Somedays motherhood makes my brain feel scrambled. Between the lack of sleep, extra breastfeeding-induced hormones and trying to keep my tribe fed, clothed and loved, it often feels like there is little brain-room for other things. Children are an amazing blessing from God, but I have to admit sometimes I crave a little bit of peace and quiet to just give my brain a rest. When nap-time comes, I am usually found in a comatose state, catching whatever minutes of extra sleep I can. This is not a unique story, rather one shared by millions of mothers around the globe. It isn’t new: motherhood is one of the most challenging things we as women will ever do.
Yet in this season of caring for littlies, it is easy to use our tiredness and lack of peace and quiet as an excuse for not fitting God into our lives. Lack of peace and quiet was my go-too reason for not reading my Bible. It seemed that there were always other things to be done and while I did try and want to spend time with God, it became another reason for guilt to creep in instead of grace driving me to the feet of my Saviour.
Filling Instead of Emptying
There is nothing wrong with craving some peace and quiet. Even Jesus took time to withdraw from the crowds to pray (Luke 5:16). But what I am learning is that in the busyness of mothering, when we sit down next to our children playing dress-ups and open the Bible to read a snippet, God meets us there.
I was craving an emptying of my mind, yet I have come to understand God calls us to fill it. Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian Christian Philosopher, proposes that the key difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that Buddhists try to empty their mind to gain enlightenment (for example, Yoga), while Christians are called to fill their minds with God and His Word (Philippians 4:8). In Psalm 1 we read that blessed is the man whose “…delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
As mothers, when we read only a small portion before motherhood calls, it is sometimes easy to feel defeated. But we can have hope: Isaiah 55:10-11 says that just as the rain makes the earth sprout, “so so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” It humbles me to think about the number of times the Holy Spirit has brought whatever little verse I had read that morning back to my mind throughout the day, helping me savour the goodness of God and helping me meditate on His Word.
Glorifying Instead of Self-Gratifying
I’m not sure if you are anything like me, but when the peace and quiet did eventually come, I would often find things that I ‘deserved’ such as a nice cup of tea, reading a novel or losing myself in some mind-numbing television show. Then one day it dawned on me- I had been using the noise of the day as an excuse for not spending time with Jesus and then when peace and quiet came around, a hundred other options sprang to my weary mind.
Gloria Furman, in her book Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full (Crossway, 2014), quietly reprimanded me on this way of thinking. She reminded me that God created these children and gave them to me as a blessing, so he knew I was in a ‘noisy’ stage of life. Furman then encourages women to recognise God in all facets of our day and make time for him in the middle of the noise. I also came to see it is not a one-way pursuit: God wants to spend time with me too! As I started to actively seek to spend time with God, creative ideas came to my mind: I could pray as I wash up, or put a Bible verse to meditate on for the week above the baby’s change table. There are countless ways we can spend time talking to and thinking about the God we serve.
As we make spending time with God a priority, we will see that our thoughts, desires and attitudes will change (Psalm 37:4). Instead of making the day about us and focusing on the trials and tribulations that come each day, we can find delight and hope as we seek to glorify God. We will begin to recognise the little pearls he places in our day and he will provide us with the grace and strength that we need to get through it.
It is something I still struggle with- it seems to be a daily struggle between my fleshly and spiritual desires and then just the day-to-day jobs that need to get done. But in this challenge of mothering I know I am a more peaceful, Godly mother if I take even a few moments at the start of the day to lift my eyes to the hills and recognise my Saviour who can grant me his spiritual refreshment, quiet mind and strength for the day ahead.