On Faith & Being a Mom.

I’ve been blogging here for a year now. In that time, I’ve been very careful not to label myself as anything. I don’t want to call myself a coupon blogger, or a christian blogger, or a cloth diapering/attachment parenting blogger because slapping a label on it niches me down too much and limits what I feel I can write about. I want to be able to write about whatever the hec I want to. So that being said, I haven’t really felt much desire to write about my faith. At all. I’ve mentioned things here in there in random posts, but I tend to keep that part of my life separate from my blog. NOT because I’m ashamed or afraid, but just…cause.

But tonight I found some old pictures in a box at my parents house from my first year of Bible School. I started thinking about those days and how awesomely phenomenal they were. Before Bible School, I wanted to travel the world and write books and discover ancient artifacts and basically live my life as Lara Croft. Kids were so NOT on my list of things to do before I turned 30. In fact, I couldn’t imagine myself getting married or having kids until I was at least 25. And then I met Zach and we fell in love and God started doing some serious work in my life and all of a sudden everything changed. I was 19 and thinking about settling down with this brace faced skateboarder who’d crushed on just about every girl in our class. And then we talked about missions and reaching teenagers for Christ and saving the world one pubescent at a time. And then we got married and became youth pastors and everything in my life centered around church, prayer, worship, teenagers, Bible study, brainstorming ways to further the Kingdom of God.

And then I became a mom and everything changed again.

All of a sudden, the center of my world wasn’t youth ministry or church. It was this little ball of awesome that God so graciously trusted us with. In an instant, I realized that being a mom was exactly who I was supposed to be. It was like every  single thing I’d ever been through, everything I’d learned up until that point was to prepare me for my ultimate role. And so I started checking out. Not completely of course. I was still very involved in our ministry, and totally invested and committed to our church and teenagers, but things had changed inside of me. My priorities had changed. I understood from day one that my main focus would be and SHOULD be my kid. Nothing came before Jonah. Maybe I took that to an extreme at times. I hate to think that I hurt people or distanced people as I learned to balance my life a little more, but I was doing what my heart and soul demanded. I was CALLED to be a mom. God placed this divine role on my shoulders and how could I place anything, any person, any ministry, in front of it?

So I lost myself in this ultimate role of motherhood. Around my 25th birthday, when Jonah was almost a year old, I started getting really depressed. I had recently stopped nursing and felt like a failure. I was chubbier than I’d ever been and lacked any desire to change my lifestyle or eating habits. My closest friends were busy with their lives and I felt alone. Ministry wasn’t going the way we thought it should and we were frustrated and feeling hopeless. I felt so stuck. Zach noticed. He was ready to pack me up and send me to Canada to stay with a friend for a couple weeks and get my issues worked out. But I knew that wouldn’t solve anything. My problem wasn’t my circumstances. It was me. It was my fault.

In my desire to be pleasing to God, to be the best at motherhood, to win some non-existent trophy, I totally and completely lost sight of myself, my marriage, my ministry and my relationship with Christ. And if I’m being honest (which I always am on here), I still haven’t figured out the balance.

As I was looking at pictures of myself that were taken during a time where God was actively speaking to me and changing me, I started to choke up. My days in Bible School were so sweet, so life changing, and they are so far away from me now. I can never get them back. God was so real to me at that time and I find myself looking back to the good ‘ole days and comparing my relationship with Him now to what it was then.

Which is ridiculous.

That time in my life was awesome, but it was a season, and it’s over now. At the time, I naively thought that my life would always consist of prophecy and 24/7 prayer and constant worship, but that’s just not the case. Life changes. Life happens.

I’m not a Bible School student anymore. I don’t have time to pray for hours every day. Sometimes, I don’t have time to pray at all. I squeeze in 15 minutes of Jesus time while I’m in the shower, if I even get to have a shower that day. Some days, the closest I get to God is when I’m sitting outside Jonah’s door at night, crying, because I failed as a mom that day. Most days, I read more Dr. Seuss than Scripture.

