Monday, April 3, 2017

Pressing Deeper Into Motherhood {How Having No Internet Revealed Closed Places of My Heart}.

In my eight weeks without the internet, I really did some big changes. I had no idea that our time away from home while it was repaired would cause such a work in my heart. I certainly didn't go to the temporary house thinking, "Yes! No internet! I'm going to love it!" I went with an itchy feeling, like I was going to miss out on a whole lot of stuff {though what stuff, I don't know}. But now, on the other side, I am so thankful for the challenge it was.

There are so many things that God showed me as the weeks went on about my relationship with the internet, particularly blogging and Instagram. I'm certainly not a prolific blogger or photo-taker, but that doesn't mean things were right on the inside of me. The time being internet-free showed me some pride issues and assumptions about my opinions and how the world really needed to hear what I had to say {because I'm, like, so right on everything}. It was - and is - still humbling.

But the biggest change in me through that time was my perception on motherhood and my work ethic around the home. I don't think that I would be exaggerating when I say that God has made some life-changing surgery on my heart.

As the days and weeks went on with no distraction or pull of the internet, I found myself being fully present in my days. Seemingly little changes - like sitting with the kids at breakfast instead of on the couch checking emails - became big habit changes, and heart changes. With none of our kid-friendly things around the house that they would normally play with on their own, I was forced to do lots of things with the kids.

That sounds rather horrible, doesn't it? Being forced to play with my children. But that's the point God was making with me, I think. He showed me how easily it was for me to be pulled into the internet/blogging world and see my children as a distraction. He showed me how hungry my heart got for me and my needs the more I spent doing those things.

By playing loads of puzzles over and over again, and reading lots of books, and painting, and doing big walks together and - quite simply - spending all our time together God showed me how much more I could be pressing into motherhood than I had been.

It's not that I haven't been an {imperfect} intentional mother. I am fiercely devoted to motherhood and giving my children the best of me. And I'm not saying that God's telling me I can't have down time or creative outlets or anything like that. It's more like God showed me that there is a deeper level of motherhood that He's asking me to grow into.

Earlier this year I re-read Sally Clarkson's The Mission of Motherhood. Reading that again as well as Susan Schaeffer Macauley's For the Children's Sake brought me to a place where I had to ask myself, "Am I willing to give even more? Am I able to offer up what God is asking of me?"

[caption id="attachment_2049" align="alignnone" width="640"] Two of my favourite books on motherhood.[/caption]

In Clarkson's book, in a section about discipling and teaching our children, she gave the example of Jesus. He is our ultimate example in all things, especially motherhood. And how did He spend His time with His disciples? He was with them all the time. How did they learn from Him? By living and being with Him all the time.

Jesus did not allow any distraction to take Him away from all that God had asked Him to do. Despite the temptation, Jesus actively chose whole-hearted life of ministry with His disciples so they might serve the people He had come to save. Is this not the same for me and the little people God has asked me to raise up in the way they should go? I can see how, since becoming a mother, little by little, the Lord has slowly being prying open my closed fists and bringing down the walls of my heart that I've used to prevent myself from giving up all of me.

God also showed me how much more capable I am of caring for our home than I have allowed myself to be before. Not only am I capable but, in a study of Proverbs 31, I saw how in the original language God has called wives to be strong and warrior-like in their task of managing their homes.

Not only did I not have the internet but I didn't have a dishwasher. I was reminded again of how simply we have been called to live. All the gadgets that are supposed to free our time up have actually made our lives more complicated {by raising the standard of cleanliness and by allowing that time to be always filled up with activities and stuff}. I was amazed at how much more efficient I was without those two "hindrances" in my life. I set up better routines and found that I gained so much satisfaction at the end of the day when I had worked hard with a full and honest heart. I didn't have the guilt pressing down on me about how I had spent my time that day.

These challenges may not be challenges to you. You may already be fully pressed in towards your children and working hard around the home. But if you aren't, I want to come alongside you and encourage you - as God has so gently and firmly encouraged me - to evaluate how you are spending your days as a wife, mother, and homemaker.

