Sometimes it is easier to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins than to spend time with God.
Sometimes it is easier to spend half an hour arranging gourds, leaves, and little bouquets of mums than it is to spend half an hour praying.
Sometimes it is easier to catch up on e-mails than it is to write in my journal.
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I’ve always had a hard time prioritizing time with God. In comparison with all of the many other things I can spend time doing, it seems so unproductive. At the end of a baking, decorating, or e-mail session, I have muffins, a centerpiece, or an empty e-mail box to point to as proof of time well spent. At the end of time with God, there is no tangible record of my efforts. I know it is important to feed my soul, but to be honest, sometimes, I feel like it’s more important to get something done.
Being a mom has only made this already existing tendency worse. My time is more limited than ever before, and I have more things to do than ever before. When Ellie goes down for a nap, I’m desperate to make a dent in the list of things I’ve been wanting to tackle all morning – shower, lunch, laundry, dinner preparation, cleaning dried-on spit-up off the hardwood floors. Anything can seem more appealing, more important than choosing to sit and quiet my heart before the Lord.
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It is easy to deceive myself, to think that I am being a good mother by all of this busyness - making Ellie homemade baby food and reading her developmentally appropriate stories and ensuring she has bibs and headbands that match her outfits. And I hope that these things will benefit her, at least the food and books; I am pretty sure she could care less about the matching bibs.
But what Ellie needs most of all is a mother who loves Jesus, a mother who prays for her, a mother who seeks the Lord with her whole heart and soul.
The truth is that being that kind of mother is the hardest work possible. It means dying to myself and my pride and my persistent illusions that I can accomplish anything of real value. It is not tangible, but unlike muffins, seasonal decorations, and e-mails, it is eternal.