I am totally 100% lost in my role as a mom, and I’ve come to terms with it. Last year, I was trying so hard to be the Kristen that woke up early every morning to pray, and heard God speak, and felt as close to Him as the air I breathed, while simultaneously being fully present in my son’s life and fully present in my teenager’s lives, and fully present in my husband’s life. I allowed myself to be pulled in so many different directions and let guilt rule my heart when I failed. Now, I’ve realized that God’s grace is sufficient for this mama. He doesn’t expect me to do it all. To be it all.

I think the downside of Bible School is that the atmosphere and experience is so ideal for a follower of Christ, that we don’t know what to do when it’s not there anymore. We expect it all to come with us when we get out into the “real world”, and when it doesn’t, we feel like we’re falling from grace. They don’t teach you life things there. There’s no class on how to be a passionate follower and example of Christ when you’re working to make ends meat and don’t know where your next check is coming from. They don’t teach you how hard being a parent will be and how that will test your faith more than ANYTHING ELSE in life. There’s no class on feeling lonely, being friendless, and the hurt in ministry that can rock your faith to its core. They don’t teach you what life is like when you don’t have people walking up to you and calling you out on things in your life that they have no business knowing. And they CERTAINLY don’t teach you how to maintain your walk with Christ when all of a sudden you graduate and your support system is totally and completely gone.

It was never my school’s responsibility to teach me those things, but I wish someone would’ve warned me how hard it would be. Maybe then I would’ve understood that God doesn’t guilt his children into loving him more. Sometimes you have seasons of prayer and fasting and sometimes you have seasons of Cheerios and Super Why. Sometimes you wake up at the crack of dawn to intercede for some unknown cause, and sometimes you wake up at the crack of dawn to clean poop out of your hair. Each season is equally sacred.

I might not be going out and reaching the lost for Christ, but raising children is the greatest evangelistic endeavor. I don’t hole myself up in a closet and pray for hours anymore, but I can assure you, as a parent, my prayers are shorter and more desperately fervent than anything I prayed before I had kids. I don’t have times of intense one on one worship anymore, but I can tell you that there have been moments when we didn’t know how we were gonna make it and God did something amazing. We might not have jumped up and down, “got the holy ghost”, or fell on our knees in worship, but in the midst of changing diapers and punishing our kid for doing something stupid, our hearts have been filled with praise and overwhelmed with love. You can experience the sacred in the mundane. I know this for fact.

So, friends of mine, be encouraged. You can never be a failure in Christ if you belong to Him. His grace is sufficient for you and He is faithful even when we’re not.

emory lewis 115 shtuff 090

 

Comments

  1. Aaron says

    I love this. Thanks for sharing. So many great thoughts from experience in what you’ve written! Something that really stands out…”You can experience the sacred in the mundane.” So true! Thanks again!

  2. Angela says

    I can sincerely relate to this post. I find myself caught up in work, church, ministry, motherhood and just sneaking a prayer in here and there. Your words have resonated deeply within me…thank you for sharing your heart so publicly. I am encouraged :)

  3. says

    Good post.
    I am in my fifties and in a different stage of life.
    –Do not give up on God. Continue those quick, little prayers. (God understands you are busy w/little ones right now…)

    –Go to a church that provides Sunday School for your kids (not only are you “passing on the baton” but YOU are getting that much needed break once a week! =) )

    –Later on in life, when the kids will not be so dependent on you =in their teens- and when THEIR friends will influence THEIR choices, you will (1) have time to & (2) want to pray to someone who can control your kids’ actions & desires! (Hopefully their friends will be their church friends!)
    —Hang in there and by all means, don’t give up on God!

