Motherhood is hard when your children are young and one hundred percent dependent on you for most everything; especially when you have a non-verbal child with special needs. I’m left feeling deflated at the end of the day, more often than I’d like to admit. Like every ounce of me has been taken, by little demands, wishes, requests…all day long. And then, I find myself going to bed thinking, “I should have ____” … played with them more, read them books, yelled less, shown more grace, talked to them about Jesus, or slowed down and listened – really listened.
Sometime this past fall, life began to take on a whole new meaning for me. Maybe it was watching close friends lose a child or dealing with the reality of chronic illnesses of my own and my son’s. I felt an urge, a pull, deep within – a void that wasn’t being filled. I knew it was God, stirring up inside of me what I didn’t want to admit. I wasn’t being intentional in my walk with Him, in my daily faith, in my prayers and in reading His Word. But it’s hard to find the time when one child is up most every night, or wakes up before the sun, or doesn’t go to bed without melatonin. Those are all excuses though, and I knew it. Stress and anxiety were taking over my life and robbing me of my faith and my family. I decided it was time to be intentional in my walk of faith and sat down to really think through ways I could do this on a daily basis.
I know it sounds simple and basic, but for me, being intentional about loving God throughout my day reminds me of who I’m living for. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Making an effort to acknowledge God, whether with short thank you’s or simple prayers, keeps Him at the forefront of my mind and heart.
STUDY GOD’S WORD
Despite having young children, little sleep and constant needs to meet, getting into God’s word needed to be a priority of my own. Not every day allows time to sit and really study my Bible, but I’ve recently signed up for daily emails and started following She Reads Truth on Instagram. Being intentional, even when reading/scrolling through my news feeds and coming across a verse or two, helps to shift my focus to the Lord. If I can’t sit down and spend time in the word, I have these daily readings and verses to speak truth into my hectic days. And reading those words, really studying scriptures, always leaves me refreshed and renewed. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Prayer has never been a strong suit of mine, I’ll admit. Sitting down and praying over lists and requests has always been hard for me. Laying down at night and trying to say my prayers almost always ends with me falling asleep half way through them. Maybe it’s this season of motherhood or maybe that’s not what prayer “looks like” for me. I usually find myself driving alone in the car or out on a walk, sporadically praying as things pop into my mind, weigh on my heart or are cause for thanksgiving. My prayers probably seem more like conversations. I’ve also found in recent years, especially since having children and mom-brain, that prayer journals are a great way for me to pray for specific needs, people, requests, etc. It’s a way for me to be intentional in my daily prayers and be able to look back at how God has answered (or not) prayers and worked in our lives throughout the weeks and months. No matter what shape or fashion my prayers takes, I always try to remember the verse, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
Stress and anxiety have been a big struggle of mine, more than I realized, these past few years. Another verse I turn to often, when I feel myself slipping into the depths of fear and anxiety is, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
A friend recently told me about a “God Can.” The idea is simple: take an old coffee can or jar, name it the “God Can” and whenever you feel like you can’t do something or begin getting anxious or stressed, write it down and put it in the “God Can” because whatever we can’t deal with or can’t do, God can! My goal for 2018 is to be intentional in my faith and intentional with my family and relationships. I’ve let the grips of anxiety control me and my health for too long. It’s time to really turn them over to God and press forward in our journey of healing!