I want to share today how God can individualize our motherhood. I feel like I talk a lot about walking with God in motherhood. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the revelation and help He gives is individualized to me. If my motherhood is completely the same as someone else’s then it isn’t mine and it doesn’t bring me joy. This is something that has taken years to discover, and I still need to remind myself of it frequently. I talked last week about how I have struggled with comparison this year. I want to follow that up today by sharing how walking with God in motherhood has helped me overcome the need for comparison.
Something about me is that I don’t really press boundaries much, not naturally. I always followed the rules as a kid and that has been pretty much true of my adult years. I accept most people’s well-meaning advice. So when my oldest child was born, I listened to the various advice people gave me. And the thing that seemed to come up the most was, “don’t worry about the house, just enjoy the baby.” So I didn’t worry about the house, only getting the minimum essentials done or only cleaning while he slept.
And do you know what? That was not a good idea. I realized a few years later that the people giving me this advice were women who loved to clean and live in a nearly spotless environment. They had likely spent the bulk of their children’s childhoods keeping house and hadn’t allowed themselves to sit down and enjoy their babies.
I am not that person. I never have been. I am much more likely to leave extra dishes in the sink to talk to a friend. My home has never been spotless or even remotely spotless. I’ll skip vacuuming in favor of reading. I just don’t enjoy cleaning. And so while this advice gave me some important perspective to consider, I ended up taking it a bit too far in the early years of my motherhood, feeling like I was a bad mom if I left my son on the floor while I wiped off the highchair tray. (I am pretty sure the women who gave me this advice would not have even considered that “cleaning.”)
This experience has taught me something important. As well-meaning as other people are, no one knows me or my motherhood the way that God does. He is the one who led me to understand that a decent amount of cleaning needed to be done while tutoring my children in good habits. (How in the world were they ever going to learn to clean up after themselves if I only cleaned up after them at nap time?)
I have turned to Him again and again and He has always led me to a holier and more joyful way of motherhood. And I trust He will do the same for every mother who turns to Him. (Or anyone else for that matter.)
What to do with Advice
I’ve learned to trust the Lord above all others. So when people give me advice that I’m not asking for, I pretty much dismiss it. That is unless that little feeling inside of me that I’ve come to recognize as the voice of God urges me to listen. If He doesn’t, I don’t.
When I have a question, I take it to Him first. It’s easy to pick up my phone thinking I’ll find a good idea to solve a problem on Google or Instagram. But walking with God in motherhood has taught me to slow down. I don’t let the internet, or a person, be my first line of seeking. I always ask God first.
For simple questions I might offer a prayer in my head and then search for an answer. For more complex problems I make sure to kneel in prayer a few times. I spend a day or two pondering before I seek answers. And do you know what? God always answers those prayers. Some of my prayers have taken years to find real solutions, and those problems also take a continual growing perspective: behavioral problems with kids, how to keep house when I hate cleaning, etc.
But some of those prayers He has answered so suddenly with just a call to my mom or a random email that led me to the perfect resource. And I have felt the Holy Spirit testify to me in those moments of “this is what I have been needing!” that God knows me. He knows my motherhood.
Taking the Important Things to Him
Here’s what I’ve learned: when something is really important to Him, he helps me find a way to do it. I’ve trusted Him time and again. And I’ve learned when I am walking with God in motherhood, there is always a way to accomplish what needs to be done. It doesn’t matter if that is teaching my kids to pray or finding time for family reading.
Often this has taken the shape of making the important thing mine. By making it mine, I mean that I don’t worry about doing it how I learned or how someone else does it. I ask the Lord to make me a way, and He does.
When my oldest was 4 1/2, I decided that I wanted to homeschool. But I was overwhelmed. The thought of choosing a curriculum and then following a strict schedule every day, like I thought homeschool had to be, was more than I thought I could do. But through inspiration and faith, the Lord led me to a way that has been perfect for our family. A way for us to homeschool and for me to maintain my slightly scattered unscheduled personality. God has shown me a way to be creative and intentional.
While that experience is joyful because it is something that I love, the Lord has also helped me to make other parts of motherhood meaningful. He helps me with the things that He thinks are important that I’m not motivated to do. He inspires me to cook yet another meal when I just don’t want to. He strengthens me to carry on when the kids are having an emotional day. And He gives me strength and perspective when my various responsibilities pile into incredibly high mountains that seem totally insurmountable.
Walking with God in Motherhood
My motherhood will look different than yours. And that’s the beauty of it. Different things are important to all of us. As we take our things to the Lord, He will show us the way to build what is best for our motherhood. And He will show us what is important to Him. And I believe this is where we find joy, when we are truly walking with God in motherhood.