  4. says

    Hey!
    So I stumbled upon your blog and instantly fell in love with your posts. I can’t say that I love everything and am amazed at how you do this and that simply because I haven’t read much, but I can say that I’m excited to read more and to follow you in on your journey of motherhood. I must say though that this post in particular struck me. I laughed, and cried, and breathed a sigh of relief. I went to a Bible School as well and have been feeling the same things. I agree that it wasn’t up to them to teach me how to relentlessly follow Christ when your husband is working 60+ hrs a week and you feel like a single mother, or any of the number of difficult situations we find ourselves in. It would have been nice though to have someone tell us though, that it wasn’t going to be all rosy when we hit reality.When we weren’t submerged in the Word and surrounded by other believers all the time. So I wanted to say thank you, for understanding and showing me that I’m not a failure or stupid or that I missed something. That I’m not the only one who feels like this.

    Thank you for reminding me of Grace.
    Samantha recently posted…In the Ordinary and Mundane…My Profile

    • says

      Well I’m SO glad you found me, Samantha!! It really is a tough adjusting to the post Bible school reality. I’m six years out and I still haven’t figured it out yet. You’re definitely not missing anything. It’s just tough.

  5. says

    Wow, is this something I can relate to! I hear so many women (and men) at church saying how much time they spend in the Word and in prayer, and it makes me feel so guilty. I went to seminary for a Master’s degree so I could do ministry, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I used to spend hours reading the Bible and studying and praying and planning church things. Now I’m running to Scouts and school activities and music lessons and birthday parties. I’m active in church, but I feel like I’m trying to earn my way back into God’s grace, which in know isn’t how it works.
    It’s just good to hear that I’m not the only one struggling at times with what I am and am not doing. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Strangely, I felt closest to God when I was going through a divorce and was on my knees on a daily basis. Sometimes, I remember those times and miss them. I miss the closeness I felt to Him then. And for years when I struggled with infertility, I imagined that God would never allow me to have children because they would take over my life and take my focus off of Him. But I was wrong. He blessed me with an amazing little person and she really has taken over my life…and I feel like the time and energy I have for Him is just not enough. So thanks for this reminder that worship is in the cleaning of sticky fingers and whispering of night-time prayers.

  7. says

    Thank you for this post. I have been in tears for about an hour after during our budget for the month. I quit my job 2 years ago when my daughter was born and there are days when I want my job, my interaction with humans and my paycheck back. Since quitting, we have moved back to TX to be close to my family and had another kid. I feel like I have absolutely NOTHING in common with my old life. Honestly, I miss it. I know God called me to be at home with our children and I have to trust that He is going to provide but when I look at the numbers on paper, it is scary. Thank you for being real & honest. Its nice to know that people are writing about the “real world” of being a parent.

  8. JulyCan says

    How true is it! It’s not only God, is you first family, your old friends.. Some times is to much. I felt like running and have time to think and see what I’m doing or what is the direction I have to take. But when everything over comes. I breath, pray, see my little ones, and some times I cried like crazy woman… And say to myself this day will end, tomorrow it’s a new beggining. Just a a sept at the time…
    True it’s a Working Proces, that no one tell you how will be. The only thing I got from older people (dad/mom age) you will see when you growup! Did you think, they try not to scare you? Like parenhood/being marry It’s a mistery you have to be on the club to let you know what is all about it?! Discover by yourself?

    Thank You!!

  9. Charity says

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I find myself feeling the same way and beating myself up constantly about it as a mother eith four children under the age of 9, but this was very encouraging to my spirit. God bless you!

  10. Heidi says

    Can we be friends? Haha! No but seriously, I was literally just journaling (for the first time in DAYS) trying to shuffle through some scattered thoughts when my SIL sent me this blog post and you literally wrote in words everything I could’ve wrote on my blog and probably have a time or two. I just recently posted about loneliness in motherhood too. Thanks for the vulnerability and encouragement. I have a 14 mo old and another baby boy coming in 5 weeks. It was very refreshing reading some of your posts.

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