We have finally developed a bedtime routine. My oldest will be 3 in just a couple of months, but ever since he was born we have had, shall we say, a fluid schedule. It’s not what I like and I’ve struggled to be okay with it and remind myself that it is only a season of my life. And it was only a season. We have moved on to a more sane and comfortable time.
Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about seasons of life (though that is a great idea for a blog post…I have been through several seasons in my four years of marriage). Today I was reflecting on bedtime routines for my little guys.
Here’s our bedtime routine:
I have the boys start picking up their toys while I wash the dinner dishes. Then I help them finish. I like them to have all their toys put away before they go to bed so they get in the habit now. I don’t expect them to do it all by themselves, though I do expect them to start the process. Once everything is put in its proper place, I have the boys get their pajamas out of their drawer, have Justice use the bathroom, and then pick out 2 books they want me to read to them.
Then I put on their pajamas and we sit together in the rocker in their bedroom while I read them their two books. After I’ve finished the books, I get Justice settled into his bed. This usually involves a good amount of settling…he has to have his sippy cup on the little blue chair he keeps by his bed, the stuffed animal he calls “woof”, and his two “new pillows” on his bed – one on top of his blankets and one under his head. He is a bit particular and opinionated about how everything has to be “just so”.
And then I sit in the rocking chair.
I hold Samuel until he falls asleep. When Justice was a baby, we started to sing to him as he was falling asleep. The tradition continues now, with me singing until Samuel drifts off to dreamland.
As I was sitting there singing a few weeks ago, I realized that I was only singing words. My thoughts went somewhat like this: “How many more songs do you need to hear before you go to sleep? If it takes you much longer, I’m going to run out of songs! Why don’t you just hurry up already and go to sleep?!?!?” I must admit that at the end of the day my patience is a bit more thin than at other times. I look forward to the quiet moments after the kids are asleep and I have a little time to decompress or spend time with my hubby before I go to sleep.
And sometimes my children seem desperate to keep me from those relaxing moments as long as possible.
But then I had a revelation.
I sing my children old hymns that I grew up with. The words are so rich and powerful, carrying a message that transcends time. And I was sitting in my rocking chair, singing the words but not embracing their meaning. At times I was on auto-pilot, not even registering what I was singing.
I made a conscious decision to relax and sing those blessed hymns with reverence in my heart and worship as I did so. Once I did this, my time singing to my children has turned into more of a worship session than a bedtime routine. The words soothe my soul and revere my Maker.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth / Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide / Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow / Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
I reflect on His blessings.
They extend so far beyond the material things that make our lives nice. So much more than food and clothing and a home and warm fire. They are eternal life and salvation; family and friends; marriage and memories. I am so blessed. And as my children drift off to sleep, I reflect deeply on the bounty that is mine.
There is a Redeemer / Jesus God’s own Son / Precious Lamb of God, Messiah / Holy One
These words come out of my mouth and my mind is drawn back to my childhood and hearing those words from our treasured Keith Green CD. Oh, what the memories it invokes and the worship it stirs in my heart!
A time for praise.
Putting my babies to sleep has become less of a chore and more of my personal devotion. Even if I haven’t read my scripture for the day or taken time to reflect on a devotional thought, at the end of the day I have this great opportunity to open my heart to the Lord and worship Him through singing. And I am so much more fulfilled as I worship instead of chafe.
Once Samuel’s squirming stops and he drifts off to sleep, I lay him in his crib. I sit next to Justice and pray for him and then turn on his lullaby elephant that projects stars onto their bedroom ceiling. My heart has been quieted through my time of worship and my prayers for my sons are more meaningful and rich. As I leave their room I am grateful for the reminder to be thankful and spend time in worship.
How are you able to worship God? Is there a specific, set-aside time in the day when you do? Is your child’s bedtime routine a time for devotion? Let me know in the comments!