We’ve been talking about how to hold onto your faith in the early joyful and hard months of being a mama. (I’d recommend going back to read the introduction post, and then about practicing the presence of God, and using music in your daily life).
These next three spiritual practices seem to go together so naturally. It’s about sound and space and body, things so closely connected with how we move through our days…
3. Small moments of quiet
There’s not much down time when you’re mama to a young baby. But one of the traps I frequently fall into is believing that if I don’t have a guaranteed long period of time to stop and engage with God, it is not worth it. But I’ve found that just five minutes of sitting in the silence, slowing my breath and my heart, opening my spirit to God’s Spirit, can make a huge difference in my day.
My Spiritual Director recently told me that some scholars believe that Yahweh, the name God gave himself when Moses asked, when pronounced correctly, sounds like the intake and expel of breath. God is the very breath within us, as close as the breath you take now. This is becoming a beautiful way for me to stop and recentre myself in God’s love, by visualising Spirit filling me up, as I stop and take just a few deep breaths in the midst of the chaos.
So, however you do it, embrace those small moments of quiet as an opportunity for rest, for peace, for re-energising.
“You gain TONS more quiet and time when you turn off the radio and TV. Do what you can to reduce your “background noise”” – Rebekah Scott
“For us now, after church the kids often fall asleep in the car before/after lunch and we will spend some time driving around talking about the message and connecting as a couple while they sleep and there is quiet! I find that really clears my head and benefits everyone.” – Stefani Smit
“I used to hide myself in the bathroom for ten minutes and light candle while I took a hot bath.” – Donna Knutson
4. Sacred Space
We believe that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. And yet sometimes it is immensely helpful to set aside or recognise particular places as sacred, spaces where, just by entering them, you feel ushered into the presence of God.
I’ve had friends who have a particular chair that feels like sacred space. Maybe a seat with a view or just secluded from the daily chaos, where they can rest in God’s presence a while. Maybe it’s a mantelpiece that you make into an altar, filled with images, words and objects that remind you of important spiritual truths. Even the shower can become your own thin place where heaven comes close and you find strength and renewal!
For me, I found sacred space for a time on the country paths near our flat that I walked with Kaya when she was grumpy and needed to sleep. Being out in nature, God’s first cathedral, was a reminder to step outside of my own too-small thoughts and remember my Creator.
“A Family Altar. We have holy cards, a holy candle, the Bible, a prayer guide from Sacred Space, a small statue, and a few other things on the altar. I walk by it many times each day and it is helpful to see/smell/touch items relating to our Faith so I can stay on the path. The children have small boxes with their own altars that they can set up and play with.” – Stephanie Dahl
5. Embodied Spirituality
Our bodies are a beautiful gift from God, and as we connect with them further, we draw closer to God. When we start paying attention to the movement of our bodies, from the very breath we take, to all our daily actions, suddenly there are reminders of our Creator everywhere. And life as a mama is a life of movement and sensation.
So from breastfeeding, to washing faces, from rocking a sick child, to chasing a happy one around the playground, our bodily experience can speak to our spirits about God.
“Little children themselves are such a precious gateway to God and the Holy! Take in that little baby girl with all your senses … and perhaps in the quieter moments of feeding or holding her, breathe a little and connect with your own inner feelings. I think we find God in those kind of spaces too.” – Adele Lyman
I love Adele’s suggestion about connecting with God through all of our senses: the smell of the sweet nutritious milk that nourishes my baby reminding me of the God who is Mother; the sound of the water running into the bath and cascading over her head like baptism; the taste of those vegetable purees as she starts exploring a whole world of food calling me to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Tell me, how do you find moments of quiet in your day to reconnect with yourself and with God? Have you created or experienced sacred space? And how do your bodily experiences point you to God’s truth? (And come back on Friday for the final three practices!)