faith, motherhood, women

Mama Faith: 8 ways to hold on to God in the newborn season (an intro)

May 29, 2015
Mama Faith - 8 ways to hold onto your faith in the early months of motherhood // Fiona Lynne

I read an article recently aimed at Christian mums, about how to keep a strong faith through this season of our lives. The main focus was on maintaining your daily “Quiet Time”, that characteristic method of prayer and bible study that is taught as the standard by many churches. You set aside a block of time every day to read a passage in the Bible, answer some questions on it from a study guide, and then spend time in prayer.

The article listed a number of ways you could hold on to this precious block of time. Number one was to get up early, before your children are awake. Uh huh. Number two was to stay up later, after your children are in bed and the chores are taken care of. Hmm.

I’ve seen this advice so many places. Want to do anything of value? Get up before your kids. It makes me wonder if any of the writers had a baby like mine, who generally stirs around 5-6am, and until recently was up 3-4 times every. single. night.

I was desperate for more sleep the first eight months of Kaya’s life. Desperate because when I am very tired I get grumpy. I lose patience fast, I forget to be kind, the apathy in my heart begins to reach dangerous levels, and you’re likely to find me at least once during the day sobbing on the bathroom floor.

Sleep has been vital for me. That’s meant earlier nights, and many mornings when my generous husband would be the first one up with our wide awake girl. Getting up before her to do an hour of bible study and prayer has just not been on the cards. And knowing there are many mamas with the same experience, I felt frustrated that this article and many others seemed to suggest my faith was going to suffer if I couldn’t do this.

I think it’s a false threat. Yes, our lives in this season as baby mamas look so very different than they did before. You may not make it to church every week, or for weeks on end maybe (we’ve napped through a few Sunday mornings). Those days when you could set aside a whole uninterrupted hour of time in the Bible and in prayer may be a distant memory.

But it’s a lie that your spiritual life will automatically suffer during this season as a mother.

So I’ve been thinking about it a lot, trying out my own right-fit faith practices, and asking a lot of friends and other baby-mamas about what has worked for them. And I have eight ideas. Eight ideas that could help you embrace this crazy season of life as parent to a newborn and seek God in this time. Eight ideas that remind you this doesn’t need to be a desert season spiritually. Eight ideas that open the door for the Spirit to speak and move powerfully in your daily life.

They probably won’t all work for you. We’re all different, our children are different, we all parent differently, our spiritual walk looks different. I offer these ideas as a starting place. An invitation to open your eyes to how God is still speaking, still listening, still encircling you with love and strength even as you nurse and change and rock that little baby.

(Also, maybe your personality and your lifestyle allow you to still incorporate and enjoy the traditional “quiet time” model of prayer. Brilliant! I don’t mean to say it’s never possible, just that it hasn’t been for me.)

I’ll unpack these ideas in three posts, so come back the next few days to find out what they are. And do contribute your own ideas. What are the faith practices that have carried you through the newborn season? How did you find God (or how did God find you!) during this time?

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  • Nicola

    Looking forward to reading these posts! My second daughter is 8 months now and for me, it has been about remembering to pause throughout the day (and night!) before rushing onto the next thing, and to just connect with God for a few mins (or seconds sometimes). Or connecting while feeding the baby, walking the school run, washing bottles, sorting the laundry and all those everyday tasks. And remembering to count my gifts even if I don’t actually get around to writing them down. I also copy and paste scripture and inspiring thoughts from blog posts, and keep them in my memos on my phone so I can come back to them at a later time.

    • fiona lynne

      Oh yes to learning to find God in the “quotidien mysteries” of laundry and nappies and feeding times! It is a challenge to train myself to do it but I find them some of the most intimate and beautiful moments with God when I can still my heart enough to see God’s fingerprints over everything. x

  • Heather Deeming

    Oh my goodness, this couldn’t have come at a better time! I have a 9-week old daughter and a two-year old son, and if I thought maintaining quiet time was tricky with one newborn, it’s nigh impossible (for me!) with a wee babe and a little curious person (who no longer naps!).

    As Nicola said in her comment, trying to be present in the day to day things and say thank you or lift up a prayer or two is something I can relate to. I’ve also found that God speaks powerfully in these early days, as I fall in love with my baby, about His mother/father love for me/us. Plus, desperation is a good motivation to connect – on days when I’m on my knees with exhaustion (a bit like today, if I’m honest – bad night with toddler teething and a hungry baby), I have to cling onto Him for grace, patience, strength…everything! Of course I should do that daily, but these are the days I’m really reminded of my need!

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • fiona lynne

      Oh mama, you are in the trenches right now! There’s so much I can AMEN loudly to – connecting with the parent heart of God, learning again what it looks like to lean on God’s strength in the day to day, and the learning to be present. Thanks so much for being here x

  • Annie Johnson

    This is all so wonderful, Fiona… I wish I would have had this resource when I was “in the trenches” but even now that my babies are 3, 5, 7, and 10, I can tell you that this topic is ever changing! As far as newborns go, I can’t think of an area where God DIDN’T meet me where I needed Him! I have learned so much from my kids, it is unbelievable. The things that have challenged me and the strengths and weaknesses in myself that have been shown to me have been so amazing. It’s all very messy, don’t get me wrong! It’s not this glorious, glowing orb of motherhood that you’re constantly in (as you well know!) and I very distinctly remember one specific night, being up in the wee hours of the morning, with a house full of kids who had the stomach flu and when I finally got a minute to myself, I went and sat in the bathroom and cried too! But God always met me at the door with the strength and courage that I would need to get through. My relationship with everyone changed when I had my babies, and my relationship with the Lord was no different. But I prayed while I nursed, and I got Our Daily Bread as an app on my phone, and I clung to my loving husband and kept an open mind 🙂 I always tried to remember that the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is my attitude! I am so looking forward to your future posts!

    • fiona lynne

      “But God always met me at the door with the strength and courage that I would need to get through. ” I love this! And love your comment about attitude being the key. I do believe that. It’s part of why I wanted to write this, to help women enter this season with hope! Grateful for you x

  • We made it to church today for the third time since David was born (he’s seven weeks old) – very much looking forward to hearing your ideas! My congregation and pastor are very enthusiastic and encouraging when we get there, and understanding when we don’t. So far my Bible quiet time HAS been at 3 in the morning nearly every single day, but not because I choose to wake up then – that’s just his middle-of-the-night eating time, and I read my devotion on my phone (and then fall back asleep). I agree with Heather, I am experiencing the love of God on another level because of the love I am experiencing for my own child.

    • fiona lynne

      Yey mama! Three times in seven weeks is brilliant! 🙂
      It’s wonderful that you have such a supportive faith community to be part of. My phone also became such a tool of God – for easy access to devotionals and podcasts and those ever-needed encouraging texts from friends.
      Thanks for being here. You are doing SUCH a great job x