A lot of Christian mothers are concerned with the question, “How can I grow my faith and my relationship with God as a mother?” It’s a valid concern. After all, church kids and new Christians are told that you need to read the Bible, pray, and go to Church to grow one’s faith. It seems simple enough to do, until you are a mother. Here’s the truth about how Moms can challenge their faith to grow.
How Moms Can Challenge Their Faith for Spiritual Growth
The Truth About a Growing Faith
I 100% support that learning the Bible is important. I cannot stress to you enough just how important it is for Christian to learn the Bible for themselves. However, it’s not going to be the deciding factor of your Spiritual growth. You see, we’ve internalized reading the Bible, praying, and going to Church as the standard for a devoted Christian so well that we’ve lost sight of why those things are important:
- The Bible helps us become doers of God’s word, assists the Holy Spirit in guarding our faith, and teaches us God’s voice.
- Prayer in the vehicle that connects us directly to God.
- Church does (or at least should) surround us with likeminded individuals who can sharpen our own faith and offer us support.
Here’s a truth about these activities: it’s not about the quantity. It’s about the quality. I’ve written some on this topic of when your all is different than somebody else’s all.
Beyond that, you will not experience Spiritual Growth if you don’t step outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. We can get comfortable reading the Bible. As much as I would rather read through the short NT books, it’s sometimes necessary to wrestle with the harder OT books. We can get comfortable praying for the same rote things we pray every day. We can also get comfortable sitting in a pew not connecting with others.
I think most Christian moms would agree with everything I’ve written so far, but words aren’t helpful when they ignore the harsh reality that many of us experience: there’s just not enough time.
How Moms Can Challenge Their Faith for Spiritual Growth
Let’s set up some potential women to consider for the next several points. Let’s keep in mind that these are hypothetical women:
- Susan wants to read her entire Bible in a year. She reads three chapters a day. At first it goes great, but then, after the first few weeks, she becomes exhausted and overwhelmed by everything that she’s juggling. She soon realizes that she can no longer remember the previous day’s reading. In addition, she’s struggling to pray beyond blessing the meals.
- Lucy’s days are busy as she takes care of herself and her newborn. She focuses on reading part of a chapter each day during the first few quiet minutes she gets to herself. She also diligently prays each day. She soon hits a roadblock to her faith. She’s encountered a passage that references a person or event in the Bible that she either cannot recall or hasn’t studied. She tries to refresh her memory, but she soon becomes discouraged that she’s not even progressing in her faith at her one passage-a-day pace.
- Despite three children, Jill still actively helps in ministry. She attends church every week (barring that there’s a sickness in the house) and helps teach Children’s Church most weeks. She also is one of the first in line for when home-cooked meals need to be made and delivered. Jill has a problem, though: she’s not feeding her soul through studying the Bible and praying. Eventually, Jill feels the strains of this and starts to falter in her ministry.
I’ve highlighted three women with three very different problems. I think most of us can identify with one or the other. The great news is that they all have one thing in common: they can all experience Spiritual Growth.
1) Really Focus on the Quality over Quantity
I mentioned it earlier, but then kind of rushed straight past the point. The quality of Bible Study and/or prayer is much more important than the quantity. It’s something that Lucy understands and that Susan needs to learn. If our heart is not focused on the right motivation, then what is the point?
Of course, there’s a pitfall hidden in this advice. It’s very easy to become comfortable when offering God just a little bit of our time. Sometimes we miss the change in season in our life and don’t realize that what was once our all is now only our second best.
The real standard measuring quality should not be how much you can remember from your Bible-reading or prayer sessions, but how your life changed because of that time.
And, of course, there is a benefit in quantity as a tool for stepping out of our comfort zone. In fact, if you buy my book 51 Faith Challenges you will see that many challenges revolve around quantity over quality. This is to help dispel the “I can’t” lies that stop Christians from even trying certain things.
