Driving in the car with kids is rarely a peaceful time. For me, it’s normally chaotic. I’m driving, but also correcting, refereeing, passing snacks, answering questions (sometimes asking Siri when I don’t know the answer), listening to whoever is singing, and looking in the rearview mirror at whatever somebody is trying to show me that just can’t wait. It’s difficult to stay fully focused on the road, (which I know is scary). Maybe you can relate? You’re driving while also reaching back with a pacifier or trying to see who-is-pinching-who and your attention is divided. On multiple occasions, I’ve found myself having to correct my steering because I unintentionally drift out of my own lane.
Drifting implies a slow change of course. Unintentional. Gradual.
What a picture of motherhood in general, not just car rides. We can drift from where we are in our careers, social lives, priorities, and even in our view of ourselves while we care for our families.
We get so busy doing what we’re supposed to do as moms- feeding, cleaning up, scheduling, chauffeuring, answering emails, encouraging, correcting, finishing spreadsheets, teaching, laughing, loving… good things! But if we aren’t intentional, we will drift. It’s so easy. Our lives and schedules are so full, our brains are so full, that we can allow our focus on the Lord to drift. We get so wrapped up in caring for others that we don’t think about caring for our own souls and it eventually takes us in the wrong direction. Psalms 54:4 says “God is my helper. The sustainer of my soul.” One translation says, “The Lord keeps me alive”, and man, there are days when I feel like that’s exactly what I need- to be kept alive. Without the Lord’s sustenance, (support, maintenance) your patience thins, your mind can numb, your heart may ache for the person you used to be, you feel overwhelmed and then you beat yourself up for having thoughts of selfishness. I know. I do it, too.
Sometimes you may have a moment of quiet that would be perfect to spend with the Lord- to read your Bible or pray… but you’re just so tired. Or there’s that load of laundry, the email you need to reply too, or dishes in the sink. The thought of having to wake up even earlier to have your “quiet time” after a night of feeding the baby or taking care of a sick kid seems impossible. I know. I feel that way, too.
But we are moms, so we have to figure it out, because that’s what we do. We can’t only focus on teaching our kids about the Lord, we must seek Him for ourselves, too. And thankfully, God in His grace wants to be in relationship with us so much that He meets us right where we are. He doesn’t ask us to commit to a certain time frame or put requirements on how we need to approach Him.
You may not be able to sit for an hour with your Bible alone in a picturesque setting of what you imagine is a holy moment with the Lord, but you can whisper a prayer of thankfulness while folding clothes. You can talk to Him on your way up the stairs to wake the kids up for school or while drying them after the bath. You can write a scripture on a post-it-note and put it on the window above your sink while you’re doing dishes or on the dashboard of your car. His Word is not only living and active when it’s read in whole chapters, so don’t discount or neglect the brief moments you have to meditate on just a scripture or two. I’ve learned that small doses of God’s Word are just as powerful and nourishing to your soul.
This is not a “3 easy steps to better your relationship with God”- type article; I know you don’t need three more things to add to your list. It’s simply meant to encourage you where you are, a reminder to be intentional with your own spiritual health and relationship with the Lord, to not let your heart drift from Him. Even in moments where you feel like your outer self may be pushed to its limits and you feel run down, that your inner self, your spirit, is being renewed daily through relationship with Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:16).
This is a season of motherhood, and seasons change. There may be a time where you will have the energy and ability to sit and soak in His presence in quiet and stillness, but for now embrace Him in the chaos. Don’t wait for when you think it will be easier. There is such a beautiful picture in Acts 17:27 that tells us that we can seek Him and, “feel our way toward him” because He is not far. I love that imagery of “feeling my way”, it tells me that even in moments where the way may not be lit up and clear and easy (like sitting in an organized Bible study) that I can grasp for Him in the darkness, that I can just feel my way- reach for Him in every opportunity and I will always find Him, because He is right there.
As a mom you will drift. You can’t tune everything out and ignore what’s happening in the literal or proverbial back seat. It’s impossible, and it’s not something I’d even want to do! I love being a part of the stories and questions and seeing my kids’ faces in the rearview mirror, but I also recognize the importance of reestablishing my focus on the road; to keep my glances consistent for not only my sake, but my kids’ as well. Don’t allow all the good you are doing as a mother to let you drift from your first love. Refocus continually by inviting Him into all your moments and he will be there.
By: Tiffany Emmerich
Administrative Assistant to Executive Pastor