My spiritual map for mothering small kids

photo-1419090960390-4969330366abI sent an email to a friend about how I navigate my life as a Christian with small kids. With all the advice, research and ideas out there, it can be so daunting to find our way. I have noticed these scriptures running though my thoughts often in this time:
Isaiah 40:11 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

Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I think if I could sum up my thoughts on being a mom with small kids, it would be these three scriptures and here’s why:

I think God knows how much work, energy, love, patience, endurance, and learning it takes to be a mom. And He is gentle with us when it comes to leading us through this time. Being a mom can be one of the most refining times in our character, if we allow it. I feel closer to God and understand him better but that has come with a decision of my priorities.

With priorities, the above scripture in Luke paints the perfect picture of our life as Christian moms. There are endless preparations! Which means it’s even more important that we prioritize our time with God. I think that we can be creative in this: listening to sermons, prayer walks with the stroller, singing worship songs to our kids, etc. I don’t think we have to have daily times where we sit down, uninterrupted and have the traditional 30 minutes in prayer, 30 minutes in bible. Our life can reflect a life of worship if our heart is engaged in wanting to draw close to God.

When it comes to lifestyle and what’s best for our kids, I love the above proverbs. What is the lifestyle I want my children to have? Start that now. It’s the same with behavior when they get to the age when they can decide whether or not to obey (it comes sooner than you would think but you’ll know when she makes the conscience choice to disobey.) If you don’t want her to throw her food on the floor, don’t allow it from the start. If you want her to be used to going to church, midweek, etc, do that from the start.

But I even think it is way more than about training. I am constantly thinking about what kind of character I would like my kids to have. The problem is I don’t have the completely have the character I would like to have. How can I expect my kids to have a character that I myself am not portraying? I’m constantly thinking about my tone, my patience, my kindness, etc. I will never be perfect but I’m way more concerned if my kids are able to be genuine, kind and loving. The other day we made cookies as a family to give away and she really enjoyed being able to do that. I now see where the direction of our family devotionals are headed.

Every family needs to decide the kind of routines they will have. But creating a rhythm and routine will help them so much in the long run. Here are some more things that make my life easier. Some of these ideas I found from another blog and some are my own:

  • Reduce your social engagements to what you can manage in order to stay close to God. A good day for me is usually one activity out of the house during the day and possibly one in the evening. Most of my activities happen to be earlier in the day, so I generally try to wake up early and have time in prayer before the kids get up. But if that doesn’t work out, I can find a time during one of the naps or be creative with some of the above ideas. Have as much as possible at your home.
  • Decide what things are most important for you serving wise and learn to be okay with saying no. I’m clearly not doing this but want to get there.
  • Decide, in general, what things are important for your time. This is hard with smart phones but I’m trying not to spend too much time on fb, instagram, etc. I post a lot for my family, but try not to spend much time scrolling. I don’t know what it is for you. Is there anything that can eat up your time? Is it worth it or even necessary?
  • Simplify the meals you make: basic, healthy, and nutritious is just fine.
  • Settle for tidy in your home rather than ultra-clean.
  • It’s a high priority to get your rest. Last night I went to bed at 8:30 because Emmett generally sleeps the best the first time he goes to sleep at night. I generally like to clean and prepare food for the next day but it’s been a few nights since I have gotten good sleep so I skipped that. So I just got 8 hours of sleep. Now I’m up at the break of dawn but I have a quiet house and the ability to write this 😉
  • Stop to enjoy your kids. Even when I’m with other people, I will stop to smile and talk to Emmett, play with Nora, etc.
  • Prep your diaper bag the night before. This always helps me so that if I have a crazy night or morning, I don’t need to collect my brain to get out the door.
  • Don’t go anywhere in the house empty handed. I’m always putting things back all. day. long. But it helps keep the house in order which helps my sanity.
  • Start how you want to finish. I said this above but it is so true!
Anyways, I’m sure there are more. (Eat the meat and throw out the bone… ever heard that? Just means to take what’s helpful and disregard what’s not). But get used to asking lots of questions of many moms. I found many great tricks/tips all over the place. You also have to get good at deciding what’s helpful and what’s not when people give input because there are many ways to do things and every mom thinks their way works haha. Most important is your relationship with God, the rest will fall into place.