Christian mom and kid

For many moms, it can often feel as if everything is defined by their “pre-kid” life and their “mom” life. Our wardrobe and furniture choices are different; hairstyles and hormones have changed. The dinner on our plate, the money in our wallet…even the time needed to use the restroom is no longer our own. There is a very clear delineation of what was “normal” life before and after having kids.

This has certainly been true for me as I look on the timeline of my own life, and while much had indeed changed forever, one of the most difficult transitions for me has been my time with God. Pre-kids, I could enjoy a slow, QUIET, and relatively uninterrupted time in the Bible. Once my first bundle of joy arrived, all of that neatness went out the window. It led to some dark days as I had to rearrange my expectations of what a “successful” time in the Word looked like, but the roadblocks I encountered through sleepless nights, constant chaos, and incessant interruptions have been the best thing that has happened to my spiritual life.

As we approach Mother’s Day—as much as we moms LOVE our kids—it is a temptation to look back and long for the simpler, quieter days before kids changed everything. Weariness will do that to the best of us. Instead of wondering if life will ever return to normal, what if we shifted our focus to the goodness and beauty of this new-normal?Instead of lamenting all that’s been lost—especially when it comes to our spiritual life—let’s focus on and celebrate how God has and will continue to use the formidable moments of motherhood to move us closer to His presence.

Here are five ways motherhood has shaped my walk with Jesus forever—for the better.

1. My devotional prayer life is better

As a woman without kids, I had a tendency to silo my relationship with God into the one-hour time slot I had scheduled. That hour was awesome, but I treated it as if that was the only appropriate time to spend with God. I did not invite Him into the rest of my day. I didn’t pray much outside of that “quiet time.” The disruption of my “perfect” little God-appointment showed me that I lacked meeting with Him continually through each moment of my day. This caused me to see that I need not be so dependent on an hour slot in my schedule to experience God. He is always near. I can talk to Him any time, anywhere.

2. The paralysis of perfectionism doesn’t paralyze me as easily.

“If I can’t do it right, then I shouldn’t do it at all” was my mantra. I had unknowingly been living this way and it was suffocating my spiritual life. Suddenly, in the motherhood stage of life, there wasn’t much that I could do “just right” anymore. Pre-kid Katie could control her environment, plan perfect days, and color-code her prayer journal and study notes. Post-kid Katie was drowning in failure until she learned to kick perfectionism to the curb; the “all-or-nothing” era has ended. (This has also made me much more patient with others and their less-than-perfect attempts at life!)

3. I’ve learned how to go deeper into the Bible quicker.

Before kids, I used all the Bible study tools I could find. All of them. Becoming a mom forced me to be more selective in how I spent my “quiet time.” I had to learn to utilize the tools that give me the most “bang for my buck” in helping me understand the Word. I still try to enjoy a more leisurely time with God when I can, but most days I take what I can get once I open my Bible—which may only be 15 minutes. This time-crunch has made me think more critically about the tools I’d gathered and whether or not they actually helped me understand the Bible better. Just because so-and-so does it doesn’t mean I have to as well.

4. I’ve learned my desperate need for more and more (and more) of Jesus.

Oh, how I need Jesus! There is nothing like the stress of three kids bickering in the car over something completely insignificant or the frustration of trying to create a perfect family moment through reading the Bible together…only to have kids fight over who gets to sit in my lap while I get kicked in the face in the process. My lack of sacrificial love, enduring patience, and unconditional kindness is on full display through my feeble motherhood efforts. Motherhood has been a mirror which continues to shed light on the ugliest parts of me. These are the places that need the redemption and transformation that only the power and grace of Jesus can handle.

5. Scripture memory has become an essential delight.

Perhaps as a culminating effect of all of the above, motherhood has driven me to hide God’s Word in my heart. Through the ingestion of my Bible through slow and steady memory work, the essential truths contained in Scripture—who God is, who I am because of Jesus, and how I am to respond in worship to Him in my everyday moments—are being infused forever into my soul. The words of God are becoming a part of who I am and the Bible is available to me even when my hands are busy with all things motherhood.

There are more ways that motherhood has changed me forever, but I am most thankful for these five transformations—changes that are certainly not complete!

So if you are a mom struggling to get in the Word because you just can’t seem to do things the way you used to, or you feel like the mom-life just isn’t the season for a closer walk with Jesus, lay down these lies! You can enjoy the Word, even with littles wandering around you. You don’t have to sacrifice depth for time. Quit focusing on what you feel you can’t do, and focus on what you deep-down want to do—because even the “want to want to” is something.

Let go of the Instagram ideals and Pinterest perfection, fix your eyes on Jesus, and ask Him to stir up an even greater desire to become more like Him. He has begun a good work in you and He promises to complete it (Phil. 1:6). Motherhood might very well be the vehicle He is using to do just that.

This post was originally posted over at LifeWay Voices.