I have to be honest, I've been struggling with prayer lately. Well, if I'm REALLY honest, I've been struggling for the last 4 + 1/2 years. I don’t hear Him like I used to. I don’t feel as close to His heart. My Holy Spirit flags are not flying as high. I'm mourning my spiritual life, as it was, before I became a mother.
I've spent the greater part of my adult life trying to deepen my faith. Trying to grow closer to the heart of God. The more time passed, the closer I grew. My faith even literally became my job. I became the Youth Minister at our parish, in those last years before I met My husband and became a mother. Living out, sharing, and teaching my Catholic faith was my JOB.
I worked in the same building as Jesus, who I could go and visit whenever I wanted. 1 on 1 prayer time in the chapel. I had countless opportunities to attend daily Mass. Attending retreats, hearing speakers, seeing God at work. I had never felt so close. Of course, it's much easier to focus on deepening a relationship when you only have you to worry about; and then came this thing called motherhood.
All I ever wanted out of life was to get married and have children. It took longer than I would have liked for God to answer that prayer for me. He did NOT disappoint! I love my husband and children with every little piece of my heart! I have not cried so many tears of joy in my entire life as I have in the last (soon to be) 6 years! My heart has never felt so full!
Now that I'm a mother, as every mother knows, it's not about me anymore. It's about my children. My children come first. Mama comes last. In between cooking, cleaning, laundry (oh, the laundry), breastfeeding, dishes, potty trips, napping, diaper changes, grocery runs, bouncing fussy babies...I struggle to find a designated space for my prayer time.
I have heard time and time again that when you are a mother to littles, your life becomes a prayer. All the little sacrifices here and there, are prayers; offerings to the Lord.
"Know that even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans." - St. Teresa of Avila
While this is absolutely true, I would still like some designated, quality time, to connect with my Lord. I want and need that quality time with a good friend, a good father, to make me feel refreshed and better about life. My heart aches for that closeness. I still mourn my spiritual life, as it was. And that's OK! It's OK to mourn! It's a good thing! It shows the love that I have for my faith. If there is no love, how can there be mourning?
I know this season of life won't last forever. I won't always have toddlers and babies to fill my days and nights. I won't always be too tired to wake up early in order to spend time in prayer. I won't always have a baby who can't live without me at night, who prevents me sneaking away for an evening Mass or adoration. I won't always have children who can't be left without supervision, so mama can pop out for spiritual direction.
It won't always be like this. But right now, it is like this, and I'm mourning what once was. And that's OK!
So how do I pray in the meantime?
- When I wake in the morning, I read certain parts of my Catholic Company Morning Offering in my email.
- If I’m driving somewhere with the kids and the radio is annoying me (as it usually does) I turn it off and pray Hail Marys or sigh Jesus, deeply, and sit in silence.
- I ask for His help throughout the day.
- I make sure that my Facebook feed is full of uplifting, Catholic content (you can find plenty of amazing Catholics to follow at catholicsonline.net - including me).
- If the noise in the house is triggering my anxiety, I put on some Praise & Worship music and as I listen to the words, my heart yearns for His.
- I set an alarm on my phone and pray a short prayer for someone in need, or a short novena for my family.
- Before I fall asleep at night, I pray a simple “thank you Jesus!”
My prayer life is drastically different than it used to be, and I long for the day when it can be as it once was. In the meantime, I’m trying.
“... do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9
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Katherine Reay is a wife to my loving husby Steven, and a mama to 3, beautiful children: Sophia, Olivia & Dominic. She's a big ‘ol introvert, goofball, a bit of a dork, a sensitive soul, and a complete weirdo. You can find her I Surrender Life on Facebook.