God is a Gentleman

God the Father by Cima da Conegliano, c. 1515
God the Father by Cima da Conegliano, c. 1515

I haven’t written very much about my faith lately and honestly, it’s because I’ve been in a weird place with God. Motherhood has made me quite pre-occupied and self-absorbed. It’s true. In fact, one of the most difficult things about motherhood is that it has revealed some of my true (ah-hem, ugly) character traits. Marriage does that too. At least my marriage did. I remember realizing how truly selfish I was when I first got married. “Wait? Marriage doesn’t exist solely for my happiness? I’m confused…” That was my general line of thinking around that first year.

Well, now I’m a Mama and the disillusionment continues. “Wait? You mean I can’t just do whatever I want while toting a cute kid around? I’m confused…” Nope. Like marriage, motherhood doesn’t exist solely for my happiness. Do I feel deep, meaningful joy from my marriage and motherhood? Absolutely. Do I have to sacrifice my desires at times for the benefit of my spouse and son? You bet. (In fact, I just had to pause writing this post because my little guy started grunting up a storm in the other room) It’s hard to not have the freedom to do what I want, when I want to do it.

For weeks now, I have felt God’s promptings to spend time with him. I actually envision myself kneeling by my bed in quiet, just being in his presence. It looks beautiful. Now ask me how many times I’ve done that in the last few weeks? Twice. Yeah. Twice. I just find myself so pre-occupied with laundry, and pumping, and cleaning, and… well, you get the picture. When I get a spare moment, I don’t feel like sharing it with anyone or doing anything that requires much energy. My stomach turns as I write that. God loves me, he just wants to spend some time with me and I continually reject him. Truthfully, my fear is that if I spend time with him, he’ll tell me to do something I don’t want to. I did, after all, commit myself to putting his will above all else in my life. I’d rather stay self-absorbed.

Fortunately and perhaps unfortunately, God is a gentleman. Our pastor said that yesterday and it really resonated with me. For the last few weeks, God has ever so politely continued to nudge me… Come on, Jaclyn, spend some time with me. His politeness is a reminder of the gentle and loving God that he is. Yet, I know that he can also be a fierce and powerful God. Sometimes I wish he would just use that power to put me in line because the way I’m living my life now is pretty backwards. I’ll be honest, I deserve a Dr. Phil’s, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Kinda lecture right about now. Because it’s not working. I feel out of alignment. It’s like I’m wading in the shallow end and God is prompting me to go catch some waves.

I can imagine that this is just part of new motherhood. My spirituality is a part of my pre-Mama life that I am still trying to integrate into Mama life. I guess this is another chapter of the whole “Reclaiming Jaclyn” thing. Spending time with God is kind of like going to the gym. I know it’s good for me and I know I’ll feel better after but finding the energy to execute the plan isn’t so easy. If I don’t however, I fear that resentment will continue to breed in my heart. I don’t want to be swallowed by bitterness. Truly, I have the choice. Motherhood doesn’t have to be the death of pre-Mama Jaclyn. That’s why I started this whole “reclaiming” thing. To reclaim the parts that have been lost due to the never-ending demands required to keep a baby healthy and happy. (Being sleep-deprived doesn’t help my motivation much either) My faith is a very important part of who I am, I want that part back.

What do you all recommend? Reminder alarm set on my phone? Prayer accountability buddy (we could get matching bracelets!)? Written reminders posted around my house? Tattoo on my forearm (I’m sort of serious)? What has worked for you?

If you liked this post, you may also like:

On Becoming Interruptable

Sympathy for Christians

A Moment of Pure Praise

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11 thoughts on “God is a Gentleman

  1. Well Jaclyn, as you know, we became mamas three weeks apart and you just said perfectly how I’ve been feeling! I’ve been reading Jesus Calling every day while I’m nursing and it helps, but its so quick. I’m not really spending time with my Father, Savior and Lord. I feel disconnected. Church is tough with the little guy and so is my bible study and life group. All the places I used to go that would point me to him, I’m not going to anymore. I think I just need to start by inviting God back in and asking him to give me a greater desire for him. I have been thinking about a tattoo on my wrist for a long time. Can you do that when you’re breast feeding? I’m gonna look into it. Thanks for your honesty on this subject!

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  2. Think of this as the calm before the storm….the storm of questions your toddler will soon be asking you about God.
    Just last night, after catching a few minutes of The Bible, on the History Channel, my 7 year had an hours worth of questions on Jesus’ death… ugh.
    Conveniently, my husband, who has a masters degree in Theology, was already asleep.

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  3. As I read this post, I felt like you read my mind and wrote about what you saw. The exact same things have been going through my mind and heart in the past few weeks. God is so good not to give up on us. And I am all for keeping each other accountable! 🙂

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  4. To be honest, I am not good at setting aside a time of day to spend with God….I never have been. But somedays I honestly just throw it up there. Talk out loud as if he’s at my desk. Takes 5 seconds and I go about my routine. I realize it should be more sacred and devoted, but I think He will be okay with just being a part of your day…..at least to start. Maybe while you pump or put in a load of laundry, throw out your thoughts, thanks and praise.

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