Welcome to Tending Tuesday!
This week I want you to meet Leslie Konhaeuser. She is a disciple of Jesus, wife to Christian, and mama to Leona and Tobias. She has a passion for inspiring weary moms to find meaningful faith right in the thick of it. She blogs at Mothering by Faith, where she shares spiritual insights and practical application for clearing the fog and growing with Jesus amidst the chaos and overwhelm of everyday mothering life. She sees her online space as her own virtual living room, so grab a cup of coffee (and your baby monitor) and find some encouragement from a mama who’s right there with you!
Here is how Leslie tends her way by the Word…
I came into motherhood like so many women do— joyful, spiritually idealistic, grateful.
During my pregnancy I developed convictions about how I would parent, and how I would remain connected to my faith as a mother. And then, as is generally the case, reality hit me like a freight train, and I found myself disoriented from hormones and exhaustion, not quite sure living up to my ideals was possible or even worth it.
I was frustrated to be inundated with messages of “self-care,” while in the midst of parenting a needy baby, but all of the typical ways I engaged my faith were either inaccessible or falling flat.
My light was diminishing, and I was overwhelmed. I desired deep faith, but I was grasping at straws as I managed all of the changes in identity, lifestyle, relationships, and priorities.
Maybe you’re like me.
Maybe you came into this whole motherhood gig with bright eyed wonder, excited to share the kingdom-vision with a new life. Maybe you read books on parenting in the faith and you were ready for family devotionals and meaningful talks at the dinner table.
But what you weren’t ready for was what came first the diapers, the abundance of opinions on infant care, the identity shifts, the lack of sleep, the changes in your marriage, the changes in your community support, [fill in the blank with your own experience].
Maybe you’re wondering if having faith is possible right now.
Maybe you’re wondering if the right answer is to just let it go and wait until you’re through this phase to go deep with God again. Maybe you know in your heart that isn’t the answer, so you’re grasping and searching for solid ground to get you back on your walk of faith.
But there is a way to deeply engage your faith in these weary days. There is a way to find connection with our Father in Heaven even when we don’t feel like we have enough brain cells available to write our own names.
The practice of breath prayer has been the most lifegiving practice I’ve stumbled upon, as it’s given me the ability to harness peace in the midst of chaos.
Breath prayer has the dual purpose of engaging our body in the calming of our central nervous system, while simultaneously cueing our mind and heart to focus on truth. Because the weary days of motherhood can be so full of sensory and emotional overwhelm, I was in need of a practice that would physically and spiritually ground me right in the thick of it.
So what’s the “how” behind breath prayer?
- Find a quiet place in reality (or just in your soul)… Seriously this can be escaping to the bathroom or pantry for a quick minute. But it can also be done right in your living room as your toddler yells for pretzels for the 25 millionth time.
- Take a couple of deep breaths in and out. Send each inward breath into your diaphragm and each breath out should sound like a whisper.
- When you’re ready, on the next breath in, quietly whisper the first line of the prayer.
- As you breathe out, whisper the second line of the prayer.
- Repeat until soul and body are quieted.
My favorite way to engage breath prayer is with Scripture. Mostly, because when I’m in a situation where my emotions are hijacked and I’m trying to parent with grace, I don’t have the mental capacity to come up with my own words. So I borrow from wise men and women before me whose words are preserved in the Bible.
Breath prayer alone has not solved all of my spiritual connection problems. I am still learning and growing into this new role God has graced me with, but breath prayer gives my soul some space to expand and a moment of internal peace with which to see clearly so that spiritual depth is a little bit more accessible when I do have a few minutes to myself.
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