The Crisis of Faith You Don’t Expect When You’re Expecting
In the crazy seasons of my life, I’ve often fled to the psalms. Those (mostly) short but piquant songs get right to the grit. Nothing can brush aside my need to “warm up” my Bible reading muscles faster than a trek into David’s valley of death. Nothing can sweep me into praise more quickly than following the pilgrims as they ascend to Jerusalem.
They’re raw, beautiful, and cut right to the quick of our faith.
And as far as crazy seasons go, none have been more frenetic and fantastic than having a new child. Those were days for the psalms—not 119 in its loquacious praise, but Psalm 1 in it’s punchy honesty.
As Micha Boyett confesses in a trending blog post, the psalms proved to be the link she needed to get back into prayer. The youth minister and mom-to-be determined that she could fulfill both roles without dropping her spiritual verve:
“I prayed, ‘I’ll do it, Lord. You and me. We can do this.’ I would carry ministry into motherhood. I would bind them together. I would search for a way to hold them both. Me and Jesus. We would hold them both.
“I didn't enter motherhood in ignorance. I had friends who had stumbled through the darkness of post-partum depression. I knew I'd face sleepless nights. I had two dear mentors who were living the hard, lean years of raising teenagers. I recognized that motherhood would be the heaviest task I'd undertake.
“What no one prepared me for was how lonely I'd be for faith. As new moms, we expect our lives will change, but we never expect to lose prayer. We never expect to lose God.”
Ultimately, though, the late nights with her students and the lack of sleep with a newborn caused her to feel like a failure. While she couldn’t wake up early to wake up the dawn with prayer, she pressed on, convincing herself that this season would soon pass.
But the damage of the season had been done:
“It's easy to guess where this story goes. When my son was nearly a year old, my husband was offered a job promotion, a position on the other side of the country. I was so exhausted, so weak, that one of my first thoughts was relief: I could leave ministry. If he took the job, I would be forced to leave ministry.
“We moved. And I set out to rediscover prayer, to find that puff of cloud the wind had carried westward. Maybe I'd find it in San Francisco. We can do this, Jesus. You and me. I grit my teeth. How to pray my way back?”
By running to the psalms, she found her faith weak and fragile. She also found how desperate she was for God:
“My prayers are small. My faith is weak. I am not impressive. And I've discovered the God who finds me anyway. We are all loved by a God who provides the faith we can't muster up, a God who invites us into prayer, not because we are expected to perform, but because in prayer we discover the hope of restoration: of ourselves, of the world.”
In a recent article on Crosswalk.com, Debra Fileta also realized that being a new parent does come with many things that we “lose.” But often, it’s in those losses that we realize how much we need God:
“We’ve lost our view of God: My perspective on God has been redefined through my experience as a parent. Though I was in relationship with him, and I knew he loved me, I don’t think I really grasped how ridiculously deep that love was. Having these children as an extension of who I am has taught me to love in a way that I never even knew was possible, and to give of myself in a way I never dreamed I could. To know that I serve a God who loves me in such a deep way is breath taking. He is willing to give everything for me. And he did. His love for me is ferocious, and because of this he wants me to live my life in a way that matters. He wants to fill my heart with joy.
“John and I find ourselves learning lesson after lesson about God’s love and grace through our daily interactions with our children. We have gotten just a glimpse of his heart in a way we never saw before–and the Father’s love for us is so much greater than we could have ever imagined.”
What about you? What have the trials and triumphs of parenting taught you? How do you stay connected to God in the “busy seasons” of life?
John UpChurch is the senior editor of BibleStudyTools.com and Jesus.org. You’ll usually find him downing coffee at his standing desk (like a boss).