During the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I spent six weeks living with a missionary family in France. It was my first time in Europe and I loved every moment. From the cobbled streets, to the bustling city, to the fields of lavender in the countryside, France was just as romantic and picturesque as I had imagined. And the food, oh the food was irresistible. Almost every corner hosted a bakery or cafe, and on my walk to work each morning, I would stop and stare at the displays of pastries behind the counter. Smells of freshly baked bread, spits of lamb roasting for the shwarmas that would be eaten at lunch time, chocolate, coffee, and other smells I couldn’t place, had me dreaming of owning a restaurant one day, or at least attending culinary school.
My hosts introduced me to authentic vinaigrette, pain au chocolat, Raclette, and a variety of other delicacies. All of it was delicious, but one meal stands out above the rest. At the end of my visit, we drove about an hour from their city to a neighboring town, to visit a restaurant owned by a friend of theirs. As a farewell to me, they treated me to the finest meal I’ve ever eaten.
We had appetizers, salad, bread, a main course–mine was roasted quail–platters of cheese, and dessert. I’ll never forget the way the quail was presented on my plate or the beautiful design of hardened caramel that served as a woven canopy over my chocolate mousse. What was surprising to me, though, was the portion size of each course. As an American, I was accustomed to more food than I could eat, typically bringing home a doggy bag full of leftovers. This is not the case in France. Portions are small. Often the plate is much larger than your food, but it’s decorated so beautifully that you almost don’t want to eat it. You end up eating less food, but you leave completely satisfied from the richness of both the flavor and appearance.
In the postpartum days of the past three months, reading and studying my Bible has felt like the small portions on my French plate from years ago. Adjusting to newborn sleep patterns and learning to juggle my now six children, have brought on exhaustion like I’ve never experienced before. Although I’m generally one to wake up before the sun — and everyone else in my home — getting out of bed in the morning has been hard. By the time I get up, so are the kids. Those quiet moments I have come to love over the years have been replaced with toys at my feet, children who need help in the bathroom, and breakfast that needs to be on the table. This means that my Bible reading often looks like reading one verse over and over again, or starting to write thoughts in my journal, only to be interrupted by the needs of my family. Dates on the page of my journal now span two, or three days, because I’ve had to step away and start again on the same passage the next day.
The temptation during this season of life is to throw up my hands, close my Bible, and say it’s just not worth it. If I can’t have my perfect setting, the quiet I long for, and the ability to mark up my Bible with questions and notes, then what good is it going to do me to try and read God’s Word in the midst of the chaos? I’ll just wait for another season of life when I can study to my heart’s content, without distraction.
There will never be a perfect time — whatever that looks like to you — to study your Bible. Right now, and for every right now to come, the Bible is exactly what you need in the midst of your chaos.
God’s Word is an exquisite feast for your soul.
Your heart can be changed by reading one verse.
Your mind can be renewed as you meditate on a phrase from the Psalms.
You can be motivated to walk in love and obedience to Christ by reading one of Paul’s prayers to the early church.
Hebrews tells us that God’s word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” When we approach our Bible reading with a belief in this truth, we will experience a work of the Holy Spirit in our souls.
You might not be able to feast on large amounts of biblical content right now, but you can walk away from a small meal of Truth with your soul completely satisfied from both the richness and delight of God’s Word.
Practical Tips for Postpartum Bible Reading:
- Download a Bible app on your phone and listen or read while you nurse (I used this one).
- Work your way through the book of James. I found this both practically helpful and spiritually enriching during those emotionally intense days after having a baby.
- Write a verse on an index card or a phrase on your hand to meditate on throughout the day.