I was asked to prepare a devotional for a baby shower celebrating two new baby boys to be born soon, for two wonderful mommies who both already have other little ones and so I wanted to share it here as well.
Romans 12:12 - Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
As a young mom, this has been one of my favorite Bible verses. I love it because it is so short that it’s easy to keep memorized even when I’m exhausted and can’t remember what my kids had for breakfast when it's time to make lunch. I also love it because it contains such wise commands for everyone, but they are especially particular to what I often struggle with as a mom.
Throughout the book of Romans, Paul is so clear about the gospel - about our sinfulness and our need for a Savior, about the work that Christ has already accomplished for us, and then giving us some very real ways we should be responding to these things.
This verse tells us not to just pray over a very long list of things for our kids but it’s telling us to be constant in prayer. Like all. the. time. That means we are re-orienting the way that we get through our days. When it’s hard and you feel like giving up, you have to pray. When you realize you lost it and yelled at your kids and sinned against them, you just go back to prayer and also ask your kids for forgiveness. But it’s that going back to God that is important.
This is one of those things that in the moment is so hard to remember. I’m currently in the stage where it seems like I’m always about to fall off of a treadmill, if I stop to clean one room, at least two others are destroyed. On any given Tuesday, I may experience a kid waking up too early for their own good, an exploding diaper, someone dumping out the entire contents of my purse, extreme hunger met with “maybe not” when I’ve prepared some healthy option, and multiple opportunities to be a referee. Sometimes, it can feel like the day is simply a marathon race to get to bedtime.
So lately I’ve been trying to think through what makes a day good for me. Regardless of if you’re doing lots of “mom” work now like our two new moms here or if you’re not in that phase, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that the good days are when we are practicing that Romans 12:12 “constant prayer”. That’s where we are seeking God, over and over again asking Him to help our unbelief and to trust Him, and looking at those around us with the love and grace that we have received.
Obviously, a whole day is a long time. We all know we’re going to mess up. I’m not here to say that you can even have one day where you are in perfect constant prayer if you just try hard enough but I do really believe that when we’re striving to have those eyes to see our kids with God’s grace, it makes for a sweeter day.
My encouragement to you ladies today as you are preparing for more sleepless nights and more adorable (but very needy) babies is to give yourself grace as you don’t get other things done. It doesn’t matter if you made dinner at the end of the day if everyone is in a bad mood. It doesn’t matter if your bed is made and your house is cleaned if your heart is a disaster of bitterness.
When you can step back, exhausted and overwhelmed, you can look to Jesus who did everything perfectly. God is not looking at you in your jammies and kind of mumbling what a hot mess you are. He looks at you and sees his justified daughter who he loves, really loves. And when we can remind ourselves of that, it’s easier to turn to him in the constant prayer, knowing that he deeply cares for us and wants to hear from us.
I think when we are striving for this type of constant prayer, it makes it so much easier to do the other things Paul tells us to do too - to rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation. We have the amazing gift of being hopeful people regardless of what is happening around us because we know that soon Jesus will make all things right. We are called to be patient because we don’t know when that will happen. But we do know that this is the Word of God telling us to rejoice in hope, have joy in our days, to be patient regardless of what happens, and to be constantly in prayer.
I am one hundred percent preaching this all to myself. I’ll need to be reminded of it in a few hours. If you take one thing away, I hope it’s that God loves you when you feel like a hot mess, because you’re completely forgiven and accepted. And because of this, you’re someone who can take the next moment - even the very loud ones - to be in constant prayer.