We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” I’m not talking about actual food today, though. What about what you are metaphorically being “fed” as a person, woman, and mom?
If we’re honest, I think sometimes as moms we are eating crumbs in this area of our lives, hoping to survive on lots of coffee and using social media as our gods and source of relief. We claim in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and we desperately hope to follow His lead, but come the end of the day we just feel guilty for how our day did or didn’t go, we feel failed that our scripture didn’t get read, and instead of curling up with the Lord to know His goodness, we settle for nothing or something lesser than.
Being spiritually fed is hard, regardless of if you’re a parent, so all of this information can be regarded the same if you don’t have kids. I just know that “being fed” often became a distant memory to me once I became a mom, and that all the things I used to be able to devote so much more time to were put on the back burner for lack of time once a baby entered my life. That was just the reality of it for me, although I’m sure other moms have had different experiences.
At the same time, once I worked out some kinks, I feel that I understand the importance of being fed, of knowing the Lord truly and deeply so much more now that my time is limited and now that I’ve been called to the task of raising a small human. So it hasn’t all dried up just because I’ve taken on the role as mom. After working through some hurdles, I actually feel like I have a better relationship with God as a mom now than I ever did before kids.
What are you eating?
An important realization for me to always keep in the back of my mind is that when it comes to having a relationship with God, there are three main scenarios that can happen. Or three main things we can “feast upon.”
One, I can simply say I don’t have enough time to be fed and to acknowledge God. I can use, “I am so busy!” as my god and push the real God aside. To be frank, in some seasons of life, I do think it’s okay to say it’s just not happening right now, like when my baby was first born. Making sure I was keeping a newborn alive and getting a mere two hours of sleep a day was enough to fill my plate.
But once that stage passed, I couldn’t use this banner any longer. It’s easy to want to wave it around longer than is necessary. When you’re used to being busy and putting other things first, it’s easy to say you don’t have time. I always find the reality is that I don’t make time and instead am prioritizing other things before God, which leads me to…
Two, we can settle for lesser things than God has intended for us to truly be nourished. Sometimes I confuse having a clean and organized home with believing it will provide peace in my life. While it sometimes does for a short period of time, my house always has to be cleaned again and never leaves a lasting impression on my life like God does. In other words, we can easily idolize other things to believe we’re getting what we need. But these things are just being disguised in masks, the enemy trying to trick us into thinking we’re getting what we need, when really these things are just keeping us from God.
I also always have to remember that the things we idolize are almost always good things. Things that are easy to gloss over and think aren’t idols. A clean house, getting your nails done weekly, a good glass of wine, a shopping spree – those are all inherently good things. But they’re not good when they’re being used as our main source of being fed, in place of what God should be doing in our lives.
Three, I can woman up and make room in my life to actually be fed and keep at it day after day. This is the harder, road-less-traveled choice. It’s a choice you have to make consciously, daily, with effort. Even if I’m reading the word daily and it seems like it’s become an easy habit that fits nicely into my life, that’s right when I stop getting fed well. It’s not to say that being fed always requires a crazy amount of work. But I do find that routines start to get stale and once I really delve into the Word or join a group of women that is on fire for the Lord – that’s when I realize that my weak attempts at “fitting God in my day” (or in other words, around my schedule) weren’t working.
Truly being nourished in the way God wants me to be reminds me of exercise. It’s not very often that an exercise routine can be used over and over for months on end and still provide results. Changing things up month to month or even week to week always provides better results, whether it’s exercise or your relationship with God. All of this, of course, equates to effort. Effort that I find hard (and sometimes impossible) to muster at times when I’m still unshowered, looking at the seemingly less-than-fruitful day of labor I’ve had as a SAHM, just wondering when I can get some rest.
Yet those are the exact times – when my soul is crying out in anguish for restoration – that I need to turn to Him. It’s very easy to turn to sleep, friends, being on social media, wasting time, avoiding God, escaping in a book, compulsively cleaning, binge eating – you name it. We can turn to any number of things before God.
But something like a light switch flipped in me this year. After moving twice with a baby under one, trying to make new sets of friends in two different parts of the country, and being largely alone for months on end with just my baby – I didn’t have a lot else but God. I saw God use lots of people and situations in my life in the past months, but the thing that has stuck out most to me is my alone time with Him. The times that He is always there, ready to listen, always understanding.
God doesn’t say “Sorry, I’m busy right now” like many people do. He also doesn’t judge me unfairly or rebuke me without patience and so so much grace and kindness. He has been a complete hope, joy, and steadfast Father to me in a time when I wasn’t really sure who I could trust. And I really should have been trusting God over people or random things in my life anyway.
And now I do. I trust Him most and I turn to Him most (most of the time). Becoming a mom brought out all the problems I ever had before having kids – insecurity, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, distrust in myself and others, and anger. The first year of motherhood was a huge time of trial and error and getting to know myself on a level I had no idea I ever would. It was with Him that I got through some really trying times. It was not social media, or the friends I couldn’t pack up and take with me, or having that perfectly clean house.
What “being fed” looks like is going to be totally different from person to person and will look different for the same person from season to season. Right now, my being fed looks like starting every day with Him. If I don’t start my day with God, he really doesn’t get any part of my day then. I’m off and I’ve forgotten about Him. But I try my hardest to read a daily devotional that really works for me – I’ve had to try a few that I didn’t really like – and look up some scriptures listed from the devotional in my Bible.
It also looks like other things: saying no to things I simply don’t want or can’t commit to, crying out in prayer when “mommy has had it” at the end (or beginning!) of the day, singing a lot of worship songs, and ending every day with Thanksgiving for what He’s given me, even if it felt like a terrible day. That last one has had so much impact on me lately. Just simply being thankful.
If I could tell any “starving” mom one thing to take away from all this: you deserve, need, and are made to have time with Him. And there are probably some things in your life that look like being fed (another episode of Gilmore Girls, anyone?) but are actually taking away from your relationship with God. If at the end of the day, your body and soul are crying out to be whole and nourished and you can’t put your finger on what is missing: slow down. Breathe. And come back to Him.
I know you won’t regret it.