Devotion for Today - When Devotions Are Messy and Difficult

When Devotions are Messy

Trying to fit in a devotion for today can be pretty complicated. In fact, for some of us, it can be messy and difficult.

I remember when my girls were little and I felt like my devotions time was haphazard at best. I remember hoping that as my girls got older, I’d be able to have the beautiful devotion time that my heart longed for… or rather, my heart felt like it needed to make devotions “real”.

I’d heard about these beautiful devotions… quite time with coffee and a myriad of colorful markers for journaling in a cutesy notebook while music played softly in the background and candles cast a soft flow on the scene. A Bible perfectly opened and the newest women’s study book ready for 45 uninterrupted minutes of quiet time. Something so perfectly instagramable and blogable that I’d remember it for days to come.

Well, my girls are not toddlers anymore and devotion time is still messy.

If I try to take an Instagram picture, it has to be of just a verse or just my notebook page with my messy handwriting because literally the whole table before me is a crazy blur of toys, crafts, books, used kleenex and empty gum wrappers.

Devotion for Today - When Devotions Are Messy and Difficult

I try to play a worship song over the loud singing of Abby in her room or the obnoxious sound coming from whatever app my girls are playing at the time.

I try to quietly sit in the midst of #goodwingirls chaos… legos falling, crafts spilling, girls yelling, and all around silly noises of children enjoying our home together.

I even try to sneak around early in the morning before they wake up so that I can have some quiet time alone.

Nope. They wake up. By the time I sip my first taste of coffee and hit play on my youtube worship mix, they are up and ready for the day.

And I have to wonder…

Does this kind of beautiful devotion time really exist in the life of a busy, working, living, breathing woman?

Yes. Thankfully, yes. Those times, when they come your way, are sweet and precious and incredibly valuable. Women’s retreats, rare afternoons at home when the kids are away, Saturday mornings when the kids are playing outside, a prayer night at church. When the beautiful devotion times happen, hold them close and cherish the moment.

But in the scope of real lives being lived every single day, that expectation is too much. The thought that for devotions to be “real” they must include all those beautiful elements is a weight we were never meant to carry. That if devotion time is sporadic and messy and interrupted and slightly chaotic that it doesn’t “count” …

Well, I’m here to say the devotion for today does count.

The little moments of time laid at the altar of Jesus’ feet are precious in His sight. He loves that in the scope of a busy, messy day, you would take a few minutes to regroup, recharge and refocus your heart.

One verse scribbled on a napkin, one little devotion read on your phone, one song played on the radio… little moments, that when spread throughout the day, create a beauty of its own. A beauty of time spent with Jesus.

Time that is just a valuable, just as fulfilling, just as memorable as the beautiful devotional times we long to have each day.

And, honestly, what is the deeper beauty and value that is found in having your devotional time in the midst of the messiness around you?

Your kids see it.

Your family sees it.

Your husband sees it.

God sees your devotion for today.

They see the woman you are, the woman you are striving to be and the way you are allowing God into the messiness to mold you, shape you, correct you and love you. Letting God in and seeking Him through a moment spent at the table with your Bible… and spilled coffee next to a sadly unclothed Barbie doll with little tiny annoying lego pieces at your feet.

I remember one time specifically… me. Sitting in the kitchen right after breakfast, the dishes still dirty on the counters next to me. I was trying to do devotions before getting ready to go somewhere. I sat, reading the Word, letting God speak to me and I was crying. Tears rolling down my cheeks as God spoke… and my girls walked in. The inevitable “Mommy, why are you crying?” and the explanation that I was reading God’s Word and He was speaking to me… a moment more valuable than if my girls had never interrupted my “beautiful” moment with Jesus. So much more beautiful than if I’d waited to be fully alone when the kitchen was clean and a candle was burning and music was playing.

You see, in devotions, the goal is not perfection… thinking that by perfect beauty, God is more welcome and you are more likely to meet with Him. Really, you are inviting Him to join you in the realness of your home, your life, your work, your space. You are welcoming Him at your table. You are showing your family how to usher in His presence, welcome His Holy Spirit and ask Him to be a part of your day. You are teaching your heart how to quiet itself before Him in the midst of the craziness around you.

You are inviting Him in because HE is what is perfect and beautiful about devotional time not the cute journal or the yummy smelling candle.

The journal and the candle are for us.

The moments set aside for God to talk to Him, read of Him and hear from Him are what is beautiful in God’s sight.

Are those wonderfully created, super cherished, very valuable moments with music and candles wrong? Oh… no. They are refreshing and sweet and I love them just as much as you.

But in the everyday busyness of our lives, the realness of our lives… let God meet you right where you are.

Devotion for Today - When Devotions Are Messy and Difficult

Let your family see you worship at His feet with markers and stickers and gooey playdough pieces around your Bible and your pen as you pour our your heart to Him. Spend time with the One who can see through the mess right to your heart. The One who cherishes the moment and accepts your offering as a sweet aroma in the heavens. The One who loves that you set aside your busy schedule to spend time with His Word and in His presence.

Let the beauty of that time soak into your heart and refresh you throughout the day.

And don’t be afraid to snap a picture of what God is teaching you to share with a friend even if the moment is messy and coffee is spilling on the counter next to you.

This post is also being shared by Jenifer Metzger at Sweet Blessings for a 5 Days Series about Women in God’s Word. Be sure to hop over and read the other posts that are included in this series!

Day 1:  When Devotions Are Messy, by Jenilee

Day 2:  What does #nofilter Bible Time Look Like For Me? by, Melanie

Day 3: When Quiet Times Are Intimidating, by, Traci Michele

Day 4: Just Jesus And Me, by, Shari Miller

Day 5: Back To Basics, by, Jenifer Metzger


Devotion for Today - When Devotions Are Messy and Difficult

We would also love for you to share your devotional time… messy or beautiful… using the hashtag #WomenInGodsWord

We can’t wait to see your posts!

For more from me on devotions, check out A Women’s Guide to Simple Devotions.

If you are starting a devotional time for the first time or the first time in a long time, here is a post I wrote about asking God to let me rediscover Him.

Feel free to share your messy devotion stories in the comments! What does your devotion for today look like?



  1. I cant’t leave this page without saying nothing,It’s very inspirational for starters like me to devote my little time to our Lord God..Lord Jesus wants to tell you jenilee and everyone here on this page ,Christ loves you .God bless you more everyone and may the grace of God be with us all.In the Name of The Father ,The Son ,and The Holy Spirit.Amen

  2. ‘So clasp thy hand in Mine, and loose not thine hold. For thou canst not tell what great thing I may do for thee through some smallest happening.
    Thine every hair is numbered, and the most incidental occurrences of the most ordinary day I delight to choose and use to reveal to thee My earnestness in helping thee.’
    ~ from “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts

    Love your writings Jenilee.

  3. Yes, I know what you mean. I had one period of time when my kids were a bit older, and I got up early enough before them that I could sit at my dining room table with my Bible/ journal/ devotion book. I really treasured that time, even though sometimes all I could do would be to read my devotional book & Bible on my Kindle because our electricity was out & it wasn’t light outside yet. 🙂 That was what seems like many transitions ago, and I haven’t been able to work in that uninterrupted time again. What I am able to do now is solitary exercise- biking or walking. I don’t like mornings and I don’t like exercise in general, but now I look forward to that time to clear my thoughts, praise God, pray, think through my day/week.

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