she is usually watching something (to distract her so I can sleep longer), so when I wake up (or she wakes me up) I just encourage her to go watch a little more so that I can read first thing.  I am trying to think if I have specifically turned on the TV so I can read, can't remember, but wouldn't be opposed to it :)

4.  I have made her take a bath so that I could read/ study/ pray.  It's contained and I know she'll play with herself.  I can see the bath from my bed (small house), but sometimes I have just sat in the hall right by her as well.

5.  I have read during her nap time (takes discipline to do it first thing and not start something else that I want to do during coveted nap time).

6.  I have read during her breakfast or lunch....it's not my favorite, but she is self-contained and when she eats slow (or a lot) then it is a chunk of 10-15-20 minutes.

7.  If it is a weekend or Husband is home, I have specifically asked for time alone for personal study (when I'm about to explode and I know I really need it).  They can just go in her room, out in the backyard, or leave the house, depending on how much I need silence to have the moment that I want to have.  Happy mom, happy family.

8.  Sometimes if she keeps interrupting me, then I ask if she wants to read with me and then start reading out loud wherever I am on the page.  This doesn't usually last long, but at least I am showing her that this is important to me, exposing her to the scriptures, and I will have read a few verses (if I had just started).  It drives me nuts when she comes into my room right after I say my prayer (that I say at the beginning of my scripture study).  It can be really disappointing.

9.  This disappointment that can happen a lot (and maybe why you were asked to teach the class) has caused me to re-define what "scripture study" means to me.  This is kind of where the "meaningful" part kicks in for me as well.  We read family scriptures every night before Daughter goes to bed (so technically I am getting scriptures everyday).  However, it is that "personal study time" that is what is most meaningful to me.  First, I recognize that the Ensign is modern scripture from living prophets.  Second, I recognize that journal keeping is part of my personal scripture (because it's the revelations that Heavenly Father has given for me personally).  Sometimes, I only get to these during the day and rather than beat myself up, I celebrate.  It is nearly impossible for me to get through my whole routine of prayer, read the scriptures, and ponder/ write in my journal.  There are even days that I don't do any of it.  I know that President Benson said that we should read from the Book of Mormon everyday and I do try, but I can only do my best and I know that Heavenly Father is happy with that.  I don't beat myself up that I haven't done a "textbook" or "perfect" or what we might even think of as "the only correct way" scripture study.  Maybe I never had alone time during the day to read, but Daughter and I sang songs out of the Primary Songbook for 45 minutes.  Maybe I didn't read or journal, but I went visiting teaching and had a gospel discussion.  I count all of these types of things as "scripture study" because they all yield the same result.

It brings the Spirit into my soul and my home.


That's what counts right?  We don't read scriptures to check it off of a list.  It is to strengthen us and help us understand the gospel better.

Good luck!!!  I hope this helps with your "making time for meaningful scripture study when you have kids, work, school, and are just busy" class.

Love,
Lindsay

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