  • Is the internet {or, something else, fill in the gap} causing you to see your family as a distraction?

  • Are you easily annoyed or resentful when your children require a hug, or a correction, or a time of play when you're involved in that particular activity?

  • Is there a place in your heart that you have closed off to the Lord? Are you, in keeping it closed, saying to the Lord, "Yes, Lord, I give you my life - but please let me keep this part all to myself?" Oh yes, I have.

If you are then, just like me, go to your Father in Heaven. Seek His wisdom and His care. Repent if need be and start working on pruning those things out of your life.

As you can see, I have the internet now {and a dishwasher again!}, so they are still part of my life now that we are back in our own home. I have been weak and allowed myself to get sucked back in. But, oh, I so want something different for my life - and God has knocked on that closed door so strongly that I cannot shut myself to Him. So I pick myself up when I've failed, cry out to the Lord for strength, and keep going.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance, and sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Can you see that? It is not just sin that weighs us down and prevents us from living this life for Christ - there are also encumbrances. If you love the Lord deeply, you will look at your own heart and life and know what sins and encumbrances are weighing you down from loving your God and your family well.

As George MacDonald said in his novel A Quiet Neighbourhood,

"I was planning to preach about the cloud of witnesses and explain this did not mean persons looking at our behaviour - as if any addition could be made to the awfulness of the fact that they eye of God was upon us - but witnesses to the truth, people who did what God wanted them to do, come of it what might, whether a crown or a rack, scoffs or applause."

What truth is God calling you to press in deeper to? What does it require of you? And are you willing to obey, no matter the cost or "come of it what might"? Seek Him and He will show you the way. Not only that, I can guarantee from my own life, He will go with you and give you His strength.


  1. Wow! Such an important message. Thank you for sharing so transparently. You are so right- we are called to have proper priorities, and doing so can make all the difference.

    God bless,

  2. This sounds lovely <3. I'm coming out of an especially exhausted season during which I spent too much time not working faithfully in my home and with my kids, and being online too much. Now things are settling and I have more energy... and it's a struggle to break the old bad habits. I'm trying to only get online at nap time and bed time {if my housework is done!}, but certainly not perfectly. thank you for the encouragement! Nine weeks by the sea without internet sounds so wholesome and refreshing!!

  3. Thank you, Patty! You said it right, proper priorities!

  4. It was very wholesome! It was as country-ish as I'm going to get for a while :) Those bad habits are hard to break, especially when the temptation is *right* there. I'm really having to lean into the Lord and talk to Him about my desires to just browse and read things, especially during times in the day where I just want to sit. But, like you, only when things are done and in the evenings. It's hard work, but it's a godly discipline to have I think! xx

  5. Wow, this was excellent. You speak truth here and it is something that I am sure many of us struggle with. When I do feel that yucky pull that you describe, I shut down my computer. It seems that when it is turned off, it doesn't distract. But when it is on-- the temptation is there. Thank you for sharing this with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  6. JES, thank you - your comments always mean a lot to me, I have so much respect for you! Turning off the computer {or phone etc} is a good physical way of tuning in to real life. It is a good option for me!

  7. May I just say, "OUCH!" You have hit a nerve, and it's screaming that I have been ignoring some pretty important issues in my life as a mother. I will be checking out the books you name, and I will definately be reading more of your post. Thank you so much. BTW, I found you through the link up on Strangers and Pilgrims.

  8. Oh wow! I feel bad! Lol. But, yes, God has been working on my heart a lot. One way that I have been working on to change those closed places of my heart is when I don't want to serve/play/cuddle/read etc then I DO it. I push in when I want to turn away. And it works. Sometimes it's an effort, but by God's grace, He's opening those places and I'm going deeper into true, Christ-like love. I'll be praying for your, Evelyn. We can't regret it, can we? It is eternal. Much love to you xxx PS: My daughter's middle name is Evelyn - it's a beautiful name!!!

  9. […] I definitely started motherhood out that way. Not purely in a selfish way, of course. But, as the years begin to go on and the Lord opens the eyes of my heart to the task before me, I see how much deeper motherhood goes. […]