Encouragement for the Baby Mama's

In our band rehearsal last night, we started discussing the book "The Air I Breathe" by Louie Giglio.  It's not a new book by any means, but I find it to be a classic dissertation on the fundamental understanding of what worship is and who worshippers are.  Square one for turning on the light bulb over the heads of people who might think music in church is for entertainment or just audience participation.  It means something... everything; and it needs to be understood.  We talked at length about the fact that every living person past, present or future, is a worshipper.  Everyone worships something or someone; and as Louis said it better than I could, "Every heart has an altar and every altar has a throne."  And while God, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, is seated on the throne of time and eternity, whether or not He is seated on the throne of your life is variable moment by moment. 

Identifying what or who is seated on the throne is a matter of following the paths of your time and attention.  As it turns out, your god or God leaves a trail of breadcrumbs the size of bread loafs that help you arrive at an answer to the question, "What is this worshipper worshipping?"  Follow the trail of your time and money and you'll find what's really most important to you. 
I have to admit though, when a young mom in our band talked about the struggle of being fully engaged in mommy life while maintaining a posture of worshipping the God we love, I felt for her.  I felt that pressure of being everything to everyone in my life and not having the energy to be what was most important to me... someone close to God.  There's an amazing pressure in raising kids and, let's be honest, the yearly bullet points on Mother's Day of the "To Do's" and "To Be's" of Proverbs 31 do not help.  They only heap on more expectation with a side of condemnation.  It's a smorgasbord of "I Don'ts" and "I'm Nots" that keep women tired and attempting to do more or better with no perceivable finish line in sight.

Now that's likely not you.  No mothers in my world have those kind of stresses.  They do however, know someone in the mirror every morning who likely has those doubts if, of course, they happen to have time to stop and check in with her on their way out the door to daycare or school car line.  Can I just encourage her today - that woman in the mirror who thinks they're either failing their family or the worst Christ follower to walk behind a stroller - either one or the other or both?  God notices you.  And here's what I find even more encouraging. Isaiah 40:11 tells us that...

AnutLisa's Wildman. 
He will be a mighty man of God.
"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

I love that this description of God is in scripture.  We talk a lot about God being our Shepherd, how gently He loves the smallest and weakest among us, how closely He brings them to Himself as they learn to follow Him; but let's not forget He also "gently leads those that have young".  Mommies, God leads you differently than He leads the rest of us.  He understands the demands on your time, the interruptions of your day, the schedules which often may as well be written on toilet paper for how long they last.  He knows the sleepless nights.  He gets it.  He really does.

If the voice in your heart is gently leading you to quiet waters for rest in His Word, in His Presence, or in worship, you can believe that voice is from God.  But if you feel a lot of condemnation for missing a day in Proverbs or for missing church again with a sick kid, I'm gonna go on record and say that's now how He leads mommies.  He's gentle.  He longs for your company and your worship and your attention; and He will lead you in gentle ways throughout your chaotic day to find your rest and hope and help in Him.

I love a story my Mom tells of when my younger brother was a baby.  He had been up all night needing mommy's attention to himself, and she was thoroughly exhausted.  She opened her Bible and ask the Lord for a verse to help her through the day ahead , and wouldn't you know, the verse her Bible opened to was Proverbs 29:17 - "Discipline your son, and he will give you rest."  So she did - she disciplined him by putting up some parameters to help him be sleepy when it was time to be sleepy, she made time with him during the day so he wouldn't need night time to connect with her.  And eventually, he would sleep, and so would she.  His discipline led to her rest.  Don't tell me God doesn't lead you in gentler ways than the rest of us.

Two things to take away from this (if, in fact, you've had time to read it all between diapers and phantom backpack odors)...  1) allow yourself some of the grace that is afforded you as a mother of littles.  God, your Father, is not nearly as heavy-handed and gruff as He's been made out to be.  He loves you.  He understands.  He longs to spend time with you.  He wants to help you raise a household of Kingdom-shakers.   But also 2) when you hear His voice call you away to a quiet place with Him, don't say no.  It is to your benefit, for your strength, for your help.  It may only be one verse, one quick prayer, one moment in His presence that will sustain you... at least until someone tries to flush GIJoe down the toilet or cuts their own bangs.