Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mothering Breakthroughs

I've lately been pondering the challenges of maintaining spirituality as a mother of young children. In my experience, its sort of like a pressure cooker where the effort required is so intense and sustained that there is barely any time for the quiet reflection of prayer and scripture study. At best, a morning prayer is a quick hail mary sent up as I fly out of bed to answer a baby's cry or help a child get to the bathroom. And yet, I've been experiencing what I'm finding to be a spiritual renaissance in my life where prayers are more effective, study is more frequent and I feel a greater excitement for the things of the gospel than I have for a long time. Then of course comes the guilt and fear that I'm not giving my children enough of the focus that they require and my gospel study is becoming a selfish pursuit that interferes with my care for them.

I have found inspiration, comfort and guidance in the words of faithful women recently. In both cases, I have been close to this realization. Its like its been off stage waiting in the wings for me to get to that point. Often for me, this can take weeks, months or years as I encounter experiences and thoughts that bring me to such realizations. Its very nice when I feel led almost right to the brink and then its the words of others who show me the waters to drink from are right in front of me, ready for me to take, read and digest.

First came from a new friend that I am getting to know through midwifery school: She wrote in her post
This week has been one of those weeks that I like to call: Foundational. In Proverbs 14:1 the Bible says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Well, I have an imagination and I like to think about my "daily grind" as a building project. Some days I may be watching kids play pleasantly and giving some positive affirmation here and there. These are painting days (because I like painting). Some times, my days are consumed with breaking up fights, scolding and correcting. This is like putting up walls to me! Anyway, you get my point.

And second, a blog post that my friend passed along with me in mind, where the author reminds me of the opportunities for daily and constant devotionals that can turn my attention to my God and love for my children.

I have found myself trying to survive spiritualy as a mother the way in which she describes and I've just recently begun to realize the times throughout a day that I can connect with the spirit.

We spend the first decade of motherhood waiting for a moment of quiet. When the children are older, then I can pray. Once the house is clean and organized, then I can find peace. When we reach the other side of this trying time, only then can I be the wife and mother I truly wish to be.

Always missing the opportunity to engage the present moment, living for an imaginary one.

The treasure hunt within the present moment. Where is it? Where is the grace hidden in this moment in time? God is here. Where is He in this very moment?

My meal time prayers become more meaningful, as well as my time driving in the car. While children sleep in their carseats during car rides, I have quiet, time to pray, reflect and ponder. And I find the Spirit in those moments.

The author of the post says its the first decade of mothering. I will count myself lucky that I was exposed to this idea and was able to grasp it after only 4 years. Not that its a race, but the sooner the better it is to learn lessons such as this.

May I remember that laundry can be a time to reflect and pray for my family members, that each article of clothing is a tangible extension of my love and concern for them.


cc said...

I meant to comment about this idea of praying in the moments we have. But then I wanted to actually try it out and see how I did first (and then forgot to come back here).

This has been a big breakthrough for me! I have been unable to pray for many reasons in this season of my life. And I know it's been hurting me in so many ways. So even when I decided to find my way back to a regular conversational relationship with God, it was very hard to actually do with everything else going on.

But the realization that I can pray while folding clothes or driving to appointments is huge! It has made such a difference for me and allowed me to finally make specific time for meditation and communication with God again - which in turn is helping me be the mother that I want to be again. Thank you for posting this.

Jenne said...

Cool! I love it when I can pass on information that is helpful to others. I always figure if its helped me that it can help others too even though I generally use my blog more as a journal I let people read and comment on...