How a Busy Mom CAN Study Her Scriptures- The Red Headed Hostess
“How do you find time to study your scriptures?”
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I get asked that question by all of you amazing, but very busy moms. And my answer is…
I absolutely need the scriptures in my life.
But – to be totally clear… I miss plenty of days. But I can start to feel it if I miss too many, and frankly – I don’t like that person. So, it is a high priority for me.
Let me also be clear: teaching seminary is why I have come to this place. Over 13 years I was able to teach each book (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants) three times. I taught over 2,200 days of seminary. Each lesson I taught 6 times (3 times per day in 90 minute classes). I was also given each summer to study and prepare. That kind of study is unsustainable for me now. But I have absolutely applied some of the principles to my daily life now as a mom.
Below are several ideas to help you with your scripture study – some I do, and some I don’t. Read through them and pick the ones that will work for you.
1- Don’t wait for quiet time
If I were to commission an artist to paint a mother studying her scriptures, I imagine they would paint something like: a woman in a perfectly pressed dress, in a perfectly clean room, sitting in a chair with sunlight streaming through the window. And then I would make them redo it and paint a mom in sweat pants, with her hair pulled up in a messy pony tail, a basket of laundry waiting to be folded and a child tugging on her arm.
Most of us with young children live in a world where that second painting would be the only way to actually get scripture study in our lives. The first painting? If her kids aren’t around, that woman should have her feet up taking a nap!
Here is the beauty of that second picture: her children get to see her studying and that will impress upon their minds for the rest of their lives. That woman may get something profound from her study even though there are things going on around her, but she (as a mother) will also be setting an irreplaceable example.
My sweet Hannah is now almost 17 months and she will take things and will act like she is vacuuming – because that is what mommy does. She will brush her hair, like mommy does. She will stir things in a bowl, like mommy does. She tries to type on the computer like mommy. And someday she will read her scriptures, like mommy does.
We should live out in the open, the things we want them to do and be.
Oh, and if you feel like your the only mom who isn’t doing this well – check out this scripture study poll and you will feel differently.
2- Use it to start your day right.
This is usually how I study my scriptures most days. For me, the effectiveness of my day is often determined in the first hour upon waking up. So this is what I do:
- I wake up and make the bed
- I get ready for the day
- I study and make a list of everything I want to accomplish (including parenting and personal goals)
- I say my morning prayers, including help to accomplish my list
Some days this doesn’t happen. But I try to make it happen much more than it doesn’t. And as Hannah’s schedule changes (as she wakes up at different times), I have to adjust my schedule too.
And let me emphasize why this is so important to me: I try to put myself in a position to receive inspiration for my day, my family, and the individual things I want to accomplish. Again, I am not perfect at this, but I really value this power hour in my life.
3- Study for your children
As mothers, we often put our needs last because we are so committed to loving and serving everyone else. So, this may be a really motivating force for us who put our personal study on the back burner: Study FOR your children. For example:
- Get a set of scriptures for each child and put their name on the front. Then, one at a time, study, mark, and write notes in each book with that specific child in mind. You could have Dad do the same, and even other relatives like Grandma and Grandpa. Then you can present that set to the child to keep with them, and cherish, throughout their life
- Keep a scripture journal dedicated for each child. Fill it in with thoughts, ideas, stories, and impressions for that particular child.
I really like this idea because I believe we can be inspired to study and write things that our children may need years from when you write them. Also, I think it is easy to prioritize something like this into our lives.
Oh – and for those of you who suffer from “my-handwriting-is-not-perfect-so-how-can-I-keep-a-scripture-journal-itis”, ask your kids if they care. Ask them if they would rather have your impressions, counsel, and teachings for them to read the rest of their lives, or if they would rather not have it because how could they possibly read it if it isn’t perfect?! 🙂
4- Keep a scripture journal
If you have followed this site for awhile, you know how I feel about writing down what we are learning. That has been an essential key for me personally, and my scripture journals have become one of my most valuable possessions.
You can read more about ideas of how to set up a scripture journal HERE, or you can read about the ones offered on this site HERE and ideas on how to use them HERE.
You can also see some of my favorite scripture marking techniques HERE.
