The first 25 years of my life, I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker. In fact, I didn’t possess any desire to take even one tiny sip of that steamy black brew my mama drank every morning.

That is until one day I met a friend at a local coffee house. It was there I discovered something ground-breaking about coffee. It doesn’t have to be consumed black.

The barista at the fancy coffee shop asked me a question when she poured me some French roast coffee that day. “Room for cream, ma’am?” That simple question posed to this coffeehouse novice was the beginning of a decades-long love affair.

You see, not only did I splash a little cream in my coffee that day, but I also sprinkled on about a half teaspoon of sugar, gave the whole concoction a stir, and then took a hesitant sip.

It was then that I fell head-over-heels in love with the taste of coffee. Well, as long as I leave a little room for cream.

To me, motherhood is a little like that black coffee my own mama tried to get me to like all those years. The heat and sometimes bitterly sorrowful times of motherhood often strong-arm me, wrestling with my emotions.

Or, the monotony of motherhood makes me view my life as boring and redundant; always performing the same tasks over and over and over again. Wipe this. Clean that. Remind a child of one thing. And his sibling of another. Peel the potatoes. Scrub the pan. Stain-stick the sports uniforms. Get the groceries. Put them all away. And then?

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

However, having a few decades of parenting now under my belt, I have learned a very important lesson. We as mamas need to save a little room for cream. To not pack our lives so tightly that we don’t leave room for a little sweetness to cut the bitter and a little sprinkle of sugar to sweeten things up a bit.

I’m not talking about hours upon hours of time spent pursuing a hobby, shopping endlessly, or locking ourselves away in a day spa for some “me time”—although a little me time is fabulous when you can grab it.

I mean “He time”—time to reconnect with God. To slowly read his word. Or walk in nature or sit out in the sunshine (sipping an iced mocha perhaps?) and pour our hearts out to him. Time to take our smallest concerns, along with our deepest prayers for our children, to Jesus.

Connecting with our creator is crucial. But busy moms often put such times on the back burner. Not because we don’t desire to spend time with God, but because we are so busy meeting the needs of our family, which often leads to putting ourselves last.

In fact, we might even feel selfish having any time at all to ourselves at all. So what is a maxed-out mom to do? Stop looking for an entire hour a day. Instead seek out little pockets of time.

Rather than taking the super spiritual approach that says you must carve out an entire hour each morning to read your Bible and pray, look for little pockets of time. Do you wait in the carpool line for your kids to come out of the school building at the end of the day? Do you find yourself in medical waiting rooms often? Do you have a 15-minute commute to work or several nursing sessions with a newborn baby as a stay-at-home mom? Learn to maximize these times.

Keep a small Bible (or even just a New Testament) in your purse, or in an app on your phone, along with a journal and a pen. Whenever you find a small pocket of time, pull out your Bible and read. Or spend a few minutes praying. Or jotting down some thoughts about what scriptures you have been reading lately. Or craft a worshipful playlist of songs to listen to while on your commute or while you nurse. These little snippets of time add up over the course of the day. Look for them.

If you are a mom with young children, find creative ways to sneak in a little reading, prayer time, and journaling. I used to take my children to a chain restaurant that had an indoor play land. They would all split a large order of chicken nuggets and go jump in the ball pit while I read my Bible. They occasionally came back to dunk another nugget in the honey mustard or take a sip of water, while I got a good chunk of time to devote to reading.

I also purchased a waterproof Bible and would sit cross legged on the bathroom floor while they splashed around in the tub. Before I bought it, I was a no-nonsense mom, quickly getting them in and out of the tub when they would have rather lingered and played. This setup worked for both of us. They could splash in the bubbles longer while I soaked in the word of God.

Make plans now to implement one of these suggestions this week. Leave a little room for cream in your own life: space to savor the sweet relationship with God that makes us more like Jesus.

 

FREE GIVEAWAY OF “PRESSING PAUSE – 100 QUIET MOMENTS FOR MOMS TO MEET WITH JESUS” by KAREN EHMAN & RUTH SCHWENK (3 COPIES)

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Karen Ehman is a New York Times bestselling author, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and a writer for Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that reaches over four million women daily. She has written 14 books and Bible studies including KEEP IT SHUT: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All and Keep Showing Up: How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy. Karen has been featured on media outlets including TODAY.com, Redbook.com, Foxnews.com, Crosswalk.com, Focus on the Family and HomeLifeMagazine. Her passion is to help women live their priorities as they reflect the gospel to a watching world. Married to her college sweetheart, Todd, and the mother of three, she enjoys sending hand-written notecards, cheering for the Detroit Tigers, and feeding the many people who gather around her mid-century dining table for a taste of Mama Karen’s cooking.

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