I live in the UK and have four children under three, so over the past three years I have been working day and night and no longer have a good relationship with God. I have been saved over ten years, but feel each year I am drifting farther away. Is there hope of having a renewed and energetic relationship when I have very few moments to myself?
I have started shopping on the internet to make myself feel a little bit more alive. I look forward to the packages coming because it makes me feel someone cares about me, but when they get delivered, I feel just sad and empty again.
Please advise me, I feel like I am in a never ending desert.
Dear Sister A.,
I’d stop with the internet shopping, though relatively tame, it’s still just an attempt to fill a void in your heart that only God can fill. In this life, no matter how busy (this Andrea needs to listen up to this, too) we always have time for the things that really matter to us. Take time to write out your daily schedule, including how you spend the little down time you do have and you should find that to be true. It’s often quite embarrassing what our actual daily routines, the parts we have control over at least, indicate we value most.
Relationships don’t have autopilot. Left alone, they donâ€™t coast on, but drift apart. Itâ€™s the same with Christ. To move forward, we have to keep our foot on the gas and the gearshift in drive. Shift into neutral, and you will slide back down the hill, guaranteed.
If you have an appointment book, write God in, fifteen minutes or half an hour, and keep your appointment. If anyone finds out, let them laugh, or inform them He’s the most important appointment on your daily schedule. Donâ€™t listen to the devil, either, itâ€™s never a waste of time to pray. Keeping in touch with God daily is the best time-investment youâ€™ll ever make. He gives us strength to carry on, focus to stay on task, and wisdom to know what we can/should cut from our schedules. When we pray daily, we stay closer to Him and stray less from His will, which always means a lighter load.
If you’re a morning person, try getting up half an hour earlier than usual. The spiritual refreshing will more than make up for the lost sleep. If you’re a night owl, reserve part of your lunch break or the last half hour before bed for God. If you like to take bubble baths to relax, thatâ€™s also an excellent time to pray.
Also consider purchasing a daily devotion, I’m certain they have plenty designed for busy moms on the market. They tend to be short and can offer guidance on a bible reading schedule, which is another idea. Commit yourself to reading a portion of scripture every day. Either topical, as from a passage linked to a devotion, or just, “I’m going to read the book of Proverbs this month” or “I”m going to take the next fifty days (or more if you break up 119) to read the Psalms” With your schedule, don’t try the, “I’m going to read the bible in a year” one. The new testament alone might be an attainable goal, but three years would be more realistic for most of us, for both the New and Old Testaments. If you do something like that, mix up the new and old testament readings. Trust me, if you make it through Leviticus, the last thing you’ll feel like reading is Numbers. Even meditating on a single proverb a day would make a difference.
If kids are making it hard to find time, most kids like to read. Especially if you pick an easy reader version, you can share your bible reading with them. You’ll be learning together and growing in God together. Whatever version you choose, in explaining the Word to themâ€”our most sacred dutyâ€”you’ll learn so much yourself.
The busier the schedule, the more we have to commit ourselves to “pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean pray 27/7, that means to include Christ in every decision you make. To make Christ your focus, no matter what you happen to be doing. Take a moment before that meeting to pray for peace between rivals, when a kid defies you, take a minute to pray for wisdom before responding. Jesus is the easiest relationship to repair in that regards. We usually can’t correct the drift in our marriages by taking our spouses to work with us, but we can take Jesus with us. In fact, He wants us to take Him with us everywhere we go and consult Him on everything we do.
Of course He has this thing about being the Boss, too. More often than we like to talk about, that’s whatâ€™s coming between us and God. When we’ve wronged someone, or harbor ill thoughts towards them, we have a tendency to avoid them, and God is no exception. Sometimes, we have to travel in the desert to reach the promised land. And sometimes, we’ve gotten there and our disobedience has turned us back out into the desert. Thankfully, we donâ€™t have to stay there forty years. Get that appointment book I mentioned out, and spend your first appointment with God examining yourself and asking Him to reveal any sin in your heart coming between you. If you want a vibrant relationship with God, you’ll have to settle any accounts He brings up to move forward.
