A friend of mine Olivia from To The Heights blog is taking over today's post. She will be giving you tips on how to use your Humbled Hearts Daybook as a New Mom! Olivia has a sweet little one and often talks about the ups and downs of faith and motherhood on her blog on the regular. Here is a little bit about her, and then the floor is hers!
Olivia knows that Jesus can do anything. She was born and bred in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She quickly returned there after graduating with a degree in theology. Olivia is married to her high school best friend turned college sweetheart and they recently welcomed their first son. She spends her time passing dirty diapers of the her hubby, exploring the crunchy side of life, organizing anything she can get her hands on, and dancing in the moonlight. You can come along for the adventure at www.totheheights.com.
Congratulations! You've just brought your new baby home from the hospital, carefully avoiding every pothole along the way, and you're watching him or her sleep in the gorgeous nursery you meticulously decorated, and you're eager for the moment when he or she awakes, greeting you with those precious eyes once again. You are beginning the wonderful journey of motherhood, mama, and it is so sweet.
Being a first time mom is a beautiful season of life, but can present many-a-learning curve as you navigate these new waters of unfathomable love and unimaginable lack of sleep. I'm with you, I understand, I've been there (heck, I'm still there now). Thankfully, throughout these days when it seems that little in life is the same as it was before the arrival of this little one, one thing remains unshakeable: God's love for you and His desire to be known by you.
For the woman who is rooted in Scripture and thrives on communion with the Lord, life as a new mom can prove to be challenging. Maybe you had your specific time for prayer that is suddenly the baby's favorite time to test his or her lungs, maybe you and your husband enjoyed chatting about a particular Scripture verse in the evenings that has been replaced with diaper changing sessions, and maybe you are frustrated because you feel that this is the greatest time you need the Father's grace, but you're just too tired to even think straight. And that's ok. Today, I'm sharing with you sweet ladies five ways that I have been able to better my prayer life even in the throws of being a new mom. I am far from perfect, and I fail at these on the daily, but Jesus knows our efforts and there is much grace to be received when we seek His Heart in authentic faith.
Incorporate Prayer Into Your Daily Activities
Your entire schedule has probably been shaken, stirred, and served back up to you in an entirely different format. You may not be able to maintain your former times of focused silent prayer, long solo walks to clear your mind and speak with God, or enter in to your church's service as deeply. So, in my experience, turning my daily actions and tasks into prayers keeps me focused on what truly matters. At the end of the day, Jesus doesn't care if I checked off all the boxes on my Good Christian To Do List. What He cares about is if I loved and served Him in the midst of where He's called me; namely, have I welcomed Him into my mission and vocation? Have I leaned on Him for support, thanked Him, and asked Him for help? Have I served my spouse and my child with a joyful heart? Have I allowed myself to be a vessel of God's love to those closest to me?
This is what matters. And as new moms, we have a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Our prayer lives may look radically different now, but we can welcome Jesus into every diaper change, every spit up, every fatigued moment, and every other hurdle throughout this stage of life.
My favorite time to pray was always during those long nursing sessions. My little guy would nurse for twenty minutes and I would have a chance to sit, breathe, close my eyes, and talk to Jesus. Sometimes, I wouldn't have the mental energy to say much, but I placed myself before Him, and He looked at me, and I at Him. Another little adjustment that helped me commune with God throughout the day was by addressing all my thoughts to the Lord. So instead of just thinking, "I am so exhausted", I transferred my thought to, "<em>Jesus</em>, I am so exhausted." "Please stop crying!" became, "<em>Jesus</em>, please comfort him and help him stop crying." These small changes made a big impact not only on my relationship with the Lord, but with my total outlook on postpartum life.
Use a Guided Prayer Journal
This was a game changer for me. As a new mom, I needed something to draw me out of myself in prayer. I needed help occasionally lifting my gaze from our four walls and focusing on the bigger picture of where God was leading me. When I found the Humbled Heart Daybook, I knew it was an answer to prayer because of its simplistic layout and its profound prompts. Thanks to "mommy brain", I find it difficult at time to stop, clear my head, and pray. This guided prayer journal did the hard part of focusing for me, as I responded in my heart and on paper to the questions and Scriptures. My prayer life has flourished because of the various sections like prayer requests, gratitude journal, and prompting arenas like those whom we need to forgive and what we hope to accomplish.
Ask for Help
Don't be afraid to ask your spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, fellow mom, or anyone you trust to watch the baby for you while you take some time for quiet prayer. People are so eager to help when there's a new baby around, so just reach out! It can feel humbling and even embarrassing at first, but trust me, they won't hesitate to snuggle a sweet new baby for twenty minutes while you go pray in the other room. If this isn't possible everyday, don't worry, just accept help whenever it is offered! You will be so glad you did.
One of my favorite ways to prayer during life with a newborn is by using podcasts, audiobooks, radios, and TVs. If I was rocking the baby to sleep, I'd turn on worship music and allow that to guide my heart. If I was making dinner (aka putting the takeout onto a plate), I'd turn on a spiritual podcast that inspired and challenged me in my faith. If I was driving the baby around the block 100 times to get him to calm down, I'd play a spiritual or devotional audiobook. Your hands (and heart) are full, so it's time to get creative with your prayer. Thankfully, our media options are endless these days!
Have Mercy on Yourself
Finally, and most importantly, we have to have mercy on ourselves, because Jesus does. During this time, we can be so caught up in taking care of our new baby that we forget to take care of ourselves. We can be so determined to get back into a consistent routine that we forget the necessity of rest. Sometimes, what we need the most is a good nap while our baby sleeps. This may sound silly, but during the times I surrendered to my fatigue, I would ask Jesus to sit with me while I slept. In His mysterious and mighty ways, that brought us closer.
You may go entire days without remembering to pray. You may have the best of intentions to spend some time with the Word and then the baby wakes up early. It happens. Be gentle with yourself during this transition. It is messy and imperfect and so entirely grace-filled. The Lord is so patient with us, and we need to be patient with ourselves as we adjust to our new role. You are a good mom. God has called you to this state in life and He has equipped you with the virtues and grace you will need. Our most efficacious prayer, then, is total surrender to His will and a total embrace of the present moment.
A huge thanks to my sweet friend, Jillian, for letting me crash her blog today! She has been a major inspiration for me as of late as she uses her immense creative talents for the Lord.