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God, Toddlers, and Me
Photo: Jennifer Hogan
A few weeks ago, at my weekly Bible study meeting, the conversation centered on how we were just living our lives, yet not experiencing anything all that special. Most of us are mothers of young children making it challenging for many of us to balance our lives. We talked about how, since the birth of our kids, we have found it difficult to spend some daily quiet time with God. Many of us even confessed to spending only tiny moments of time thinking about God in our very busy day.

Each of us had spent more significant amounts of time with God before becoming parents. We concluded that our lives would be different somehow if we now had that time to focus on what was most important. As we talked, I reflected on my own life. Over the last several months, I had gone from a woman who really did believe God was the center of her every day, to a woman who vaguely remembered to put God in her life at all. I thought about how my attitude towards life had changed because of my neglect to put God first. I had become complacent and even slightly depressed.

Before compacency set in, God had always been my hope and strength. I remembered having more patience to handle my toddlers' temper tantrums. When my children had acted up, I had been able to find joy on the other side of my initial reaction of frustration.

This had not been the case lately. It was overwhelming to deal with my disobedient children. My mother even asked me if I ever had fun with my children. Her comment made me freeze as I tried to remember the last time I had honestly enjoyed spending time with my children. I definitely had plenty of excuses in my mind before I actually was convicted. A mother with two little toddlers has difficult times every day. What was I doing wrong? Were my children to blame for my sour attitude?

Christ First

I decided that I needed to put Christ first again and second I remembered my husband telling me that happiness is a choice. As I let God take more control of my life, and I chose to be happy, my relationship with my children began to transform as well. I found myself wanting to teach them new things. I got out some of my old craft supplies and we made necklaces, they worked on pictures, and we talked about what they were interested in. Just making the decision to stay at home with my kids was not enough in terms of living life abundantly with them. I needed to be a fun mother spending time encouraging and growing little ones for God.

After a week of change, and I must say it has been baby steps, I feel God is changing me into the mother He wants me to be. I am more in tune with Him and with my children.

God wants the very best for us, but sometimes we let our busy lives keep us from that "best" He offers. Intentionally putting Christ first has been the only way I have found the strength to be the kind of parent I really want to be.

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