I received an email this week from a new mom struggling to find time with God. I’m pretty sure she and I aren’t the only ones (since I completely understood where she was coming from), so I thought I’d post about this topic here to help any other mom’s out there looking for help in this area too. (This response has been edited and expanded.)
Bad news?- The way your relationship with God used to be may never be the same again.
Good news?- You can still grow in your relationship with God!
Expectations are what makes this area so difficult. Don’t expect yourself to have the capacity to do the same things you used to do right away. Whatever “time with God” looked like for you before will have to change a little (or a lot!) depending on what you used to do.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have time alone with Him, it just has to be more flexible in the early stages (especially in the early weeks when the baby is eating every 2-3 hours and you’re not sure if it’s 2am or 2pm!). You may not have much alone time for a while, and when you do there will be 50,000 things that you will need/want to do when you have it.
At South Bay Church this past Sunday, Pastor David spoke about spiritual disciplines. His definition for spiritual disciplines: “activities to help us become more like Christ”.
If the activities aren’t working then they stop serving their purpose. The purpose of reading the Bible isn’t to stuff our minds with more knowledge or see how many chapters we can read a day, it is to transform our lives. If it’s not, then re-think what you are doing. Instead of reading (and falling asleep), maybe listening to Scripture or worship music is better for you right now. You may just spend time meditating on a single verse allowing your heart and mind to fully grasp it’s meaning for you today. It may seem small, but that small verse has the power to transform how you mother that sweet baby.
I believe that sometimes as a mom, your “spiritual activity” is nursing and/or taking care of your baby. I don’t think it’s less spiritual just because it doesn’t involve a Bible and journal. To have a quiet time alone sounds like heaven to me, but if I’m neglecting my kids so I can have time with God, does that bring honor to Jesus? Of course not. I’m sure in those moments, He’s up there shouting, “go take care of your kids, I can wait!”.
Making time to love and care for your baby is what God’s called us to do as a mom. We are called to be present in our kid’s lives. To love, nurture, and train them. The more we invest, the more rewarded and blessed we will be. Those rewards just may even come with more quality of the time we do have. You may get a full 15 minutes of good, solid time as opposed to an hour you used to have (but may have mentally not been there the whole time.)
I find that whenever I work out my schedule to have more time with God, the schedule changes and I’m back at where I started. I’ve finally learned not to beat myself up for it, but to focus more on the relational aspect.
- What are my thoughts focused on?
- Am I listening to Him?
- Am I growing closer to Him?
- Do I go to Him first or am I trying to do things on my own?
- Am I obeying Him?
Being able to answer yes to those types of questions gives me confidence in how I’m doing or challenges me in ways I can improve. (And there will always be room for improvement.)
The most important thing is that you care about putting God first and desire to have a growing relationship with Him. When you’ve done that, He will speak to you in ways you can hear- He probably already is more than you realize. Just make a point to notice. Even if it’s while you’re changing a diaper or cleaning up spilled milk.