Monday, October 20, 2008

Practicing the Presence, for mothers

Finding myself distracted, shallow, complacent . . . unsure at moments which direction to turn, what is the next thing, what is the best thing?  I have found the internet and blogging to be a way out of the common loneliness of staying at home, but sometimes I let it become a way to keep me distracted and busy but not really doing anything.  My mind becomes jumbled with information that I cannot process, my anxieties increase as I run across so many ideas and things to do that I will never have time for, and my insecurities are revealed as I compare myself with people I don't know but whose blogs make them seem super-human, perfect, something I will never attain.  

I am growing more and more anxious and aware of my need to find my rest in God, to hide-out in Him a while.  

The Practice of the Presence of God, a classic little book by Brother Lawrence, teaches the discipline of focusing all of your thoughts always on God, to be constantly in communion and fellowship with him.  

This is my suggestion for "practicing the presence of God" for moms:  Have you ever noticed how much time we spend on our knees?   She drops the sippy cup.  Pick it up.  Bend over to tie a shoe.  On your knees giving baths.  On your knees reading books.  On your knees picking-up toys.  Pick them up again.  And again.  The sippy cup, again.  All day long, keeping up with kids requires bended knees.  

So I am trying, each time I find myself on my knees, which is often, to practice God's presence.  To be aware of Him, adore Him, confess to Him, acknowledge His Lordship, accept His love.  It can be as simple as breathing, as Brother Lawrence's prayer became to Him; "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me . . . "  Or I like how Anne Lamotte describes her two most common prayers:  "Thank-You! Thank-You! Thank-You!" and, "Help me! Help me! Help me!"  I use these a lot, too.   

This is how I am trying to get back on solid ground, to that place where I am ok, and everything is going to be ok.  I only ever find this with Him.
I know that for the right practice the heart must be empty of all other things; because God will possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone, without emptying it of all else besides, so neither can He act there and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him.  -Brother Lawrence


charrette said...

I have been thinking about exactly this today. While helping the kids with their homework, and waiting for the princess at her piano lesson, I was reading a novel about a nun in a convent, and impressed with her total submission, ever surrounded by and aware of her Maker.

And then I read this. It must be exactly what my heart and soul needed today. I LOVE the idea of recentering ourselves and our thoughts every time we find ourselves on our knees. Fabulous.
And I love Anne Lamotte! :)

Thank you for this. Every word of it.

Heather of the EO said...

Yes, what Charrette said. I hate it when she steals my comments right from my brain.

I have this same issue with blog overwhelmedness. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I needed this post. I compare too much if I fill my mind with what looks like a perfect blogger/mother, I feel defeated.

And it's time consuming, so I'm cutting back. On reading anyway. I can't stop writing, it ends up making me a better mom to spill the contents of my over-filled mind. But I want to practice blogging more with my mind and heart on God and not others or me so much.

Another excellent post from you. Thank you.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh wow- what a lightbulb moment for me here. You are so right.


*MARY* said...

Wow, I feel like you wrote this just for me, did you? Probably not, but thank you anyway, it was a lovely and much needed post.

togetherforgood said...

What a beautiful post.

Lisa~Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I floated over here from Heather of the EO's blog and this is seriously what I needed to read. You spoke as if speaking from inside of me.

Carolyn said...

This is a very very good suggestion you make. What a wonderful way to ingrain the habit of praying always. I want to always remember God and His goodness, always remember my Savior and His mercy. How much more abundantly would I feel His love if, in my most frustrating and ordinary daily tasks, I could flip the switch and think of His glorious plan. To worship all the day long (without forsaking the tasks He has given me); that sounds so wonderful.

Ruth said...

This is so true but I never heard anybody say it before.

Lisa said...

I like the two prayers, thank you and help me. So true. Thanks for the reminder to practive His presence. Thats what its all about.

Rachel said...

I have that book and have read it a few times. I like how you have put it into context and expressed these beautiful thoughts.

And I definitely will keep the two kinds of prayers (thank you, and help me) at the forefront of my thoughts, and try to make sure I try more of both.