Connecting with God can be difficult in many stages of life, but I must say, the stage of young kids is an uber-tough one! Gone are the long times of quiet prayer . . . replaced by utter, blessed, beloved, mind-numbing family chaos!
And yet, through it all, courses a deep desire: For real intimacy with God. For meaningful connection . . . somehow!
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Picture for a moment what it might be like to live as a “Mother Lawrence.” Constant communion with God through diapers, wiping runny noses, cleaning toys, disciplining, dealing with continual interruptions—could it be possible?
This isn’t about doing anything outwardly; it’s simply a re-focusing of our inner perspective. My friend Amie describes her mind-set shift this way: “I can’t count the number of times in the past six months that I have sat down to read a passage from Scripture or to pray or to enjoy a quiet moment when the cries of my son have broken in.
“I used to think that God wanted us to pencil him in—that he was as linear and Western-minded as myself and that he was really much more pleased when I had ‘prayer time’ and ‘Scripture-reading time’ and had my life sufficiently organized so that as long as he occupied a certain percentage of my day planner he was appeased and all was well. But he breaks in like a crying child. He is in the interruption. He shows me that he is always there—on the subway, while I am changing a diaper, in the supermarket, behind the window where the widow sits alone. And whether I choose to acknowledge him or not is up to me.”
Amie has zeroed in on the foundational idea of practicing God’s presence: simply recognizing the truth that as a result of our salvation, God’s presence is continually with us. We just need to attentively focus on this truth and not lose sight of it even in the midst of interruptions and distractions. Though outward demands of work or home can draw our minds away from God, “It is the heart…whose attention we must carefully focus on God.” Developing this type of mind-set (maybe “heart-set” would be a better term) requires some effort on our part as we constantly remind ourselves: God is here. God sees my life. God hears my heart. God knows my needs.
God doesn’t require that our prayers be “deep,” well-formulated, or profound; God doesn’t mind if on some days 99% of our conversation with him is made up of S.O.S. prayers: “God, help!” In the presence of our loving God, we can just be real. Our conversation with God can be as simple as speaking phrases to God like…
“I feel stressed right now. God, please help me to calm down”
or “Thanks for my son, God. He’s so adorable”
or even “Potty training drives me crazy! God, show me how to help my child learn this!”
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Consider reading, praying through, and trying out more of the ideas in my book The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival. You CAN connect with God and experience his presence during this stage! It just may look quite a bit different than other stages of life.