How often do we read without really comprehending? I have to wonder because it seems that when someone asks us what we read about in our devotions, we often can't remember. Or perhaps we have a vague sense of the passage, but we can't really articulate the gist of it with words. (With means we didn't really understand it to begin with.)
Digesting the Word of God is essential for joy in motherhood. But between fatigue and busyness, accomplishing this feat becomes difficult. How do we do it when all odds seem against its success?
One practice I have found very helpful is reading out loud. It seems the ancients almost always read out loud. I recently read an interesting and somewhat humorous chapter from Alberto Manguel's book, A History of Reading, entitled "The Silent Readers". In it, he outlines the development of silent reading in a world permeated by spoken word. You can find it online here. I am convinced that if everyone read out loud we would retain and comprehend a great deal more than we do reading 'in our heads'. Probably largely due to the fact that we we would be forced to read more slowly. Also, when reading out loud, we not only see the words, but also hear them. And we are much less likely to have our thoughts drift in another direction. I find I get much more enjoyment from reading out loud. (Although maybe it drives my husband crazy...)
There are many other helpful tools to help us digest Scripture. But during certain stages in life, these good things may make us feel burdened or overwhelmed. We must be wary of feeling guilty or self-righteous when comparing ourselves to some arbitrary standard.
It is better to be able to anticipate, even a brief time, when our anxieties and burdens are lifted. When we clearly see the beauty of our Saviour in the Word, and our souls are able to rest in him. Here we are reoriented to truth. Sin is exposed and dealt with, and any false guilt or anxiety is done away with. In God's Word, we see the frailty of this life and the Sovereignty of our God. We remember to fear no man, and we fall into deeper adoration of our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. And we know the wonder of what it is to be loved so perfectly by One who is above all others.