My first Mother’s Day was a long time coming. We’d been married almost a decade before the Lord blessed us with our long-prayed-for bundle of joy. And with all that waiting came a heap of hopes and dreams for what our family might look like.
Then came reality. The most surprising bit of reality has been my own limitations. Maybe it’s because I’m a slightly older mom, but I quite regularly bump into my limits as a mom and wife.
While we all have limitations on our energy and abilities, I have learned to manage those limitations by keeping an uncluttered soul—or at least making that a big priority.
When our son was about a month old, I remember reading a parenting article that quoted a board member of the American Association of Pediatrics; in it, the doctor said that the number one threat to the health of this generation of children in America was disengaged parents. The article went on to discuss career juggling, sharing custody, and the escapist habits of a new generation of parents hooked on screens and devices.
Watching myself and other moms try to connect with our families, I’ve seen a principle at work: when we are emotionally/mentally overbooked or clogged with pain, we can’t connect. Whether we duck into workaholic lifestyles to escape or just glue our faces to a screen, when we are cluttered inside it creates a giant wall between us and those we love most.
As Mother’s Day approaches, consider investing in some good self-examination, prayer, and soul-cleansing. It could be the best Mother’s Day gift for you and your family.
1. Pray for wisdom and guidance.
You need God’s guidance to figure out where to start and how to make soul-sorting a regular habit, especially if you are a single mom or a mom with littles.
Sometimes, a walk with a baby in the stroller and an index card of verses to pray and meditate on was the most spiritually and mentally cleansing time I could get. Being outside away from the house chores has been a key element for me to facilitate meeting with the Lord undistracted.
Find one practice that can help you meet with the Lord, and if you don’t know how to do it, pray for the Lord’s leading.
As a new mom, this verse helped me have grace for myself when my expectations for my spiritual walk exceeded my abilities: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
God created motherhood and He gently leads us with little ones because He knows it is a very consuming, intense phase of life. So, pursue a habit of soul-sorting, but don’t make it burdensome. Ask the Lord to show you how best to meet with Him.
Thankfully we don’t have to find green pastures on our own; He’s the one who will lead us there. But be sure, in the midst of all your busyness, to pursue Him and lean into Him, however and wherever you can.
2. Use Scripture.
God’s word is so powerful that He spoke the very world into existence; it is living and active. When we are seeking renewal, there is no better source to go to than God’s word. Here are a few of my favorite verses to rephrase into prayers to the Lord:
“My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:25)
“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14)
“Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief.’” (Mark 9:24)
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
“You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken,’ nor to your land will it any longer be said, ‘Desolate’; but you will be called, ‘My delight is in her,’ and your land, ‘Married’; for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:3-5)
You can take all those verses and use them to guide your prayer time with the Lord. For example:
I might ask the Lord to help me in the places where my unbelief hinders my relationship with Him; I would list out the ways I know my faith is weak or strained (like in a situation that stirs up anxiety instead of confidence in God’s provision) and ask for His grace to cover those areas and supply me with fresh faith.
I might take the portion from Isaiah and pray that the Lord would shift my perspective about myself to the way He sees me.
Using God’s word to guide my prayers has been so fruitful in my life. I hope if you don’t already regularly do this, that perhaps you will start. Find your own set of verses to pray back to the Lord and keep them handy. I have sticky notes and printed Bible verses sprinkled around the kitchen and my office area so that I can be easily reminded of the verses I need to pray into my life.
Again, getting Scripture into your heart for the purpose of keeping your heart and mind aligned with truth can be as extensive or as simple as your phase of life allows. So, be encouraged that even if you can’t get away for a women’s retreat weekend, you can still saturate your heart and mind with Scripture.
3. Be thankful.
Interestingly, in the Old Testament, the Israelites would regularly send out the worship team ahead of the army before battle. Psalm 22 tells us that the Lord is enthroned on and inhabits the praises of His people. So, spending time in worship and thanksgiving is crucial for our mom-battles and for drawing near to the Lord.
I like to use Psalm 107 to guide an extended time of thankful prayer. It starts out like this: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…” and I use the rest of the Psalm as a template to express my thanks to God for all He has been and done in my life since I last sat down and counted His faithfulness toward me.
Writing out our gratitude to the Lord is one of the practices I think benefits us most when we can carve out some focused time. But cultivating a spirit of worship can be done while you sing a crying baby to sleep or belt out kids’ praise songs in the car running errands.
I remember the speaker at a women’s event I attended asking everyone what Christian worship album they listened to the most, and while I didn’t volunteer my answer, I knew it—it was an old Steve Green Hide ‘em in Your Heart album of Bible verse songs for kids. And you know what? That little kids’ album has blessed me, reminded me of needed truth for the day, and led my heart to worship.
So, don’t limit your worship to some expectation of spiritual experience you had before having kids. Grab gratitude every chance you get. Shout it out, dance around the living room with your two-year-old, and let it renew your spirit!
Moms, whether you brew a cup of tea and head out to the porch, soak in a tub of bubbles, or sneak in your time with God while you rock your baby, spend some time this Mother’s Day quieting your heart and mind, sorting through the burdens, lifting your heart in praise, and seeking ways you can make a habit of meeting with the Lord.
Keeping your heart, mind, and priorities aligned with God’s truth won’t make all your ducks line up in a row, but it will keep your heart ordered in such a way that you can better connect with the people and passions you love most. And that just might be the key to unlocking some of the best gifts for your calling as a mom!
If you’d like more encouragement on this topic, check out these two resources: Free to Flourish and Soul Sorting.
April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, being a wife, and serving at church, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April hereand here.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Ridofranz