2) Refinement of Behavior
There are so many reasons that motherhood is a refining fire that I won’t list them here. The point is that motherhood often forces us to deal with the sinful thoughts and behaviors that we’ve camouflaged in other areas of our lives. In other words, it’s the small details that are under a magnifying glass.
The worship and resulting life-change that most mothers face isn’t of a huge drastic type. Instead, it’s learning to reject impatience when the old couple (you know, the ones with great-grandchildren who they don’t get to see) can have a couple of happy minutes playing with your toddler. It’s fighting against the selfishness that keeps us angry.
Sometimes these refinements are so minute that we aren’t even aware of them. The point is that almost every second of their waking hours, moms make the choice to either demonstrate Christ or they choose to let sin destroy their peace. (Click to pin this!)
It’s the greatest paradox that I know of, because most of these choices are almost made without being aware of the battle, but the stakes are so huge. Not only do these choices affect our own relationship with God, but it also affects our children.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We need to rest. It’s a crucial part of our faith AND our motherhood.
This is the reason why I included Jill’s example above. It’s so easy to get tied up in all the things that we think are good for our Spiritual Growth, yet we miss one of the basic commands that God gave for us to follow. We need to rest. Period.
4) Better Organization
All the women in my examples are limited by time. While we can never get away from the constraints of time and the basic things we need to do to survive, we can try to improve our organization in life. Better organization means that we become more efficient. For those who struggled with word problems in math, a higher efficiency gives us back some time.
Here are all the relevant posts housed on Chaotic Life that deal with this subject:
- The Four Strategies that Real Moms Use to Keep a Cleanish House
- Balancing Selfcare vs. Caring for our Families
- 7 Ways to Balance Life as a Work-at-Home Mom (Guest Post by Sarah Geringer)
- Finding Balance as a Mom with a Full-time Job (Guest Post by Lindsey Mason)
- How Can You Balance all of Your Life Roles
- 7 Tips to Help You Recover the Lost Minutes in Your Day
- 8 Strategies to Help You Conquer Your To-Do List Stress
In addition to the advice you can find in those posts, you should also know that we can improve the organization of our Spiritual Life. There’s a reason why taking notes and Prayer Journals have been recommended for centuries now.
And I also have a tool to help assist Moms (and myself) in this area as well with my Spiritual Toolkit Package. It’s fourteen worksheets, plus I’ll design one additional worksheet if you find that you need something not already in the package. I’m selling it for $4.99 or you can bundle it onto your copy of 51 Faith Challenges for a total of $9.10 for both.
5) Follow Your (Spiritual) Cravings
When you don’t have a lot of time to do everything that the so-called Good Christians do then it’s time to follow your spiritual cravings. I don’t believe that true zeal for a relationship with God can be easily quenched. I think we starve it by refusing to let ourselves follow the things we crave.
It’s very easy to say, “I have fifteen minutes. I need to read the Bible and pray in that time.” But when your heart is disturbed and you need that re-connection with God to bring you peace, you’re better off spending those fifteen minutes in prayer even if it means you don’t read your Bible.
If you’re excited to research something in the Bible, then spend your time doing that. Why should you limit your worship by modern legalistic rules?
6) Don’t Give Up
For those of you who feel like you’re not learning anything new while reading and like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, I have a passage for you:
10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat,
11 so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”
Isaiah 55:10-11 (HCSB)
I believe – because we serve a God who wants a relationship with us – that God will not let us labor and struggle in vain when it comes to growing closer to Him. We see over and over again in the Bible that sin is revealed when we are truly face-to-face with God. This means that, while we can make the choice to disobey, we will never simply be left to stagnate like a fetid pool.
No matter how you end up worshiping, even if you can see no measurable progress in your life, God can and will use it to His glory. I’ve found since adopting this philosophy in my life that it’s become much easier to silence the doubts that hold my paralyzed. Whenever I feel like there’s no point in trying to study the Bible, pray, or even to serve others, I tell myself this. Just like that, I’ve been able to keep walking forward.