It can be challenging to maintain your spiritual walk with God while mothering a houseful. The daily demands of taking care of an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, and several older kids, took all my energy. Plus with night time feedings or pregnancy interrupting my sleep, keeping my walk with God vibrant took some effort. But the Lord taught me a few things during those years.
I came to realize that the children God gave me were not in opposition to having a relationship with Him. If God blessed me with these children, then He would draw near to me and give me a sense of His presence. I reasoned, God would not give me children, while at the same time, deny me the capacity to maintain a close relationship with Him. So I realized there had to be an organic unity of being a mom and all that is involved with that, and also having a vibrant, energized relationship with my Lord. Please understand, there were many days that I felt very weak in my own strength. And during those times Jesus came to me, held me up, filled me with grace, and helped me to be still and know that He is God. When I was weak, then He was strong. If I looked to myself, I was found wanting. But if I looked to Him, He was able to uphold one tired, worn out Mama in HIs loving arms.
I do have a funny story about trying to engage in worship as a mom of a huge family. With Todd being a pastor, he was up front every Sunday and I was in the front pew with all our kids, encouraging them to worship, training them to sit quietly and listen, etc. I remember one Sunday I made the innocent mistake of closing my eyes and bowing my head to pray. Well next thing I heard was a loud pitter patter of feet making a mad dash down the wooden pew. I chuckled as I caught the culprit and thought to myself, “Lord you must have a sense of humor!” I learned my lesson: after that I kept my eyes open during prayer.
I do believe God gives special grace to Mama’s if we seek Him with all our hearts. There were many many days I had my devotions or prayer with a baby and toddler in the bed with me. That’s about the closest I came to time alone with God during those years! I remember my friend Jane was determined to have time alone with God. She had a son, Kyle, who was an early riser at 6:00 am. She decided to get up at 5:30 so she can have time alone with God before Kyle made his appearance. Well that morning Kyle woke up at 5:30. She said, “Well I’ll wake up at 5:00 am tomorrow because I want time alone with God. You can guess what happened, Kyle woke up at 5:00 am!! She finally gave in and realized that Kyle would have to learn to do quiet activities while mommy was having her devotions..
As hard and exhausting as it was, I truly felt the Lord drawing near, giving me a joy in Him, and a joy in my duty. His word became my meat and drink each day. I would often pray, “Lord, unless You go before me this day, giving me the grace and help I need to do all that is before me, I may as well just stay in this bed because in my strength I WILL fail. But if You, Jehovah God, show me the path to walk today, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:1
I didn’t have a ton of time to have devotions, but I fought to have a few moments to draw near to God. Also i got in the habit of praying throughout my day. I prayed while I was preparing a meal, I prayed while I was nursing and rocking the baby, I prayed while I was doing the laundry. And when I was overwhelmed with my day (and yes I had many of those), I retreated to the mud room to beseech my heavenly Father to give me super natural strength to help in time of need.
I also went through seasons where I could either pray OR read my Bible but I couldn’t find time for both. I would at times feel guilty and I spoke with a pastor once about this. He very gently encouraged me not to take on false guilt. He said that if I was having success at even drawing near to God on a regular basis, that I should feel satisfied with that. It was kind of him to say that, but honestly i NEEDED to feel close to God during those years, and I kept my devotions a priority. Even when I slacked in them because of exhaustion or if the family had a sickness going through the ranks, God came and met me with His strength and joy, and I was able to care for my family. Girlfriends, take this stuff seriously, It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but with homeschooling, living on a farm with chores and lots of work to be done, plus laundry, meals, and taking care of little ones, I had to be connected with God, daily, moment by moment. I also believe that God blessed my feeble efforts, and met me in my time of need. God wants to draw near to you too dear Mama. Fight for moments with your Savior. Draw deeply of His love for you. He gave you these dear children, He will provide you the spiritual resources to keep a vital, deep, close relationship with Him through it all. God bless you as you seek to serve Him and glorify Him through your mothering.