With to-do lists longer than a roll of toilet paper, a mother’s chance at intimate prayer and exclusive times of reflection or study gets lost in the details of an average day. Our “walk with God” feels less like a pleasant excursion with the Lord of love and more like a wretched assignment at the bottom of the list (if it made the list at all). We feel guilty if we don’t make an effort, or we trudge through some kind of halfhearted devotional when and if we do make the effort. Or perhaps we want to be closer to God—we really want to—and simply can’t figure out how.
Because the Lord isn’t bodily present, it’s easy for Him to be forgotten, our thoughts of Him absently buried at the bottom of the laundry basket like a lost tube sock. We have plenty of flesh-and-blood relationships in our face to distract us from Him, too. Depending on our stage of parenting, the so-called “flesh-and-blood” distractions either tug at our coatsleeves and demand cups of juice or beg for keys to the car and a cell phone with unlimited data.
Are we resigning ourselves to a puny, halfhearted, sidetracked relationship with God during the intense years of motherhood?
I propose that it is possible for everyone to restore a rich relationship with God. Yes, even busy women in the midst of motherhood.
Jesus calls us to be His disciples regardless of our life circumstances. He knows we have children to raise and households to manage. So it must be possible—with God all things are possible! Can we figure out how to interact with Him? Because we desperately need this intimacy with God to survive, to thrive, and to have anything worthwhile to pour into the people under our care and influence.
Because you are unique, your experience with the Lord will be unique as well. As you trust Him, He will guide you down a contemplative path that seeks greater intimacy with Him while embracing and celebrating your unique calling in life as a mother.
Let’s let go of our yearning for the pre-mom days of extensive study and quiet times. Sure, maybe it was easier then to find time alone. It was calmer then, with only our own and our spouse’s needs to consider. But now we’re moms. The logistical challenges may be greater, but our actual relationship with Christ can be rich in different ways—and our time with Him certainly more appreciated.
Because we are mothers, we can understand aspects of the kingdom of God in ways non-moms never will. We live out parables daily that Christ can use to teach us if we open our hearts to Him. The Lord can open our eyes to see our daily circumstances the way He sees them. As we see, we will understand more about both ourselves and God Himself.
Anticipate a unique experience with the Lord, because you and He together make a relationship like none other since the beginning of time. My marriage has similarities to my friends’ marriages, but it isn’t a duplicate. Likewise, my relationship with God may be similar to yours, but it isn’t the same. It can’t be, because I’m not you. So you’re going to have to let Him lead and guide you, conforming you gradually to the image of Christ.
I’d like to share a quote from the pen of Phillips Brooks, the man who wrote the well-loved Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Even though it’s a little stuffy in style, it grabbed me. Take a look:
The great danger facing all of us … is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel [that] life has no meaning at all—not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to tender the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God—and be content to have it so—that is the danger: that some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared—satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.
There’s some powerful, applicable stuff packed into that quote. Read it and you’ll see we’re in danger. We moms are in danger of letting the husks and trappings of life—yes, the swim clubs, spilled milk, dirty dishes, piano lessons, and car maintenance—keep us so busy that we miss life itself, real life; that is, life in Christ.
I don’t want to miss that. I want the tingle, the thrill, the richness and joy of life with the Father through Jesus Christ. I want intimate interaction from friendship with the Father. I want to be available to offer the most needed service, to be conscious of life ablaze with the light of the presence of God.
A life ablaze with the light of the presence of God. Yes. That’s the target. I don’t want to be just a soccer mom or the neighborhood’s Kool-Aid mom. That’s nice, of course, and those are great nurturing roles. But above all, I want my soul to be ablaze. I want to exude the light of the presence of God that shines from my rich relationship with Him—in the midst of motherhood. I pray we’ll all be spared satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best and has no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.
The God of the universe wants to know us and be known by us. You are His friend, His beloved, His delight.
Is He yours?
This is a modified excerpt from the newly released revised edition of The Contemplative Mom: Restoring Rich Relationship with God in the Midst of Motherhood, by Ann Kroeker (available in both print and Kindle e-book).