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Mothers, Make Time for Yourselves…Read a Book

Consider this: Parents are called by God to disciple their children. Luke’s gospel tells us,  “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). This is true of character, but this is also true of habits and loves.

Consider this: Mothers bear the image of God, marred in the fall, and are commanded to continually put on the mind of Christ. This means spending time in the Word of God, surely, but it means a growth in other aspects of life as well–a growth in humanity in which we were created, a restoration of the marred image (which will be completed at glorification), and the exercises of discernment and creativity. The mind of Christ comes to bear on everything in this world, and we must be continually readjusting our perspective to His and growing as persons.

Consider this:

So many mothers say, “I simply have no time for myself!” “I never read a book!” Or else, “I don’t think it is right to think of myself!” They not only starve their minds, but they do it deliberately, and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification. . . . The resolute planting of Miss Three-years-old in her chair at one end of the table with her toys, of Master Five-years-old at the other with his occupations, and fascinating Master Baby on the rug on the floor with his ring and his ball–the decided announcement, “Now mother is going to be busy”–will do those young people a world of good! Though some of their charms will be missed, they will gain respect from mother’s time, and some self-reliance into the bargain . . . Mother must have time to herself. And we must not say “I cannot.” Can any of us say till we have tried, not for one week, but for one whole year, day after day, that we “cannot” get one half-hour out of the twenty-four for “Mother Culture?”–one half-hour in which we can read, think, or “remember.” . . .  The habit of reading is so easily lost; not so much, perhaps, the power of enjoying books as the actual power of reading at all. It is incredible how, after not being able to use the eyes for a time, the habit of reading fast has to be painfully regained. . . . The wisest woman I ever knew–the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend–told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, “I always keep three books going–a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!” That is the secret; always have something “going” to grow by.

Consider this: If you still think you don’t have time to have “something ‘going’ to grow by,” don’t have a half an hour to read, perhaps you can reclaim some time from another area. Instead of picking up your phone to scroll through social media, pick up a book (keep one handy) and read one paragraph or one page. Statistics tell us that this habit alone could allow the average American to read over 200 books a year! Why not leave your phone plugged in (like it was before phones were cordless) and carry a book or Kindle around instead? Or perhaps you might begin the habit of getting up a little bit earlier in the morning. Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters, in Shopping for Time, suggest joining “The 5 AM Club.” They claim you won’t look back once you establish the habit and reap the benefits! Another way to reclaim time and enrich your mind is by using the times that your hands are busy but your brain isn’t–times like cooking, washing dishes, folding laundry, driving, grocery shopping, etc–to listen to a sermon, an enriching podcast, or an audiobook.

Mothers, make time to cultivate growth in your own soul. You will feel more human, you will have more interesting conversations with your husband and others, and you will bless your children with an example of a lifelong love of learning and growing and putting on the mind of Christ.

About Becky Aniol

Becky holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and music, a master's degree in Christian education, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian education. She taught classical upper school grammar, literature, and history and lower school composition and grammar for two years, elementary school music for one year, and Kindermusik classes for four years before the birth of her children. She now loves staying home with her four children, Caleb, Kate, Christopher, and Caroline and homeschooling them classically.