Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline
Mom Shares Unexpected Faith Lessons
When caring for a baby it often becomes difficult to focus completely on God. When exhaustion sets in and the baby is crying, prayer and meditation tend to take a backseat. When nap time dictates your daily routine, going to the weekly women’s Bible study is often the first thing taken off the calendar. When mother and author Julia Roller’s first son was born, like all new moms, her world was changed in more ways than she ever could have imagined. Perhaps most surprisingly, she found herself unprepared for the impact motherhood would have on her spiritual life. In her new book Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos (Abingdon Press/April 1, 2014/ISBN: 9781426771026/$15.99), Roller inspires other mothers by sharing about her struggles as a new mom and how she was able to reconnect with God by reintroducing spiritual discipline into her newly changed life.
Having written with and edited for Richard J. Foster (author of the respected Celebration of Discipline), Roller was very familiar with the concept of the spiritual disciplines, practices Jesus modeled that help us stay connected with God. “I had a lot of ‘head knowledge’ about why I should be engaging in these practices, but with the life changes necessitated by motherhood, I was really struggling to incorporate these practices into my life,” she explains. “Motherhood opened my eyes as nothing in my life ever had to just what a spiritual mess I was. I felt so busy and overwhelmed that it didn't seem possible to do anything about it. Yet after seeking to meet God through engaging in spiritual practices as best as I could with a small child at home, I began to see motherhood was a spiritual discipline helping to make me more like Jesus as I served God by loving and caring for (and learning from) my children.”
Mom Seeks God was written primarily for moms of young children who are struggling through the life changes new motherhood brings and are looking for a way to stay close to God. Mothers typically turn themselves inside out trying to make everything perfect for their children, yet all too often neglect their own spiritual encouragement and growth in the name of putting their family first. But a mom can’t fully demonstrate a solid spiritual life to her children without personally taking the time to pursue one.
In Mom Seeks God, Roller shares how she focused on one specific practice each month for a year and outlines 10 essential spiritual disciplines for busy moms: prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, silence, fasting, worship, service and celebration. Having felt as though she was starting all over again when fitting these practices into her new life as a mom, Roller offers her self-described “non-expert” advice. She is quick to point out that focusing on disciplines is not always about doing something new, but rather paying greater attention to how you are already practicing them. Most times the disciplines are not independent of the others but overlap and are lived out in unison. By the book’s end, readers will discover, much like Roller did, that motherhood itself may be God’s most effective technique for forming a more faith-filled life.
To further assist her fellow mothers, Roller will be available on May 1, 2014, at 8 PM EDT during a live online chat on her Facebook Page. The chat will allow readers to share their own stories and advice as well as interact with the author.
Julia Roller is an author and editor. Her books include Mom Seeks God (Abingdon Press), A Year with God (with Richard J. Foster), A Year with Aslan, and 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. Working with Renovaré, she has also co-authored four spiritual formation guides, including Connecting with God, Learning from Jesus, Living the Mission, and Prayer and Worship. She has written study guides for authors such as Desmond Tutu, Richard J. Foster, Henri Nouwen, Jenna Bush, and Rob Bell. Her articles have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Street Spirit, Group, Rev.!, and Children's Ministry. She and her family live in San Diego, California.
For more information about Julia Roller, her book, or the live chat visit her online home at juliaroller.com, become a fan on Facebook (JuliaLRoller), or follow her on Twitter (@julialroller).