Your hands are full and your eyes are tired, but you can still find that special connection with God.
I don’t know how many of you, like me, have found yourself in the midst of raising children, chasing toddlers, cleaning house, tending to cooking and caring for a husband, and discovered you are just plain MISSING your time with the Lord like you used to know it.
Gone are the days of being able to have a 2-hour quiet time whenever I felt the need. When I became a wife, a homeowner, and then a momma, my quiet times were far from daily, far from “uninterrupted,” so far from 2 hours long, and just simply not like it was before.
I really wrestled with self-condemnation, guilt, sadness, a sense of loss and frustration over my struggle to find time with the Lord. I would constantly replay zealous, clichéd phrases that I’ve heard in the past, whispering, “If you want it bad enough, you’ll do what it takes to get alone with Him” or the comparative guilt trips of, “I bet so-and-so still has awesome times with the Lord.”
No matter how hard I tried to ignore them and banish them, those old voices of comparison and guilt would sneak up to rob me of what meager times I MIGHT get with the Lord. I determined, in an attempt to remedy the feelings of guilt, I would “do what it takes” to try to meet with Him. And wouldn’t you know it, those early mornings, late nights, or isolated nap times for the boys would be the times they conveniently woke up early, stayed up late, or struggled to take a nap. I ended up more frustrated than ever and sometimes, honestly, resentful at my children, for “stealing” my relationship with the Lord from me.
A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of being able to take a trip with some of our college students to a Christian worship night in Houston. While there, on my own, the room was dark, the worship sweet, no one was asking me for juice or had snot running down their chin, so I just sat down and enjoyed being still and quiet with the Lord.
I found myself, as I have so many other times, approaching Him immediately with my apologies…
I’m sorry I haven’t had time with you like I want.
I’m sorry I haven’t made time for you.
I’m sorry I haven’t woken up early, stayed up to pray, read your word, etc…
and the list goes on.
However, these weren’t apologies led by the Holy Spirit’s gentle conviction. These were apologies, though sincere, that were born out of guilt and insufficiency. In the middle of my self-disappointment, the Lord kindly interrupted me. He said:
“Jenilee, stop. Stop apologizing. I see your life. Just take the moments of love when they are available. Seize the moments of love when you can, and enjoy it. Enjoy Me.”
As I continued to argue, “But Lord, that’s not fair to You. I’m not loving You like You deserve to be loved! I’m sorry I am failing You!” In the next few moments, He continued to speak to me, so tenderly, sharing His heart for me this mothering season, and I would say, His heart for YOU in YOUR season.
“Jenilee, think of my servant David, the only man attributed in scripture to being “a man after My own heart”. Often the picture portrayed is one of David having ethereal, blissful, spiritual moments in the quiet fields with no one to interrupt him.
…But look closer…
He was a shepherd, as you are as a mom. He shepherded sheep, you shepherd your children. David may have wanted to close his eyes and get lost in hours of blissful worship, as you do, but he couldn’t afford that. He had many little sheep that needed constant attention. He had to bring them to water, bring them to food, keep them corralled, chase them down when they wandered, keep a constant eye out for wolves, bears, lions, and then kill the beasts when they challenged the safety of his lambs…. much like you do for your “flock”.
You have to feed and nurture your children, keep them in safety, watching constantly that the enemy is not attempting to prey on them, and then you must stand up against the enemy when he dares to touch your child. You must constantly be on alert, as a shepherd, day and night.
There are moments of quiet, but even in those moments of quiet, you are watching, listening, caring. Just like David. Yet, he took the moments of love when he could. He sang while he watched. He listened to God’s voice while he scanned the herd for wandering sheep. He drew on God’s strength and wisdom when he fought beasts. Though shepherding was a very simple job to the outside eye, the Lord saw what it was creating inside David. He was molding him to be established as a great king of Israel.
You shepherd your children for at least 18 years, and it may feel somewhat aimless at times. It may even feel like you’re giving up much of your greatest potential in order to just wipe noses or scrub behind ears. It may even feel that there is greatness within you just lying there, waiting, untapped.
Yet, at the right moment, those years of faithfulness, commitment, and fierce care are laying a foundation for you to step into the “kingship” seasons that you sense residing quietly inside.
When you feel your parenthood is an obstacle and the menial tasks of raising children is pointless, remember David; must continue on in your faithfulness and be encouraged that it is not a waste, it is not fruitless, and it is not wasting an ounce of what God has placed in you.
The greatest king of Israel spent the majority of his young life raising sheep… and yet he made a great king of Israel because he seized the moments of love when they were available, he lived in God’s presence… and THAT built him into a King.
Realize this season of your life is bearing more fruit in you than most would see or appreciate. God sees, God knows, and He loves this great work you’re accomplishing of raising your children into great people…leaders, who will one day leave a legacy for God. Your faithfulness is your greatness.
If you find yourself in this season of limited alone time, weave God time throughout your tasks:
- Talk with him as you vacuum.
- Put on worship music in the car as you run your children all over town.
- Read your devotional outloud during lunch and teach your children as you learn.
- Share God’s heart for your kids as they struggle and you’ll be touched by His spirit in the process
We can grab those moments of God’s love, and tuck them away in our hearts, chasing after Him in the little things, and seeing the joy of life He has created for us.
Isaiah 40:11 says “…He gently leads those who are with young.” Keep your chin up mama, this is a beautiful season you’re in and your growth with Jesus happens amidst your little lambs.
Jenilee Samuel is founder & podcast host at Java with Jen Podcast, CEO of J. Samuel Styling, mom to four boys, and serves alongside her husband as Executive Pastors in Orange, Texas. She grew up as a missionary kid and felt a call to ministry and missions at 14, when she started making disciples as a small group leader who trained other leaders as well. She and Stephen have been Pastors in various roles since 2005. Her personal mission is to hasten Jesus’ return through relationship-discipleship, equipping the church & it’s leaders to hear His voice and walk as Jesus did, and funding missions through business. She has spoken to groups ranging from 8 person Bible studies, to 85,000-person stadium events, but she considers her greatest achievements to be those she has discipled into a deeper walk with Jesus, who then disciple others to know him better too. Discipleship & hearing God’s voice is at the core of her life-mandate… that and coffee on the side doesn’t hurt ;).