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?