// “We know that we should be spending more time with God each day, but our biggest problem is finding time in the middle of the kids and busyness and noise.
“Do you have any advice that worked for you?”
Such a sincere question, spoken in a roomful of beautiful mommies who were gathered for a morning of companionship, encouragement, and community. Moms who are dedicated to staying connected with each other in this season of babies and toddlers.
You know that verse that says “the older women should teach the younger women”? Well, I’m not sure I like the label of ‘older woman,’ but I knew I was incredibly privileged to be invited into this intimate setting to share my experience and wisdom.
I thought for a moment. My mind started replaying those early years of having four kids under the age of 6.
I remembered the noise, the mess, the desperation for quiet…
“My friends, there are actually two needs here. There is a desperate need for quiet, and there is a desperate need for God. Both are equally important for mental and spiritual health, but they are not the same thing.
“If you need quiet, ask your husband or friend to take the kids for a half hour, go into the bath and put your head under the water. Seriously, do it. Let the noise disappear. It’s so important to let your mind rest every now and again.
“But that’s different than your spirit being hungry for God. If you are desperate for your ‘quiet times with God’ (or whatever quiet times with God used to look like), then I’m afraid to disappoint you. Those days are gone for awhile. //
“Don’t fight this season—EMBRACE IT. It won’t last forever.
“When my kids were little, I had a mentor in my life tell me… ‘Shauna, stop trying to be so spiritual, and just BE SPIRIT’ which was a nice way of saying ‘Shauna, stop being so religious.’ I was beating myself up for not having the same routine in my times with God that I had before the kids came.”
♥ I learned to PRAY WITH MY EYES OPEN. We teach kids to close their eyes when they pray so that they don’t get distracted, but you are adults, and you can focus on what’s important to you. Yes, it’s not like before, but this season won’t last forever. Don’t disengage from what’s happening around you.
♥ I learned to sit on the floor with my babies, letting them play around me, and READ MY BIBLE or PRAY OUT LOUD for whatever was on my heart. We don’t need to be alone or in our ‘prayer closet’ (remember that word?). That’s completely impractical for a mommy, so take that pressure off. Watching and hearing mommy pray as a regular part of everyday life is an excellent lesson to learn early in life.
♥ I also learned that my kids must NEVER feel like they have to compete with God for my attention. They need to be respectful, of course, but they can also participate.
♥ I learned that sometimes the most spiritual prayer I could pray was simply, “Jesus, I receive You again. Come breathe on me.”
♥ I learned that it doesn’t help to cry and complain about not being able to enjoy worship services like I used to. If I wanted to worship, I’d put a kid on my back and just worship. Arms up, hands extended… unless of course, another kid also wanted to hold my hand at the same time. Then I would pull them close beside me so I could put one arm up, one hand on their head.
Take them WITH you in your times of worship. Don’t hide in the nursery. Don’t hide in the back. Come close to the front where it’s easier for them to see what’s happening on the stage.
♥ I also realized that they MUST LEARN to respect people who are engaging God. This is not playtime. I had to teach them to be respectful when people are worshiping, or praying, or listening to the sermon. When they got noisy, I would point at someone close and say, “Shhhh, look! That lady is worshiping God. Don’t be rude and disturb her now, or she’ll starting thinking about you and not God. Be respectful.” It’s crucial that we teach them now to respect what God is doing around them.
[By the way, parents, please don’t turn worship times at church into full-on play times for your kids. Boredom is not going to kill them, and they don’t need a million toys. One toy, one book. Encourage them to watch people and see what God is doing. Encourage them to worship God and listen for His voice in their ear. Sorry for the rant… another post for another time.]
♥ Finally, I learned that anger is the enemy of intimacy with God. As soon as I got angry at them for “cramping my spiritual style,” then the mood was ruined and I no longer felt like worshiping God.
So, whether you are at home or church…
Stay sweet. Stay pleasant. Stay focused.
This is merely a brief moment in your life.
EMBRACE this season to the best of your ability, and enjoy being a Mom!
With much love,
Every Friday, I join an inspiring group of writers to write for FIVE MINUTES on a one-word prompt. No editing. No revising. Just WRITE. This week, the prompt word was EMBRACE.
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For more information on Five Minute Friday, check out Kate Motaung’s site!