My daughter Debbie posted on Instagram that she was reading Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline, by my Redbud Writers Guild friend Catherine McNiel. And she was LOVING it. So I asked her to write up her thoughts for you.
I am a mother of 5 children. They are wonderful. They are miraculous. And they are all consuming. In the past 12 years, I have gotten very few full nights of sleep. From the moment my feet hit the floor until I fall back into bed at night, I am in almost constant motion.
We have a lot of fun. We make a lot of memories. But this time in my life has involved a lot of putting my own desires aside. And this carries over into my spiritual life as well. Quiet times are often not so quiet, no matter how early I wake up. There have been many church services and small groups spent nursing an infant or sitting with a squirmy toddler. Many of you know what I’m talking about.
Long Days of Small Things is for those mothers who feel like they’ve been unable to engage with the Body of Christ fully–in worship, sermons, small groups, spiritual discipline of any kind–during years of caring for their young children. This book is practical poetry that breathes life, hope and purpose over our weary mama souls.
Redemption. Consecration. Creation.
Instead of being excluded from the disciplines of faith, we mothers are, in fact, in the middle of an incredible spiritual discipline…motherhood itself. The idea that I am a part of a great adventure, one that God has individually created and equipped me for…it excites me. I am not walking alone. I am walking with God and with so many other sisters of faith.
Incarnation. Nurture. Service & Solitude.
And when I emerge into a season that involves more time praying for my children than physically caring for them, I will be a different person. I will be refined. I will have, according to McNiel, “worked my spiritual muscles” day after day, night after sleepless night, changing countless diapers, choosing the best discipline, leaning into the Lord when my own strength has failed me (before 8 am).
Sacrifice & Surrender. Perseverance. Celebration.
My faith will be rooted and established in years of watching the miracles of birth and nursing, of growth of bodies and personalities, of little hearts and minds that grasp and hold fast to the promises and person of Christ. My journey is not lesser. Its magnitude is measured by God alone. And it depends entirely on my response to what He has so generously given me. Thank you, Catherine McNiel, for giving this mama a much needed perspective makeover!
If I’m going to set aside time for reading these days, I often prefer a good novel, a short vacation in a different reality. This book kept me coming back with that same great anticipation. What else does God have in store for me in these pages?! My spirit was refreshed as if I had emerged from a really good story. And instead of being sad it was over, I was excited that this story is mine and God and I are, at this very moment, working on the next chapter.
What about you? How is God revealing Himself in the challenging times?
Debbie Runyon shepherds her 5 children aged 1-11, partners with her husband in internet ministry and business, leads a group in Bible Study Fellowship. A graduate of Taylor University where she played some awesome soccer, she is also an avid reader (when she can find time) and bakes an amazing apple pie.