I see you. I see your tired eyes and anxious heart as you gently bounce your sweet bundle up and down, trying to get your little one to sleep, hoping not to disturb the congregation, but desperately wanting to hear the Word the pastor is bringing forth. Wanting to hear the truth that sinks into your bones and resonates in your life.
And I know how your morning probably went…
You were rushing out the door late for Sunday morning service after a chaotic whirlwind of baths and wrangling multiple kids into clothes as they screamed they didn’t want to wear “those clothes” and then selected the mismatched outfit of their choice. You decided not to fight them on this. You headed downstairs to see a messy breakfast still all over the table (and floor). You stared at it in despair as you passed by in your rush to the car to lock all the kids into their car seats and made sure all bags were packed, sippy cups were filled, and diapers were changed… again.
The parking lot was full of cars when you arrived and the greeters have already gone inside. You hurried the kids to their Sunday School classes and dropped them off with a quick kiss as you rushed back to the sanctuary so you could at least soak in a moment of worship. You found a seat somewhere in between 2 families while in the midst of the final song and you tried to take in the last 90 seconds of worship music. Your soul soared in praise for a moment and then it’s over and the sermon begins. You just settled in and are exactly 3 minutes into the service when the number, the dreaded flashing number, appeared on the screen. Your child’s number. He’s clearly been crying.
You sighed that your bit of respite was over and headed back to the nursery. When you saw your child’s red eyes and tears you quickly got over your sigh and hugged your sweet little one close. He just needed you. You thanked the nursery worker and headed back to the foyer where you walked him back and forth, around and around, and tried to calm him down. Maybe he could still go back to nursery if he calms down. After awhile you realized the baby just wanted his mama this morning and so you head back into the service, quietly, standing in the back, rocking and kissing a soft, little head, hoping to catch the last few minutes of the service… A desperate clutching of the insight of what the minister is sharing. The need to grow and understand aspects of God that gives you hope in being a woman, wife, mom…
And you realize how much you’ve been missing this time with God. It’s not the long sleepless nights or the tantrums during the day that drain you the most… It’s the missing moments of prayer, the adoration of praise, the quiet mornings filled with your cup of coffee and Bible that give you so much strength and hope for your day.
How you miss those moments.
Because now you get up at 6 AM after an exhausted nights sleep (because there wasn’t much sleep) in order to pray and read the Word but somehow the dog heard you, starts barking, the kids wake up, and they want breakfast, you need to do diaper changes, and suddenly your day is in full swing. You stare at Bible longingly next to that cup of coffee you just placed on the table… Maybe at nap time you can get a moment to try and ingest some of its truth.
But nap time comes and the baby refuses to sleep without you holding him close while the other ones want to sit next to you and play with your hair. You try to read your devotional on your iPhone but it keeps getting kicked away by little feet, grabbed at by little hands, and finally surrendered to your toddler for a dose of Daniel Tiger. You will try to spend time in the Word after the kids are in bed.
After a bath, book and bed routine, the kids are in bed but you survey the house that needs to be cleaned, a husband that wants some quality time, any projects that need to be finished… You finally crawl into bed with your Bible pulled up again on your phone and you say a small prayer and read a short verse before your tired eyes give way to sleep…
And then the next day the cycle starts again.
You love your children. You love being a mother. You have tired and weary days though and you know you need the strength of Christ to help you through your parenting. And yet, somehow the tasks of Motherhood itself seems to keep you from even accomplishing the smallest devotional each day.
The thing you need most as a parent seems to be the hardest to reach.
My heart is with you my friend as I see you in the back of the church rocking your baby. And I want to share something with you you may not realize yet. Despite the lack of missing morning devotionals, He is near.
He is speaking to your heart each and every moment. He is showing you so much about His grace and love when you are trying to calm down tantrums and help alleviate little fears. As you teach your little ones simple memory verses, He is reminding you of the amazingly life-giving basics of the Cross. “When we were sinners Christ died for us…” You say it to your 3 year old who repeats it back to you and your heart thrills at the words in the awe of the Savior who died for you. When the baby won’t stay in nursery and you take him out to the front entrance where he toddles around rocks and trees, you stare at the bright blue sky and feel the joy of being surrounded in His creation. The times when you sooth cries with cuddles and kisses and you softly sing, you remember just as you comfort your children He is your peace. As you clutch freshly washed hands around the dinner table and your kids recite off the prayers they have learned simply from watching you and you see they are learning to praise their Maker.
In every instance, every offering is a prayer. It is a time spent learning about Him and showing our kids His grace.
Motherhood is a beautiful gift God has given us. It is also a sacrifice of our expectations, insecurities and even sleep as we devote ourselves in service to the calling of Motherhood. And He is in every ounce and second of it. There is complete beauty in the sacrifice.
So while we feel like we may be missing out on the morning devotions and our times in church services, have peace. You are learning, growing, embracing all who He is more than you even realize.
Soon your children will be grown and let go of your hand as they rush off to join their friends in Sunday School. You will sit through an uninterrupted service and be able to spend the mornings in specific prayer time again. But for now my friend, when you have a moment for devotion soak it in deep, embrace the moment, and then remember He is also in the runny noses, the pancake making, and the sleepless nights. And He is teaching you through every moment.
So much love to you,
From the Mom standing at the back of the church rocking her baby beside you