I remember their faces as I complained about being tired as a single, working woman. It didn't matter that I wasn't used to the 9-5 life or that I was very involved in disciple-making ministry. It wasn't that they didn't believe I was tired; these mothers didn't believe it was an excuse to neglect my responsibilities.
Now that I'm a mom, I know that there will always be a good reason to not spend time with God. Our hectic schedules leave little room for what's most important. In every season, we need new strategies for fight for what matters most to us.
The season of mothering babes is no different.
So let me stop and make my point very plain: You can abide in Christ as a new mommy. You can sow to your relationship with God in a real and personal way as a busy mama. And you know how you do it? One crazy day a time.
Since having two babies under two, I have come to realize that it is possible for me to nourish my soul in Christ on a regular basis. However, it is impossible to approach soul nourishment the way I have in every other season.
I would rather not admit that I made God small, but there is no way around it. I didn't believe He was big enough to break through the fog of constant need and weariness. It didn't seem possible to desire him more than sleep, my Facebook feed, or a movie. In order for me learn how to pursue God as a new mommy, I had to decimate a few boxes that I had put him in.
The idea of a quiet time had to go. If I waited until I had minutes of silence to read the Bible or pray to God, I would never do it. Soul nourishment would vanish from my regular life.
The notion that everything needed to be "like so" to have sisters over for fellowship needed to be vanquished immediately. I firmly believe that fellowship is a means of grace in the believer's life (Hebrews 10:24-25), and if the only way to get it is to welcome them into my mess, then so be it.
Lastly, I had to completely obliterate my belief that mommy blogs and podcasts are lame. I didn't understand them before I was a mom because I wasn't a mom, but now mommy podcasts play a crucial role in keeping my mind in the right place during the week. They remind me of who I am and whose I am in those times during the day when there's no one else around to encourage or challenge me.
If you are still in one of these boxes, let the box crushing begin! That's going to be your first step in the right direction. Progress starts here.
But listening to a podcast can't be part of what it means to abide in Christ, can it?
Sure it can! I find it's best to define abiding in Christ as doing whatever it takes to stay connected to Jesus. Scroll to the end of this post for a list of my recommendations.
Here are some additional ideas:
1. Read comprehensively whenever you can. And by whenever you can, I definitely mean stealing minutes here and there during the day. I call this, stealing moments with Jesus. For me, this has looked like reading while I nurse, during breakfast, during play time (after I've engaged in play time myself a bit), and, sometimes while using the bathroom. Yep, I said it, and I'm not taking it back! It's looked like choosing the Bible at the start of my son's nap over putting in another load of laundry or taking care of something else. Even if I have to do something else, I figure that it will not hurt for me to spend the first 15 minutes with the Lord.
2. Listen whenever you can. I honestly do not listen to the Bible much, but I know this has helped many other women. I typically listen to podcasts at the times others listen to the Bible.
3. Pray aloud. There's often too much going on in my head for me to pray internally and sense that I am praying to a real God who listens to me and answers. I pray while changing diapers, making breakfast, and playing with my little ones. Often, when I finish praying, my 20 month old, says "Amen." I literally have praying aloud as a daily goal in my planner. It's been that helpful.
4. Memorize Scripture. When you feel like you can do nothing else, memorize Scripture. Work on a passage that will help you remember what is most important, that will stir your heart up to pursue the things of God. If you have an iPhone, check out the Verses app.
5. Invite a friend over to visit with you and your little ones. If there's a mother with children around the same age, welcome her into your home for a playdate. I didn't know many moms when I had my babies. It's been neat to make new friends through this simple act of hospitality. And if you need a tip on how to take the conversation into spiritual matters, simply ask, "How can I pray for you this week?"
6. Go to church. You can't make every Sunday, small group, or women's meeting, but be honest with yourself and attend what you can. Isolating yourself will only lead to stronger boxes; these can take years to crush.
7. Embrace quiet time when you can, but resist relying on a devotional book to engage your heart. Go straight to the Scriptures. Need help? If you haven't subscribed to the Abiding Ladies Newsletter and received a free devotional guide, subscribe today or get "Ponder: A Simple Guide to Time Alone with God" for next to nothing here.
There's plenty more I could share like listening to sermons or audio books, but these have helped me the most. Like every birth story and every child of yours is different, every woman is different too. What has helped me may not serve you as much.
But, tell me, what has helped you? Leave a comment and encourage another sister!
Having a hard time? Comment with a prayer request.
We aren't going to do this perfectly, Ladies. I believe God is honored and glorified by imperfect mothers clinging to the generous grace of our Perfect, Loving Father in one of the most challenging seasons of our lives.
My favorite podcasts:
Mom Struggling Well
She Proves Faithful