Is it possible to pursue spiritual disciplines during the trenches of motherhood?
This is a valid question, and one I've often wondered. Motherhood is so all-consuming. It's not a job we go to and then come home and forget about; it's a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week kind of gig. As our kids get older and we add more to our brood, we see our personal me-time get squeezed out to the margins more and more.
One of my biggest takeaways from the Embracing Self-Care series, was how important my spiritual self-care is though. The better I tend to my soul, the better mom I am and the more at peace I feel. I wasn't surprised by this revelation-- it makes sense to me-- but I was encouraged to make my relationship with the Lord more and more of a priority.
Last week I shared a few books that have been teaching me about self-care more and one of them is Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller, which documents the author's journey of pursuing ten different spiritual disciplines over the course of a year. I went into it knowing that God had been pressing on my heart the need to be more disciplined and consistent in my prayer life.
"When Julia Roller discovered that her spiritual growth had been stunted by the busyness of life with her toddler, she embarked on a yearlong journey through ten spiritual disciplines: prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, silence, worship, fasting, service, and celebration. As she focused on each discipline, she discovered practical ways to observe them—even in the chaos of her every day."
I knew God wanted to grow me in the area of prayer, so I wasn't surprised when He spoke to me through Julia's book:
"So many of us spend more time feeling guilty about not praying that we actually spend praying. What if, every time we thought about God or prayer, instead of feeling guilty about not doing it more, we just prayed?"
So that's something I'm trying to incorporate into my days. More falling into prayer in the rhythm of daily life, and more praying and less thinking and talking about praying.
The thing I loved the most about Mom Seeks God was how real Julia is with her readers. She lays it all out there. It's not a book that documents only her successes and lessons learned well, it's a testimony of someone who's broken, who fails, just like me, someone who swims along with me in oceans of grace, and embraces that this motherhood thing is a journey where God shapes us.
As I read through her book, I felt like I was having an authentic conversation with a fellow mom friend. I wasn't being preached at; I was walking alongside the author through her ups and downs, through the real life stuff of seeking God in the midst of life.
And of course, the biggest takeaway I had was that it's not just about adding spiritual disciplines to our life, bogging ourselves down with more than we can handle or restricting ourselves from everything "fun."
"Motherhood is a privilege and in itself a way of enriching my relationship with God. If I sit around all day worrying about not having enough time to study the Bible or to pray in a quiet place, I completely miss the point. My spiritual life is right here in the dirty diapers and the school lunches and the sleepless nights. God is using all this stuff to form me, and motherhood in itself is about as effective a spiritual tool as I know."
Ain't that the truth? I know for me, God is definitely using the challenges, and the blessings, too, to draw me closer to himself. It's always nice to know we're not alone. If you're in the trenches of motherhood and trying to find space for your relationship with God, I'm with you, mama, and so is Julia, in her book Mom Seeks God.
The wonderful thing about God is simply that He meets us right where we're at. We don't have to clean up our act (or our house) before we invite Him over. He's right with us, with His ministering truth and His abundant grace.
How has motherhood affected your walk with God? Has it challenged your spiritual life? Made you stronger? I'd love to hear a snippet of your story.
Affiliate links included. Thanks to LitFuse for the review copy of this book!