Clearly, I haven’t written here in quite a while. I haven’t been lacking inspiration. There have been so many times where I’ve thought through an entire post, organized the words in my mind, and then talked myself out of actually writing and posting them. I felt like I lacked the authority to share my thoughts. Or the consistency in my own Bible study to speak about it. Or… oh how confidence can lack.
Today I went to a mom’s group at a church in my town. I visited there almost a year ago when my mom was invited to speak, and intended to go regularly—I wanted to get to know moms in my area since all my friends live in a town a half hour away. But then morning sickness made things difficult, followed by summer, followed by having the morning-sickness-causing baby, followed by ______. But today I had motivation: my senior pastor’s wife was the guest speaker. And I adore her. How could I miss it?
Her topic was on having self esteem as moms and teaching our children to have good self esteem. There were so many beautiful points she made, and I want to write about them because I don’t want to forget them. And hey, maybe someone out there in blogland would find the words precious as well.
She shared about how we as women and moms can so easily get caught up in a cycle of guilt, fear and condemnation. We have thoughts we wish we didn’t, say words we wish we could take back, and allow ourselves to hear the message that we are less than God created us to be. As a mom of four young children she found her time in the Word so limited—five minutes here and there—but those minutes were precious and God used them greatly. But she could guarantee that if she spent that five minutes there would be attacking thoughts that she should have spent more. And if she happened to get an hour while at a retreat, she’d be attacked with the thought of why not two hours?
I could relate. I have had to drastically change my approach to my quiet times since having my children. I feel guilty for not pouring out praises and thoughts to the Lord over page after page in my prayer journal. I look critically at the fact that the length of scripture I read through each day is so brief. I ignore the way God uses that brief time to still teach me, convict me, challenge me, encourage me. And when I miss a day, that guilt paralyzes my ability to open my Bible the next day.
But then, today, I was told that God does not condemn me for that missed or limited time. He desires relationship with me. He delights in the time we spend together. He wants me to want to come to Him. The condemnation I feel does not come from Him. He is a loving, compassionate Father who desires time with His child. He wants our time to be motivated by desire to learn, not guilt over falling short.
Going into this morning I didn’t even realize how much I struggle with condemnation. Guilt and fear—sure, those are easy to see in my life. Condemnation? I would have thought that I too easily excuse my problems to struggle with that. But oh how much deeper the issue runs! I try to battle the condemnation all on my own by making up excuses and justifications rather than letting God speak to my weary soul. I am now remembering that He has searched me and He knows me. When I am steady and consistent in my quiet times, shining His light to those I meet and marveling at His glory at every turn—He’s with me. But He’s also with me when I am at my lowest—screaming at the dog, tripping over my toy-littered living room and trying to dig the least filthy sippy cup out of my dirty dish filled sink, as my dusty Bible asks for my attention. He made me. He has searched me and He knows me—the deepest part me that even my husband and mom don’t see. He knows the struggles, the fears, the hurts, and the guilt that plague my mind. And through all of that, He wants to pour out His love on me.
I’m going to daily use His Word to fight back against the condemnation and stop letting it paralyze my time with Him, what I achieve in my home and what I share here on the blog. I’m going to dwell on Psalm 139:23-34 because it represents how I need to define myself and my time. I’m going to write it in places throughout my home and keep it at the forefront of my mind: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.