Aside

Becoming a mum

Hi friends, here is a perspective on becoming a mother from a sister at our church in Newbury, Jo Cox, who has her arms full with her gorgeous 6 month old daughter!

“Becoming a Mum has been full of contrasts in my spiritual life. On the one hand, I feel so much love for Emily I can begin to understand God’s unconditional love for us and how great his grace to give Jesus for us. On the other hand, I feel so wrapped up in looking after Emily I often hardly stop to pray or read my Bible or concentrate on a Sunday. On the one hand, I can be stopped short at how blessed we are to have Emily and yet forget to thank God for her. Becoming a Mum has changed my perspective and broadened my appreciation – God loves us as his children, and that is such an amazing thing!”

Advertisements
Aside

Practical out-workings

DSC_0071

The word practical is so moreish, and real-lifey. It sounds really sensible and boring. I like practical people, and practical things. So whenever I come to think along philosophical lines with regards to being a Christian, I like the word to pop up at some point, just to see if the concept will hold true in the real world.

So, with that in mind, what have I been thinking about recently?

I heard a talk on Sunday about the physical evidence of our faith; if we were ‘accused’ of being Christians in court, would there be enough actual evidence to find us guilty? This evidence is sometimes called ‘good works’, which sounds a bit old-fashioned to me, so what does that really mean in real life?

How does that affect me, as a mum who’s trying to live as a Christian?

Well, I thought about it for a bit, and my favourite way of describing ‘good works’ is as visible-to-others responses to faith inside my head/heart. Which is much longer. ha.

Right so let’s make this quick because children all over the country are destroying things as we speak/read…

By definition, this stuff should come naturally to us, so I can’t give you a list for yourselves. And I am top of the list in terms of lazy so I also feel the full weight of guilt because my faith doesn’t show much. Here’s what I was thinking of trying this week…

  1. Reading my actual book-Bible in front of my kiddies, because I want to. My eldest is so used to seeing me on my phone that he wouldn’t ask what I was reading on there. Maybe during quiet time, maybe at the lunch table, not sure which is best yet.

Hm. One’s enough for now!

Do you have any tips? Share them with us, please!

Happy Monday everyone!

Image credit:Rachel Otter
4 Ways to Re-energise your Reading

4 Ways to Re-energise your Reading

DSC_0134

Reading the Bible is tough. If you’re only managing it on Sundays, then join the enormous club! Our free time in the evenings is so precious isn’t it? We need it to hoover, and to puree food, and to catch up with the husband, and to drink wine. So when can we read? All joking aside, I find reading in the evening a big no-no. I’m so tired that I don’t take anything in, and it only irritates me further. So I’m pushing to try and read in spare time during the day – whilst feeding babe 2, or when they’re asleep in the car or something similar. Here’s a lovely numbered list of ideas that have crossed my mind about reading…

1. Buy a new Bible

Nothing is more motivating and exciting than something shiny and new. It’s lovely opening up a new book – maybe a version you haven’t read before, or one with interesting notes. Sticking with an old favourite Bible is great if that works for you, but if you’ve been looking at it recently thinking that you’d rather not open it, then trick your mind with one that looks different. I’ve just got out an old Bible from when I was a teenager (it’s got absurdly large type), and it’s great to read – even the different page layout makes the stories come to life more. I hate to admit that I’m that fickle but hey, why not exploit it to your benefit, if you know it’s true? And why not go ahead a get a lovely new notebook too, because let’s face it, new stationery is fantastic.

2. Get a good Bible app on your phone

This is a cheap version of point 1. I use YouVersion because I like the layout, but any will do. In a later blog I will explore various apps that are available and do some reviews of them, but for now, let’s just get reading! You can even set some of them up to angrily text you if you forget to read one day. We read off our phones a huge amount of the time – at the hairdressers, at the bus station, during nap times. I’ve got my apps colour coded (why?!), so mine is on the third page of my phone – not ideal because I don’t look at it everyday – it would be much better on the home screen.

3. Choose something very specific to read

If you open the Bible in the middle because you don’t know what to read, you will get Psalms. Lovely! However, we probably need to read the rest too. I have started numerous reading planners with very mixed success, as I’m sure you have too. The classic Robert Roberts plan is a bit much to squeeze into snatched minutes, but usually the one that is used for our Sunday readings. So you have to choose between matching up with Sundays for continuity, or doing two reading plans. The YouVersion app has a good plan called ‘Eat this Book’, which reads the Bible in a year, with a daily Psalm added on too. I still find this too much reading at the moment so if you’re in a similar position to me, I think choosing one book/incident/letter is more achievable. That way, you can change the amount you read each day – if it’s a vomit/poo/screaming everywhere day then 1 verse might be the limit. Lets hope its an uplifting one! But on other days like a Saturday for example, you could crack on and get a paragraph read. Don’t be wimpy and choose easy reading sections – we do have to do the hard bits too. How about Esther’s story? Or maybe pick a mum for inspiration like Mary who had to deal with her son being the Messiah, or Hannah who had to give Samuel away.

4. Leave an actual Bible open where you eat breakfast

Not closed! If its closed you won’t open it. If its open, you will automatically read some of it. This trick used to work well pre-kiddies, and before the dining table at breakfast became a porridge-bomb site, granted, but I think the principle still works. if there’s an open book by where you eat, then you will read it without realising.

This week I’m going to try and read off the Bible app on my phone a bit more. Do you have any good tips for motivating yourself to read mid-week?

Image credit: Rachel Otter
The post-children dip

The post-children dip

IMG_2091

This post is by the blog author Rachel Otter, mum of two and part-time bookbinder and illustrator.

Before I had my children I was in quite a good place as a Christian (isn’t hindsight lovely?!). Then I had my first child, and in that hideous time just after you’ve had a baby when you become a mentally-unstable, sleep-deprived thing, I experienced a huge spiritual decline, of rather mountainous proportions in which I realised that I had gone several months without thinking about God at all. This only slightly improved as time went on and the thing died down to a relatively normal, tired and bizarre version of myself. No time for reading, no time for praying, not listening on Sunday, and too tired to bother in the evening with reading or praying. I found advice to be a bit vague – ‘read together as a family’ has never happened (children too young), ‘take five minutes for yourself and say a prayer’ again, a bit airy-fairy and usually five minutes that I take are to reheat drinks and put washing away whilst on the loo, cleaning the bath and cooking the dinner.

I don’t know about you, but I find that, in the spare minutes when I should be exercising my spiritual mind, I just don’t want to! I want to watch something inane on tv or read a non-taxing work of fiction or eat biscuits in the pantry. To my shame, I’ll quite happily read a blog on my phone instead of picking up the Bible. So, ho-hum, I thought, why not start a blog that mums like myself might feel inclined to read? No nonsense, just open and honest thoughts that could potentially be helpful.

Being a mum shouldn’t have to mean the end of your spiritual life for several years until your children are old enough to leave you in peace for five seconds. It should be a celebration of a new phase of life where we begin sharing our faith with little, crazy beings. We’re all intelligent, thinking women. Some of us work at home, some of us work away from home, some of us are new mums, some had children many years ago – we have both a wealth of experience, and an enormous pile of questions that need answering! Hopefully this blog will bring us all together for mutual growth.

So, how do we stay Christians whilst being mums at the same time? What do you think?

Image credit: Rachel Otter