Finding God in the Beginning …of Motherhood
by Julia Roller
I lay back on the hospital bed, sweaty and exhausted and still a little surprised that childbirth had not actually killed me. Then the nurse handed me a tiny screaming bundle, wrapped in a white blanket and sporting a pink and blue cap too big for his tiny head. “I’m your mommy,” I told him, and as I said the words, I realized they were true. I was this baby’s mommy, and that had changed everything. So this was what it felt like, to fall in love in an instant.
I knew Ben’s birth would change my life. That my schedule, my abs, my sleep requirements were never going to be the same.
But what I did not know was how profoundly his birth would change my spiritual life. The way I felt about this tiny baby offered a glimpse into the depths of God’s love for us. Yet motherhood also laid bare my weaknesses and selfishness in a way nothing else ever had.
I needed God; but the ways I had been accustomed to meeting God no longer seemed to fit into my life. I was too tired to pray. How could I find time to study the Bible when I still hadn’t figured out how to go to the bathroom by myself? No longer was I the master of my own schedule. As anyone who has had a child knows, the ability to do what you want when you want is the first thing to go. Babies blow out their diapers, they fall asleep, they scream, they get sick, and all at the most inconvenient times.
I had to figure out some ways to connect with God in my new life. Because it wasn’t just about me anymore. There were little eyes watching me and all that I did, and I had to figure out how to guide them.
The tools I share in my book focus on spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines involving everything from prayer to fasting to celebration. Silence, solitude, and study too. They are simply practices we can engage in, practices that Jesus taught about and demonstrated with his own life, that could help us to become more like Jesus.
I focused on 10 spiritual disciplines. For all of us, the process is ongoing, of course. Thankfully, mastery is not required. Mistakes and disorganization are all part of the story of our learning to pay attention to God in our lives.
Here’s a beginning place and question connected to start you with each spiritual practice:
Prayer: How do I make God a habit?
Fellowship: What are ways I can learn to let others in?
Submission: What might it look like if I learn to relax into God’s will?
Study: Are there immediate ways I can begin building a firm foundation?
Simplicity: Beginning now, how can I learn to take it one thing at a time?
Silence: What are the lessons I can learn from turning off all the noise?
Worship: When can I make an appointment with God?
Failure and Fasting: What might I give up to receive God’s gifts?
Service: What are the ways I can provide help near home?
Celebration: How can I engage in the joy of the everyday?
With each step remind yourself of God’s grace—and more grace for your journey, even despite the chaos and challenges you may experience in your everyday life.
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