|used with permission by myriahgrubbs photography|
i understand how busy life can get and how hard it can be, especially as a mama, to take time to grow spiritually and cultivate an inner life of knowing and loving Jesus. when i had my first son i came off of a very huge life disappointment and honestly was probably a little depressed, though i think the disappointment was more to blame than any post pardum hormones. not only had i just walked through one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my baby stopped breathing completely when he was about 4 hours old. they never really found out why after all the tests and told me it could happen again at any time. i was exhausted, paranoid, fearful, disappointed, and a first time mom. needless to say, i didn't do great at finding time to spend with the Lord.
due to all of the above factors, i basically was so tired of disappointment that i just stopped trying to cultivate my inner life with the Lord. i thought, you know what... i will do this at another time when i have things more together, when life doesn't seem so overwhelming, or when my heart isn't so raw. in great contrast to my childhood, teenage years, college time, and young married life, i stopped reading my Bible. it just hurt too much. i would walk by my piano and not touch it to play or sing to the Lord. i didn't want to deal with tears that i knew would flow. i thought, later. later i will connect. right now i will tread water and get through each day with lack of vision for anything besides loving my little baby and making sure he didn't stop breathing again.
well, after not really reading my Bible for a year my heart felt very cold and it made me sad. i would stand there during worship on sunday mornings and cry because i longed to feel the nearness of God but i had let myself shut down so much. i wanted to feel His nearness even in my pain and wandering state, but i almost didn't know where to start again. every time i would try to open my Bible or pray, my baby would need me.
or my house.
or my husband.
every time i tried to sneak out of bed in the morning to get some alone time, he would wake up and then i just had a longer day of caring for him instead of time to myself and the Lord.
it took a while to find ways to carve a few minutes here and a couple minutes there. i started reading the book of job first because it was the best place of relating i could find since it was so full of questions that no one but God had the answers for. then i camped out in psalms for the next several years, only briefly leaving it to read other books and just to return back to it again. i learned to love my 5 or 10 minute shower time as my "prayer closet" because it was the longest stretch of alone time i "sometimes" got, since often the only way i got a shower was if my oldest two showered with me when they were baby/toddlers.
as i look back at that very very hard season, i always think about how i didn't like the way my heart felt. it felt cold and hopeless. without the constant connection with our Savior Jesus we lose hope. coming out of one of the other hardest seasons of my life what i am thankful for that is different this time is i fought to find that connection with the Lord in the middle of it. i tried to turn my heart towards Him, and still do in the same weak way. it may be a few verses because i am interrupted by children who have real needs, reading the same passage over and over again for two months straight, singing and praying in my shower time which i have made sacred alone time now, or falling asleep exhausted but opening my heart before the Lord with oftentimes just the short prayer, "oh God, i need You so badly. help."
i think, now, that a big part of my inner man being alive and connected with God is in the struggle of being a mom and having no time and desiring more than i feel like i can give or receive in this season. just the fact that i turn my heart towards Him and say, yes!, (as weak and feeble as that yes may be at times), is victory and gives me the hope to keep on going. i can't give up and wait until life circumstances are different to build the ideal relationship with the Lord. just because i can't spend 2 uninterrupted hours with Him every morning to start off the day doesn't mean He doesn't use the moments that i delibrately set my heart on Him to draw my heart into loving Him more.
every moment counts. every yes counts. every inclination of my eyes to glance His direction counts. the only way to lose is to quit. if i keep on walking towards the goal of Him, no matter how slow i may go and how long it seems to take me to make the progress i want to make, i win.
you have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride,
you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
song of songs 4:9 rsv
it is like the widow's mite. others had much to give and gave out of their surplus. she gave all she had and it counted. it counted big time.
so if anyone reading is in any type of season where you long to give more but are tempted to give less because it hurts so bad to feel like you are failing over and over again at your attempts at love (like not even being able to read 3 small chapters of the Bible a day - are you with me??), don't give up! there is no time in all your life that it will be easier to love Him than right now. every yes you say today makes it easier to say yes again tomorrow.
and the next day.
and the next.
and remember a heart that feels pain is a heart that is alive. and it is a heart that loves. a cold heart is no fun.
never never never quit.