Even when sin isnâ€™t an issue, Christians do go through seasons of dryness, that’s natural. It tests us to see if we will believe He’s there even when we can’t feel Him. If we persevere by faith in our devotions, He will make rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19,20) and make the fountain of living water to flow in us again (John 7:37-39, John 4:7-14)
If you’re not in church, find one, and if you are, you might want to pray about going to a different one, sometimes this emptiness can come as a result of the wrong church, ie, a house of bread that’s empty or serving spiritual donuts. Also, fasting can release the flood, and the Lord dwells in the praises of his people.
If you can’t remember the last time you really worshiped, take five to fifteen minutes, turn off all distractions, turn on your favorite worship CD, and sing along. Or, if you have the capability, you might want to burn yourself a CD, or put together a play list on your computer, of worships songs that speak about water. As to what to do with the kids, put the baby in the crib or playpen and tell the toddlers it’s time for family worship. Doing this with them will draw you closer to God AND each other. Can’t sing? No problem, God said make a joyful noise, not a beautiful melody. Add dancing (He also doesn’t care about coordination!) and you’ve got your workout routine taken care of, too.
Teach your little ones to worship and they’ll remind you what a fresh, energetic relationship with God looks like. Yes, worshiping may be a little humbling at first, but God loves humility. In James 4:10, he promised if you humble yourself in His sight, He will lift you up. And unlike internet shopping, even when the music stops, the joy continues on.
Love in Christ,
linked to: Adam’s Blog
Hi Andrea! My name is Chris and you may remember me from Lost Genre Guild and Christian Fic WRE, although I am not particularly active in either one.
I would like to respond to this lady. I have been there–I had 3 under 3 at one time and it is terribly terribly hard. It will be hard for a few years. It can be terribly lonely and terribly isolating, even if one attends bible study once a week.
Your suggestions are all very good, but I would go a couple of steps further. (I’ll address this mom)
1. Sleep. If they kids take a nap, forget about the house. Take a nap.
2. If there is anyway you can get a teen or preteen from your church to come and help you once a week, do it. Even if the teen/pre-teen is there when you are there, you will have a chance to breath.
3. Join a mom’s group. Doesn’t matter if it’s Christian or secular. I belonged to a secular group and it really helped *us*. We all had very small children and we were desperate to get out and talk with adults.
You are obviously online so find one there too! I belong to a Christian support group for Autistic children. They have saved my life from complete despair.
4. I have no idea how many bathrooms you have but put your devotionals on the back of your toilet tank. I’m totally serious. If you can find a yearly one, even better.
5. Give yourself a little break. This is hard advice to give because I never ever took that advice and people told me all the time. I refused to leave my adequate and capable husband with the children because he works so hard and I felt bad for him. You know what? I should have listened to others and given myself a break.
IF you can get out for a couple of hours, go. Even if it’s to the grocery store by yourself, you will be rejuvenated.
6. Journal your journey. I did. Things that you have always struggled with will come up in this season of your life and it could potentially knock you down. But God is teaching you, strengthening you, even when you are at your lowest.
7. If you find yourself really really depressed, tell someone. Tell someone, an older woman at your church would be really good for this. Depression runs in my family and the medicated it with alcohol. You could easily medicate it with shopping. Be warned.
Tell someone. And if they don’t listen, tell someone until someone DOES listen to you.
8. Find wonder with the little things. I never ever paid attention to butterflies until my kids really got into them. We saw them all summer. I would have missed them if not for them.
9.I found this a very hard time of life. Very demanding of everything-of who I was as Christian, as a wife, a mother, a human being.
People will tell you it doesn’t last long so enjoy it. If someone tells that to you, stick your tongue out at them. They are not in the trenches like you are. They are probably grandmas telling you that. It is hard in the trenches.
But even with all the diapers, the runny noses you wipe with your bare hand, the vaseline in the hair, the unrolled toilet paper on the floor of your bathroom, the broken lamp, the holes in the pants, the chocolate on the brand new ballerina dress, God will show you diamonds. Hold them. They are precious.
Now. Go take a nap.
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