We all have these shifting seasons throughout our lives. They are sometimes smooth, while rocky at other times. None of us are exempt from the effects of both. In each season, I find myself looking for ways to be grounded in the Lord. It’s quite easy when the forecast is sunny. The blessings are flowing, the schedules are clicking, the family is in harmony and everyone’s health is stellar. This is when my devotional time comes easily and my prayers are full of thankfulness. In these moments I feel
very put together. I LOVE this time of year!
But as I reflect back a few years ago as I was rocking my first son, the feelings were of awe, but also exhaustion. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that my season was permanently shifting as I rocked that sweet boy. I went from a very contained and orderly lifestyle into unknown territory. So I struggled with how to stay close to God. I mourned my quiet-times with Him. This is something that doesn’t just happen with new mothers, this touches all women in differing seasons. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I was “just me;” not attached to this new little one. I then realized this was the new normal and I was forever attached by heart. So as this started to sink in, I thought that if I could just have some quiet-time once more with the Lord then I could hold it all together. This is when something peculiar happened. I didn’t get it right away, but I sure do now, and I want to pass it on to you
This voice of guilt and despair came crashing into my thoughts. When I felt broken and weary from late-night feedings, household chores, church activities, etc., that voice would grow louder and yell thoughts like: “Not trusting!” “You’re failing!” “This is too much for you!” I would be too tired some days to read a Bible verse, or look at a devotional book. Sleep always won, and the voice of failure would too. So I want you to hear me say that none of that is from the Lord. I found this spot so confusing; I was in love with my new baby, but mourning my individuality. I wasn’t looking for a way out; I just wanted to go from survive to thrive again.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
And so the Lord began to bring clarity to my thoughts…I began to sing praise songs out loud when holding my child. This calmed the baby, soothed my heart, and brought delight to my Heavenly Father. I placed scripture on the walls of our home, since I felt too weak to lift a Bible some days. I saw the Word of Life across my house (post-it notes totally count!). I reached out and asked some cherished friends for prayer support in this season. Please don’t listen to that voice of shame when you reflect on a way you may have behaved in the exhaustion. Don’t let the critical thoughts creep in and say you haven’t done enough. Our Lord will redeem and restore the time; He is not the voice of condemnation. And He will stand in those gaps that we cannot fill, that we are not meant to fill because we were not designed to be self-sufficient. We were made to walk beside Him, which is such a beautiful honor; such release if we can ever wrap our minds around it.
The season shifted, and I now have my boys watching all that I do. I still may not have too many coherent thoughts in the noise of our home, but I have a Bible and that devo book by a chair in the living room. And I have given myself permission to not mentally record how often I read from them. However, I do find myself reading small glimpses in the middle of our crazy lifestyle. My children see me pick them up and look at them. Some days are so loud that I just hold that Bible while interacting with a son. I find myself returning more and more as I draw strength and peace from our Lord. I taped a prayer calendar inside my medicine cabinet, and I pray each day’s word over my family while brushing my teeth! This counts, and it works because there is power in prayer. A while back I also battled the voice of guilt on the topic of Bible Studies. If you have an opportunity and a desire, then by all means go! It will bless your socks off!! However, if you are in that season that makes it impossible, then don’t allow yourself to be labeled a failure; that is most assuredly not of our Lord. There is God-time in pushing a stroller through the neighborhood and taking in the beauty of the day. There is God-time in taking a nap with your young one and stopping to listen to them breathe in the silence. And there is God-time in Legos, coloring, story books and games.
May we behold the beauty of this great King in the daily routines of our life. (Meka)
Do not let the negative steal your days as you walk them out with Jesus. Or society invade your thoughts on right from wrong. Each day we have the opportunity to reach out to our God who is extending His hand for us always. Praise, pray, love, and honor; personalize them for yourself in each season that you walk into.