5- Show your children that scripture study can change you
I know, without a doubt, that I am a better mother and wife because of the powerful lessons from the scriptures. They have resonated in my soul and I am different. When I read this quote by President Kimball, I say “YES! That is so true!”
“We want our homes to be blessed with sister scriptorians—whether you are single or married, young or old, widowed or living in a family.
“Regardless of your particular circumstances, as you become more and more familiar with the truths of the scriptures, you will be more and more effective in keeping the second great commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. Become scholars of the scriptures—not to put others down, but to lift them up! After all, who has any greater need to “treasure up” the truths of the gospel (on which they may call in their moments of need) than do women and mothers who do so much nurturing and teaching?” (President Spencer W. Kimball, The Role of Righteous Women, General Conference, October 1979)
I believe, with all of my heart, that my ability to love others has been shaped by the scriptures. Not only from the doctrines and principles, but from the sacred moments where the Spirit has touched my heart and soul. And I have learned to count on that lifeline in my life. I know I can be a good mother to Hannah because I have learned how to access that power. And I know I will even learn more! Isn’t that a huge relief?!?
I really believe that a Zion woman will be the kind that President Kimball is talking about. She will be strong and capable because she has paid the price to be that. She has studied and loved her scriptures, and her children will attest to that. I want my children to see the direct relationship between how I treat others to the doctrine that is in my soul.
6- Believe that YOU can be a scriptorian!
Here is the thing – I can honestly, HONESTLY, say : I have learned how to learn, and I have learned how to value the scriptures. I have NOT always known the scriptures. I was NOT that girl in seminary who knew all of the answers. I was the girl who hoped that I was not called on because I probably had no clue what the answer was. I didn’t understand the wording in the scriptures and I could absolutely sit and read a scripture and have NO idea what I just read.
So, I understand. I understand if you struggle. I did too. If someone would have pulled me aside and told me, “hey – you are going to be a seminary teacher!” I would say that they were out of their mind! That was too big of a leap and a completely ridiculous idea.
That is the beauty of my journey. I totally have lived the reality that you can learn and become very knowledgeable in the scriptures. And you don’t have to teach seminary to do it. It just takes desire and effort. And this is why I even started this site in the first place – to help teach others how I have learned how to learn!
And… I wish I could yell this out… YOU WILL FIND THAT YOU HAVE AMAZING INSIGHTS! You will surprise yourself over and over again until you stopped being surprised and realize that this is what happens when we put ourselves in the position to receive revelation so often.
If you have any ideas to add – please do!
This encouraging post is so welcome in my life and in the lives of many women in my family. I am not a young mother any more but I have learned to cleve unto the scriptures. I wish I had been more diligent when my children were small. What would have been different? I would have had more peace and contentment.
Thank you for your great example and insights on how to live each day better and for your testimony.
I was just called as a seminary teacher. I am a mom with young kids. I am grateful to have found your site for some ideas and encouragement. Thanks!
This was awesome and just what I needed!
Some days it seems like I am on the go so much. Those days I get in the car and realize I plum forgot to take time to study my scriptures. For those days I have scriptures on CD and downloaded on my phone to listen to as I’m on the go.
I was so awesome during the school year when we’d do personal scripture study all together at the table. I don’t know what happens when summer begins and everything seems to fall apart. Thanks for the reminder! I would like to pin this but for some reason I can’t pin anything from your site. Any thoughts?
This is excellent advice for moms, dads, and everyone. Thank you for sharing. I am going to use many of your ideas as I teach my Seminary Class how to study the scriptures.
This is great! It is so needed for me to have read this and that others struggle with finding time for scripture study. I like to wait until the evening when everyone is in bed and I have that “me” time. However, I am finding that by the time the evening rolls around I am so exhausted from my busy day that I am not devoting the time and commitment that I want to my scripture study before I am trying to keep my eyes open. I love the scriptures and the truths that they offer. Using your great ideas I believe I will be able to have a new routine in which I can study, see my children watching me study, and have this be a routine in all our lives. Many, many thanks!
