Lately I've been reflecting on my walk with God. I'll be real with you - God and I are going through a bit of a transition right now as I'm figuring out this whole "motherhood + discipleship" thing and ohhhh my is it a bit different. Between hormones, exhaustion, a dependent little person, and to be quite honest - my own sinful nature - finding a rhythm with my Heavenly Father is challenging. I've been fighting for it with prayer walks and new-mom devotional books, but it's certainly been an adjustment. My mom-friends keep telling me that this transition is normal and that it will get easier (um, yes please!). Because the truth is, I am loving motherhood and all it's spit-up glory - but I miss my rhythm with God.
I'm reminded of verses like Psalm 42:2
And Psalm 84:1-2, 10
Oh how I need God! Oh how I'm desperate for God. But when those free moments come and the baby takes an extra long nap and I'm left with a bit of free time - how easy it is to flip on the television, browse through social media, and just.waste.time. Now don't get me wrong - I don't think that's always the worst thing - moms need time to relax too (and shower, can I get an amen?!) - but all too often, I choose self-refreshment over God-centered refreshment. And that self-refreshment never lasts long enough and certainly doesn't sustain me.
Just last week, Jesse and I went to Crane's Beach and it reminded me of how precious my walk with God really is. We first went to Crane's Beach on a beautiful summer day when we were in the peak of infertility. I was so unbelievably sad that when J found that this beach made me happy - he bought us a year long parking pass on the spot and agreed to take me every week that summer. It was the sweetest, most impulsive, most expensive decision ever! That beach became my sanctuary and the prayers I prayed up and down those sandy shores will stick with me forever. Last week, we finally took Rosie to the place we prayed for her over and over and it was magic.
Being back at Crane's Beach transported me to such a special time in my relationship with God but it reminded me of something else -- I don't want the best years of my spiritual walk to be behind me. My future with God can look different - different is fine - but it can't look worse. I never want to say that my best years as a disciple of Jesus were before I had children. Because to be perfectly honest with you, sleep-deprivation isn't exactly making me more Christ-like. I need more of God, not less! Motherhood is exposing jagged edges in my heart and character that desperately need to be smoothed and softened by God. And yet so often, motherhood and marriage - both incredible gifts from God, can easily (albeit sneakily!) become our excuses for not drawing near to Him! Sisters, this should not be. I want to be gentle with myself during this season - after all, Isaiah says that God "gently leads those who have young," but I also don't want to neglect my Maker. I need his help more than ever!
So maybe my times with God can't be quite as long in these infant days, and maybe I can't hop in the car and hit the beach to pour out my soul to the Lord - but I can absolutely do a few things. I can turn off the television, I can put my phone on "Do Not Disturb," and I can pull out my journal and my Bible and meet with God.
And if someone could remind me of this post when I'm tired tomorrow that would be great ;)
To all my mama friends out there -- here a few things I've found that have helped me the last few months (If you have suggestions, please pass them along! I am so new at this):
- Devotional Books: It's been so helpful for me to have a ready-made Bible study everyday to meditate on. I wish I had the energy to create my own Bible studies but I'm having to accept that I don't and that it's okay to absorb other people's wisdom! I've read the books Gently Led and My Morning Cup and they've been wonderful.
- Simple verses, simple meditations: I may not be able to do an in-depth study on the Holy Spirit at this point in my Christian walk but I can pick out a short verse and meditate on it, consider it, talk about it and let it marinate in my heart all day.
- Podcasts: I've been listening to setapartgirl on iTunes and I love it. If I'm not able to sit down and read or if I'm nursing and needing to focus spiritually, I find that listening to sermons or spiritual podcasts are so helpful. Setapartgirl podcasts are Biblically based messages that last about 15 minutes and they really pack a punch for me. I've also listened to Timothy Keller and Francis Chan. It's fun to find new ones!
- Pray with others. When I have friends over, it's easy to just chat and pass the time - but I've found that integrating prayer into my times with other women just makes us that much closer and makes our time so much more meaningful! Why not bring prayer into my fellowship time! Jesse and I also try to go on prayer walks together a few times a week. It allows us to connect with one another, get some exercise, and most importantly - connect with God.
- Pray while nursing. So many moms have suggested this to me and I have to be honest - sometimes this goes better for me than others. But I do think it's a great practical - after all, it's something we new moms find ourselves doing a LOT!
- Ask your husband for help. This one is big for me - I ask Jesse if he can watch the baby for a little while so I can get some special time with God. Sometimes I forget to ask or feel guilty asking - but J is more than happy to take RJ for a little while so I can connect with God! I just need to make my needs known.
Here's to finding a rhythm with our God in each new stage!