When a women transitions into motherhood it is an instantaneous event.
Within hours you go from a glowing, round and exuberant pregnant woman to a parent. There is no transition period. The luxury of being able to come home and kick up your feet is traded in for the around the clock stand by of diaper changing, feeding and cuddling. It’s beautiful, stressful, strangely exciting and always keeps you on your toes. But, if there’s one thing that can catch you totally off guard in motherhood it is how your relationship with God can suffer. That’s right, those cute little bundles of fresh new life have the power to distract you from what you need the most as a mother, which is time with God.
The first few days of having my newborn was peaceful and joyous, but soon my husband and I were beginning to clash. I was sleep deprived and he was exhausted too. I felt myself getting more and more snippy and agitated at little things. This is not surprising since what once was a quiet hour of praying and reading the Bible was traded in for a crying baby. At first this may seem harmless, I myself underestimated the potential damage to my character that would occur when their was a lack of Christ-centered observance. Within the first month of my child’s life my character flaws began to resurface because I was not spending enough time in the Word. I was meeting dirty diapers with irritation instead of patience and my husband seemed to always be annoying me. Then one day I thought to myself, “when was the last time I prayed for my daughter? Actually, when was the last time I prayed?” How could I pray for my daughter when I wasn’t even praying daily for myself. I began to realize that if I wanted to intentionally raise my daughter in a Christ-centered atmosphere I would need to first keep my spirit in order. It’s similar to what the flight attendants tell you before the airplane takes off.
“In the event of a decompression oxygen masks will drop.. yaddah yaddah yaddah …be sure to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting your child."
The first time you hear that it sounds crazy! What rational parent would put on their own oxygen mask before their children? It’s the complete opposite of your instinctual action, but if you don’t put that mask on first you could pass out. Let’s say you have twin babies and a three year old. By the time you have wrestled those masks on three squirmy little faces you face the danger of fainting and then you won’t be helping anyone. It’s no different in motherhood. If you are busy caring for husband, baby, house and maybe even juggling a job and you don’t set aside time to spend with God it won’t only affect your personal life but also your ability to pour into your children. Because what can you pour if you yourself are empty?
The moment I started setting aside time to tend to my spirit, the more I found myself praying with my daughter, singing to her, even reading the bible to her.
Colossians 3:12 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” and although one of these things may come naturally, most of us need some devotional time to focus on growing in these areas. Even Jesus was sited many times in the Bible going to pray in desolation. Yes, even Jesus had to pray! If your still grappling with the importance of this thats okay. God has a beautiful way of teaching us through his creation. Take a look at the first trimester of pregnancy. When you go to your first appointment you will more than likely be met with a dissertation on all the things you can no longer do. You can’t eat sushi, can’t ride a roller coaster, can’t work out too much and the list goes on. The concept is that whatever you do will directly flow through you and into your child. For Christian moms this means that we cannot, “live by bread alone; rather we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) Things like praying, reading the bible, and memorizing scripture cannot be consciously and authentically implemented in our children's lives if they are nonexistent in our own lives. We as mothers have to be real with ourselves. Before teaching, rebuking and correcting our children we must first take the plank out of our own eye, and then we will see clearly.(Matthew 7:5) It’s simple. It’s effective. And it’s hard. If you find yourself needing support or guidance with your devotional time sign up for our #7DayPrayerChallenge. You’ll get daily encouragement and help.
Entering into a spiritual drought can happen to any mom weather you have five teenagers or one newborn, but God's mercies are new every morning. Intentionally raising your children starts with you, so what's the next step? Prayer, scripture, being an example? If you would like to be notified when “Intentional Parenting Through Christ: Praying With Your Children” is published than subscribe to Growing Up Gorgeous. http://www.growingupgorgeous.com/newsletter/