I took a class at womans conference on studying the scriptures. One of the teachers said that she reads a Book Of Mormon for her grandchildren when they turn eight. She prays about how she should mark the scriptures, she finds different topics. She also talked about how she will find their birthday scripture for them, that is the month and the date. In the Books she will write little love notes to them etc.
I have done this for my two oldest children, I choose to do it for when they turn 12. It has been a wonderful experience. I asked each family member to give me their favorite scripture and I marked that in there as well. For my daughter I felt impressed to do the values for my son I did it on the names of Christ. It was a little difficult being they are only 14 months apart, and I got called as gospel doctrine teacher, moved, and now primary president. So my son is actually getting his by the start of school. I have loved watching my daughter pull it out to read the notes. I know that their books are unique and different. I felt different impressions with each of them.
I really needed this article. Thanks! Love the painting analogy.
Thank you so much for this… I NEED this. It is an answer to my prayer. I just stumbled upon this as i was taking a mommy break for a minute. I love how prayers can be answered. Thanks again for writing this.
Oh my goodness I am in love with your blog! I have been perusing your site and want to thank you for sharing your life, talents and encouragement with the rest of us!
May I have your permission to refer to you on my blog? (www.somethingtoshoutabout.org) I would like to particularly refer my readers to this post and the importance of personal and family scripture study!
Thank you for your consideration!
Of course April! Share whatever you would like! 🙂
Thank you for this post! A friend posted it on her FB and this is the first time I’ve been to your website. I have a strong testimony of the amazing miracles that come from daily scripture study. Daily scripture study brought the Spirit into my home and one month after studying every night after everyone went to sleep, my (non-member) husband decided to take the missionary lessons. Six months later he was baptized. We are now sealed in the temple and raising our children in the gospel. I never ever thought that would happen.
Yet, I struggle struggle struggle right now with daily scripture study. It is a simple thing but your #1 on this list is so helpful to me. I never thought of it that way. I do not have the quiet downtime in the evening or the early mornings any more; my oldest has a neurological disorder and wakes up constantly in the early morning from 4am until we allow her to get up for the day at 6:20. I also have a 1.5 year old who has *just* started being a consistent sleeper. None of this means I should not read the scriptures (I probably need even MORE guidance) but I’m always waiting for quiet and so that makes reading sessions few and far between.
But! You are so right. Seeing me read the scriptures is just letting them in on this part of my life. This is how they will learn that this is important to us. If I don’t absorb the meaning of every word because a toddler is babbling in my ear, at least I am in a position to receive inspiration and feel the Spirit.
I love your website and all the inspiration that comes with it. This article has really hit home with me and I plan to put many of the items to practice right away. I am so excited about this – especially with the school year coming. I know some of the supplies I want to get aren’t for the kids, but me to give them later 🙂
Thank you for posting this. I am grateful.
I LOVE this so much. This is all so true. I am going to use part of this for my Relief Society lesson on opening the channels of revelation. I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for posting this and for your wonderful example!
I homeschool my daughter, and every morning we study the scriptures as a family, then Dad goes to work. She pulls out her math books and computer, I pull out my scripture journals. I am there to help, if I’m needed, but she sees me really studying what we just read together. And I need that time- maybe more than food, I just feel weak without it.
A friend recommended the Daily Audio Bible (www.dailyaudiobible.com). I bought the app on my iPhone and listen to Brian Hardin read a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverb everyday. Over the corse of a year, you go through the entire Bible with a community of people praying for each other! Brian’s insights and reflections are so helpful. I started in November 2012, and am thrilled that I have nearly made it through the entire Bible for the first time in my life. It’s awesome and I highly recommend it! Amen!
What an inspiring article, its just what I needed to hear.
Thank you for reminding me that my children need to see me doing scripture study , so they can emulate my example.
It has given me new focus & determination to do this for my boys as well as me.
PS can you tell me how I can pin this please? Your pin takes me to your boards & I don’t have a pin on my ‘tablet’ to pin it.
Thanks for your amazing articles. Keep up the hard work.
A lady in one of my former wards mentioned that she uses the first part of her day as she does tithing, take time for the Lord off the top – not the bottom. She wakes up and drops to her knees to pray and then opens the scriptures to read – no matter how much time she might spend in them. I loved that.
