Be inspired! I’m excited to launch a special focus in June featuring interviews with Christian women whose stories, thoughts, ideas, and choices inspire me—and will inspire you—to love more deeply, to seek God more passionately, and to live more abundantly.
To kick things off, we’re continuing the conversation with Julia Roller about motherhood and the spiritual life. (Click here to read part 1 – you’ll love it!). Julia’s new book Mom Seeks God honestly depicts the ups and downs—and the hidden beauties—of her journey as a mom toward experiencing God in new and different ways.
At the end of this post, read how you can easily enter a drawing to win a free signed copy of Mom Seeks God as well as a free, signed copy of my Bible study guide Awaken Your Soul!
Here’s part 2 of our conversation.
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Your book Mom Seeks God chronicles your experiences with different spiritual disciplines & practices and how they fit (or sometimes don’t) with the reality of motherhood. How has your faith-life (practices, etc.) grown and changed as a result of being a mom? What practices or disciplines seem to “work” best for you in this stage of life?
My faith life has changed in many ways, most of them for the better. I find that I see God more easily these days, in my children as they grow and learn, in my husband, in those around me. I feel less pressure to get everything right and more of a feeling of confidence that God can make beautiful things out of my broken and imperfect efforts.
The disciplines that are most dear to me right now are some of the disciplines of abstinence (of taking away rather than adding): simplicity, silence, fasting (from all kinds of things in addition to food). One of the overall things I realized after that year was that I was trying so hard to DO MORE. In order to be a better parent, to be a stronger Christian, I thought I had to add more stuff to my list—more activities, more books, more prayer, more time. No wonder I felt so exhausted all the time!
It surprised me how much I benefited from and felt close to God through the disciplines that involved doing less. As I was able to turn things off (in the practice of silence), give something up in order to increase my focus on God (fasting) and try to do one thing at a time (simplicity), I found that I was able to open up some space in my life to slow down and listen for God’s voice.
Prayer is always a great place to begin. I think we often put prayer off—to a time when we have more time, when we have quiet, when we can really focus. For moms, that time may never come! I am a big fan of praying short prayers in the moment. When I tell someone I’m going to pray for them, I do it right then. When I find myself in a moment of frustration or anger, I try to take time out to pray right then. This gets easier with practice. I also encourage moms to look for that time of day that can be the best time for them to have a consistent daily time with God. For me it’s at night before bedtime; I know for many other moms, the early morning works best. I love the idea of coming before God when I am at my best and since I am a night owl, for me that time is at night, when I can reflect on my day and look forward to the next one.
Study is another big one. I think most of us want to spend more time reading the Bible. The most important thing I discovered about Bible study was how closely it tied in with me for fellowship. As much as I enjoy reading the Bible by myself, I think it’s so important also to study in a group where we can keep each other balanced and motivated to keep going, where we can answer each other’s questions and offer each other support and encouragement.
We are not meant to be Christians all by ourselves; we are meant to live our lives within the fellowship of Christian community, and honestly, that can be tough for someone like me, who is a bit of an introvert. But the rewards of fellowship are so great. We’re very lucky now that so many churches offer childcare so that many of us can make these groups work for our families. And of course, there are great Bible study communities online.
How has motherhood — for all of its mess of beauty and challenge — enriched your spiritual life?
I truly believe that motherhood is the most powerful spiritual discipline I have ever practiced. Nothing has brought me closer to God or helped to make me more like Jesus than the gift of my boys and the privilege of caring for them. My boys have helped me to take my focus from what I wanted, what I needed, what I thought would make me happy and place it on them—what they want, what they need, how I can make them happy, and that has helped to transform me spiritually. Although motherhood initially made me feel distant from God, I would now say that I’ve learned more about God from being a mom than I did in most of my years of studying about God in school. About love and sacrifice and joy and the beauty and meaning of the mundane and what a precious, precious gift every second of life is.
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Thanks so much, Julia!
Friends, learn more about Julia over at www.juliaroller.com and be sure to check out Mom Seeks God: Seeking Grace in the Chaos. It is refreshing, welcoming, honest, and truly inspiring. You can also find some of my own reflections on the blessed collision between motherhood and spiritual disciplines in The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival.
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I’ll randomly draw a winner on Thursday, June 5th!
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Stay tuned this month for more profiles and interviews of women who will spur you on in your own dreaming, living, and loving. Be inspired!