My husband and I were recently en route from Philadelphia to Washington DC listening to a podcast by The Bible Project on a passage in Exodus when God changes his mind:
Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
We got into this discussion about whether God changes his mind or not. Spoiler alert: This is not really a blog about this question, as exciting as that might be. Part of my response to him was this though: God no more “changes his mind” like we do as God loves like we do. We and God are not the same thing. We are made in His image, but we aren’t Him. However, we do strive to be like Him, to care like Him, to mourn like Him, to be bold like Him, to love like Him – in summary, to know Him!
And there is no limit to how much we can know Him. We can strive for it every day and still not even scratch the surface of His goodness. This then made me reflect on where I am in my current new mom season.
There are many days I don’t feel like I did much “running with endurance,” as Paul says in Hebrews 12:1. It feels more like paddling to keep afloat, scrounging around for quiet time here and there amidst holding a baby and working from home.
I honestly just want to say – “God we had such a good thing going. Why can’t it stay the same?”
My study with the Lord continues to be a struggle since the last blog I wrote, but I have noticed one thing that has helped me. It is advice that comes from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, but also was a beautiful reminder from a friend and mentor of mine:
Pray without ceasing.
This reminded me that in fact, prayer is our personal relationship with God. Knowing someone requires talking to them often. Even though it might not feel like it, and perhaps I am not yet aware of the ways God has become closer to me, I believe He has. I must trust He has, as I do not think the craziness of motherhood is slowing down anytime soon. Yet, He will always be who I must desire more than anything else, every single day.
Prayer is knowing God (and being known by Him)
A friend and fellow contributor Rachel Marissa recommended I read thebook, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms, by Gloria Furman, which I highly recommend to all moms, and these three idea ssum up how I’ve been feeling:
“I confessed to a friend that becoming a mother made me feel I had forgotten the Lord, and my practice of the spiritual disciplines was revealed to be codependent on my environment.”
“Surely He is with me in all of my baby caring, housecleaning, car driving, nighttime parenting…”
“I was under the false assumption that the Holy Spirit comforted, guided, and assured me only when my schedule was cleared out or when I had my journal sitting on my lap. I thought I couldn’t hear God if there was noise in my life…”
Since I was reminded of praying with ceasing, I try to take stock of whether I have done this throughout each day — in comparison to how I was prior to being a mom. I am encouraged that He and I are close, even when it feels so different than before:
- When I get up in the morning, I almost always listen to the Hallow app for ten minutes while nursing. There is quiet then. I have put strict limits that “TV while nursing” can only happen in the middle of the night, and that morning nursing should be for God (vis-a-vis the Hallow app.)
- When my son does not want to take a nap and I start to get frustrated, I say a short prayer.
- When I would love to take a nap myself and cannot, a one-sentence prayer.
- Before meals, a short prayer.
- When in a difficult conversation with a friend or family member, breathing deeply and saying simply, “Jesus,” to let the Holy Spirit in when I believe I am out of my depths. Especially when they are struggling with deeply theological topics, something I have barely touched in 6+ months. I am humbly reminded God will take care of this. I am not responsible for knowing the answer (nor was I ever — news flash).
- When I go to bed at night, my husband and I pray together.
I am still adjusting to this new dynamic of my relationship with God, but something tells me He’s flexible on how we’re connecting and staying in communication, as long as we are in fact staying in touch, so to speak! I am encouraged that God wants us to come truly as we are.
To me, this is the reason to call joy a friend every day. He does not require anything else of us. There is nothing we have to do to “get ready” to have time with God. Rejoice! This is the humbling beauty of serving a God who is Alpha and Omega, but also our confidant during diaper changes, floor sweeping, and meal prepping. Praise God that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:3).