One new mother wrote to ask me how I balance my family, the tasks of running my household, intimacy with the Lord and my service to others. This momma is an active member in her church and loves to serve the less fortunate in her community…so motherhood had really thrown her for a loop. She had not expected the needs of her child to wiggle into every neatly compartmentalized aspect of her life. Boy can I relate.
In the church today, moms are told we need to serve in children’s ministry. The sick need help with meal delivery. Oh, and there is an outreach this weekend where we can make a difference in the community around us.
Our extended family has needs as well. Grandma needs a lift to the doctor. My mother-in-law wants me to go to a luncheon. My dad needs help picking out my mom’s birthday gift, couldn’t I just run to the mall real quick for him?
We want to grow in our relationship with God and we desire intimacy with our Maker. We know that to lead our children to Jesus we will have to teach them the Bible…but there’s so much we must learn first! How do we find time to do that in the midst of all the above mentioned demands as well as those of our husbands and our children?
Priorities, darling. Prioritize your list of to do’s in terms of what your husband needs, your baby needs and what you need. And even that list is not a hard and fast rule…because there are days when baby comes first– he’s sick or cutting a tooth. Other times YOU will have to lay out your needs and let your husband know that you need a little break– even if it means he has to order pizza. EVERYONE, and I mean everyone and everything comes beyond fourth place in terms of where they sit in the priorities after these top three!
With a new baby it’s likely you will have to cut back on your volunteering and especially on running other people’s errands. It’s just for a season. It’s better to cut back and enjoy your baby’s childhood than it is to spend every spare second running from one demand to another. Don’t let anyone steal these precious and fleeting years from you. In five years you won’t remember how many “obligations” you turned down, but you will have some incredible memories of time spent with your child.
And last, when it comes to intimacy with the Lord, and spending time with Him…let’s all please remember you can not get any more intimate than having His Spirit reside in you already. Worship can be music you listen to in the car or as you go about your day in the home. Raising your child is worship. Talking to Him as you go about your day is prayer. Listening to sermons as you walk with the jogger, falling asleep listening to your favorite pastor…these are all ways that I find to grow in my faith and understanding while still meeting the needs of my very big family.
A “quiet time” in the morning, before the rest of the family wakes up and gets moving is wonderful– but I stopped slaying myself for the days that didn’t happen. I stopped listening to any voice that laid some burden on me about “If I really love God I’ll make time to spend with him FIRST every morning…” My word…what guilt. I do love God! That’s why I do what I do- I raise these kids because I believe He wants to use them to do something amazing in this country! But if I can’t wake up at 5am to pray because I was up till 3am writing, or walking the floor with a teething baby, or meeting the “needs” of my husband…If I am physically exhausted because I have a newborn that is still waking every three hours…I refuse to be made to feel GUILTY that I don’t love Jesus enough. I worship Him with MY LIFE.
And next, try to remember that life is not so compartmentalized. Your used to living a life of serving others in your community–which is wonderful. But never place serving others above serving your family. The simple but huge task of caring for a life, a child, trumps any “service” you will ever render outside your home. Don’t feel like you can’t meet everyone’s needs and expectations…YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Realize that LIFE is WORSHIP.
It’s just a season but it’s a season you can never ever get back. Your intimacy with the Lord is never at risk…He’s right inside you.