“You might believe that you can’t afford to practice spiritual discipline because of the intensity of this season… the truth is, you can’t afford not to.” ~ Gentle Leading
About a week ago my wonderful sister-in-love sent me an article titled “Spiritual Discipline with a Newborn” on the blog Gentle Leading. Grace gave birth to Mae’s cousin exactly a month before she made her entrance, so we have been sharing and learning a lot together as we went through pregnancy and childbirth, and now taking care of babies together.
She sent it to me with perfect timing. I was (and still am) completely wrapped up in Mae’s schedule. When did she eat last, and when should she eat again? Did she eat enough? What can I do to comfort her at every sound? Thoughts throughout my day were occupied with Mae and her needs, and they even spread into my dreams and presented themselves the instant I awoke.
I would read my Bible as I held her sleeping in the mornings, but I was easily distracted with her sweet face or sleepy noises. I tried to pray while I was feeding her multiple times a day, but again I was distracted. Nursing was difficult for both of us at the beginning, and it required a lot of concentration and effort on my part. It is much easier now, but I still find my mind wandering with little sleep or mental power to keep my mind on track.
Although it seems as if my sleep deprived mind and physical obligation to constantly caring for this baby leaves me with no time to afford spiritual discipline, but I realize this is a time that is also absolutely crucial for me to be strong in my walk with God.
Mae is still tiny and she does not know what I am doing, other than I am a source of food and comfort for her, but I know time will fly and before I know it she will be watching my every action. I want to begin now to be the role model I want her to have in her life, and most importantly in spiritual matters. In Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood she says, “We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children.” How important is this role of motherhood, and how important it is for me to begin now to be that spiritual example for my daughter.
I am still learning and I am far from perfect, but I have been trying to focus more on spiritual things through my focus on my baby. It is God’s will for me to take care of my baby, so I am trying to use this time and focus to shift my thoughts to God. Whenever I am distracted by Mae’s cute face or noises, the thought should prompt me to thank God for her and turn my attention to Him in other ways. It is hard for me to read a large Bible while Mae is nursing, but my phone is small and easy to lay on the pillow beside me, so I have begun reading chapters here and there from the Bible as I feed her, trying to read slowly and deliberately.
It is true that I do not have the time or mental power to spend hours in an inductive study or in a deep word study involving the original language, but I do have time. I can put forth effort. Because it is so important for me in my personal walk as a Christian and in my roles as a wife and mother.
If you are a mother, what did/do you do to grow spiritually with a newborn? Even if you are not a mother, do you have any ideas or encouragement?