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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Rempel

What devotion looks like

"Read your bible, pray everyday and you'll grow, grow, GROW."

I used to do the slides on the slide projector. It was a kids song. The church congregation would crouch low to the ground and at the words "grow, grow, grow" they would slowly stand up straighter and then get taller going on tip toes, the most enthusiastic kids jumping on chairs to get the tallest they could be.

In Sunday school we would get stickers for reading our bibles during the week. It was an excellent way to get kids into the rhythm of "daily devotions".

I am thankful for this teaching.

It was this emphasis on regular submersion in the bible that led me to fall head over heals in love with the God that I found there. Meditating on scripture became a highly valued practice in my life. I found transformation and personal growth in the prayerful practice of reading that book. This became the foundation of my life, the basis of my values and choices.

I would wake up early, or stay up late, to ensure I got my daily time of "devotion".

Then I adopted a preteen girl who had the habit of waking me up at 5am every morning to ensure I was up and able to drive her to school. My early mornings became filled with watching My Little Pony reruns and making creative lunches for an anxious, picky eater. We lived in a tiny 600 square foot A-Frame. There was no space for silence and solitude. No time for prayerful meditation. I would drop her off at school, work all day, pick her up and then be occupied with various caregiver things until I fell into bed exhausted at the end of the day.

I tried to carve out time for my daily devotions, but found it impossible.

Welcome to parenting.

I had mentors encourage me to make my devotional time a priority and tell my kid to stay in her room until a certain time of day.

That may be fine if I wasn't dedicated to making this sensitive kid feel loved, wanted, and safe.

But I was.

I was challenged by parents who said they locked themselves away in their office for hours, leaving the other parent to be present with the kids, so they could go pray.

The would be fine, I guess...although seemingly selfish and grossly unfair to your partner... but my husband was away for 8 months and I was a single parent at the time.

I heard about grandparents who would only babysit their grandkids if it didn't interfere with their intercessory prayer commitments.

I realized that their "daily devotions" were causing them to be crappy parents/grandparents/spouses. I didn't want to sacrifice my children and marriage for the sake of my devotion to spiritual growth. And when I read my bible, I don't think that's what God wants either.

And so my devotional life has changed.

My devotion to God is displayed as I tuck in my kid, rubbing her back gently until she falls asleep, standing guard against the flashbacks by lending my presence.

My meditation comes in the form of driving my kid to rugby practice at 6am.

My prayer comes as I look towards the heavens in a moment of frustration and overwhelming exhaustion and scream in my spirit "God help me have patience!" when my kids are ungrateful.

My "daily devotion" comes in the dishes and the laundry and the absorption of teen sass and angst with grace.

That's mostly what my daily devotion looks like these days.

And then there are sweet times like this morning, when I was able to sit and read my favourite holy book, with my daughter's head snoring in my lap.

And through it all....I grow, grow, grow.

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