Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kids Need Moms to Pray in Secret With the Door Open

In a warp-speed world that grows kids up too fast and too soon, mothering can feel like running a marathon - at a 100-meter sprint pace! At least in my own experience raising these two little hellions! Mom of four and author, Angela Thomas spent seven years as a single parent and offers hope and encouragement to those traveling the mothering road. In 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom, Angela shares how to love your kids through lots of forgiveness, become a marvelous mom and a better "you" along the way. I picked up this book awhile back and started it. I realized that probably wasn't going to do the trick. This was more of a "challenge". The book is separated into 52 chapters, outlining different needs that your child has and ways to meet each of those needs. A lot of them are spiritual needs and physical needs, many emotional and mental. Some seem trivial and some seem obvious. As I've reviewed each chapter, I realize however, that each need is warranted. So I've taken on the task of daring myself to be a better mom in 2012. It's my number one priority, hardest job, yet greatest privilege. I need to take it more seriously. So these Wednesday posts are about to delve a bit more serious than the normal mommy-rants that I'm used to throwing at ya. I don't think you'll regret it though. Take some pointers along the way with me and leave me your feedback! Let's tackle this mess of motherhood together.

Chapter One: Kids Need Their Mom to Pray in Secret With the Door Open

In my first years as a mom, I desperately wanted to keep a passionate spiritual life with God. I wanted to read my Bible. Sit quietly and pray. Maybe even keep a journal. It's just that my little people would not cooperate. I had two babies in 2.5 years and neither one of them was on board with my plan. My heart keeps longing for the days of summer camp, the spiritual highs, the amazing nights of enlightenment at a women's conference. I want my spiritual life to go back to the way I'd always had it. Alone. It has taken me quite a while to realize that being a mom means you might never be alone again. (and the terror sets in!)

When I read the topic on chapter one, I thought, how in the world am I going to get ANY privacy to pray?! I barely get too poop in private anymore! Getting a moment to myself to pray is completely out of the question, just ask my two little monsters. . .who obviously could care less about my "quiet time" with God. She gives us plenty of pointers; from having a short bible study during their bathtub time, to waking up an hour before your household, to praying out loud in the car on the way to daycare.

I would love to tell you that my struggle ended in a moment of brilliance. But I am way too tired for brilliant. It was just one mid-morning, somewhat like the author's experience. I put on some cartoons for the rugrat gang and fled to my bedroom for some solitary time. I figured now was as good of time as any to squeeze in some prayer time. Lord knows, my patience was running thin this week with it being winter break and too cold to enable us all to escape outside and have a break from each other. We'd been cooped up like caged animals and the "pouncing" had already started this morning at breakfast. So I sat down in the middle of my closet and bowed my head. Lord, give me strength not to kill them today. Or tomorrow. Or the weekend. Because I love them and I want to be a better mom. Please make me a more patient mom. . . .and thus the sound of pitter-pattering feet down the hallway into my room. Instead of stopping what I was doing, I just remained, praying. Of course they bursted right in and started the "MOOOOooooommy" calls. When I didn't answer, they peeked in the closet. I bet you can guess what happened next. They crawled on me. They played with my hair. They wiggled their little faces up to mine. "Mommy, what are you dooooing?" asked my youngest. "Praying. . ." a calm, non-frustrated voice spoke from inside me. "Ooooh, it looked like you were sleeping!" My oldest chimed in. An honest mistake. It's been known to happen, I must admit. What happened next was amazing. Both of them sat next to me, crossed their little hands together, squished their eyes shut and prayed too. Mr. Grouch prayed for new toys (shocker) and Stinker prayed some babble about Superman. And it lasted 2 minutes and then they scurried out to watch the rest of Phineas and Ferb. But they prayed. My two little men prayed because their mommy was praying.

I agree wholeheartedly with Angela Thomas and her ideas of "praying in secret with the doors open" She says that she heard God speaking to her very clearly about this, saying:
"Come to me messy. Come when you're tired. Let the children lay on top of you. Let them interrupt you. You do not have to be perfect. . .just come to Me and let them see."

It seems like some of the more important lessons we want to teach our kids are transferred--and not because we sit them down in the living room, pass out ten pages about being spiritual, and then give them a long-winded lecture about how our family is going to follow God. The thing that shape them most deeply is that you and I pursue God in everyday life. Our spiritual lives becoming the backdrop of their childhood. Bibles left open are normal. Mom doing a bible study at bathtime, routine. A kneeling, praying mom is an ordinary sight.

So, I'll leave you with what God is telling me this week from this study. . ."I want your kids to see you being with Me." Though most days, I can't be "alone" with Him, I'm learning to adjust. I hope and pray this week that you will allow your kids to see you praying in secret with the door open as well.

Happy Wednesday, friends!


  1. I love this!!! I often sneak back to our room to have a worship time...putting in my headphones and singing loud to the One who gets me through each day as a mom. My kids now reference all the time how much mommy loves to worship Jesus. What they don't realize is most of the years they have seen/heard me doing this has been in complete desperation to get through the day. Our kids need do not need to see us being the perfect parent but instead they need to see us desperate for the Perfect One!!! Hopefully they will follow us as we follow Him! Great post! I'm encouraged sweet friend!

  2. Thank you Shanna for the comments and encouragement! I appreciate it. I know exactly what u mean.....I wish I retreated for more worship time instead of getting overwhelmed and frustrated so often. I'm trying to change this up this year. You are such an encouragement of a godly mom! I just love you to bits!