I also love the website of a woman of another faith, Kat Lee, who blogs at inspiredtoaction.com and hellomornings.com. Her post about maximizing her mornings and her podcasts have been so helpful for encouraging me to put God first and to “wake up FOR my children, instead of TO them.” I’m not perfect at it and she doesn’t claim to be either. I love that.
I appreciate your last suggestion to just keep going on the journey. Even if you fall and miss a day or days, keep going.
There was one day this last week when I knew for sure I wouldn’t be reading my scriptures. I had stayed up until 4 a.m. doing heaven knows what but I was beat that morning. I opened my phone to either the Gospel Library app or my Mormon channel app and selected the Book of Mormon. I randomly picked a chapter and clicked “audio” so I could listen to the scriptures while I laid in bed. I listened to one chapter, fell asleep and then woke up for a few more verses. Perfection? Nah. Getting a gold star for scripture study? Probably not. But I needed to “get my head screwed on straight” as Clay Christianson says in his ‘Everyday Missionary’ book. If I can just get the Lord’s words in my head first thing in the morning, my day goes better. Smoothly? Not always. But better. I get an added measure of strength.
And I ask my kids to pray for me.
Other days I don’t get it in first thing. I keep a copy of the scriptures in every room so wherever I may sit down at any time of day, there are scriptures ready. I also keep a CD of the scriptures – whatever one I’m currently studying – in the car and on the road I listen to it instead of the radio.
I can’t do it exactly right every day, so I just do my best. Sometimes my best is pretty paltry comparatively, but I’m grateful the Lord doesn’t compare, he just looks at my heart and knows it better than I do.
Great ideas. Thank you for sharing. I especially love the idea if studying for your children.
Love your tips! Thanks for sharing!
#jackie jan 15,2014
Thank you for creating this site. It help me I felt horrible because I didn’t study like other people. I am a mom of 4 and divorced. I am also an assistant Pastor and in college. At 40 I ask myself why did I take on college but this site helps me. I would get up early to study n it doesn’t work because I’m to tired. I see y it is important my kids see me study every time n the scripture journal is an awesome idea thank u thank u thank u I am so grateful for you sharing. I can study during the day n get some sleep when it’s quiet I’m lacking sleep lol. It’s ok to study while the kids around I was told I need to study during my quiet time. Making that list in morning is a good idea it helps you balance your life.
Thank you so much for sharing Jackie! Being a mother is a constant challenge of balancing things and I am so happy to have come up with some things that help you! Good luck with all that is on your plate!
Thank u thank u thank u this helps me stay focused. I have alot on my plate with 4 kids,ministry,and school. That idea to make a list for the day will help me balance. I now know that I don’t have to feel guilty if I fall asleep while studying. I wait till I have quiet time n I will fall asleep. My quiet time requires sleep which is one of my desires my me time SLEEP!! Lol. I know the importance of my children seeing study it’s a great example.
Thank u this,site is awesome!!
I love everything you wrote and second it all!! My friend told me today about your blog. I was surprised at how similar our scriptures look. I did mine on the mission in 2005-2006. I have title pages too!! and many other similar things too!!
This is so perfect. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better mom by being a better scriptorian! I love this post!
Thank you so much!!!!
“Don’t wait for quite time” was a revelation. As a mom of 2 my days are hectic and loud, and busy. I often skip my reading because I figure it’s not worth it if I can’t even hear myself think. I hadn’t thought about the benefits of just making it habit anyway, and the example that it will set for my family. Yesss!
Also, that last one hit home for me. My husband is great with names, dates, places, and history. It’s easier for me to understand the moral of the story. The principles. Who’s who, what they’re saying and where they’re saying it is a different story. But I would like to one day be a scriptorian of sorts! I would love to have an in-depth knowledge of them. Thank you for inspiring so many to keep studying the Lord’s word.
Thanks so much for posting this! It really helped me in my own life. I randomly found this blog post and it was an answer to some prayers! 🙂 I actually wrote about my experience and mentioned your blog here: http://toknowwhatialreadyknew.blogspot.com/2014/10/then-will-i-make-weak-things-become.html 🙂 THANK YOU!