I couldn’t believe my eyes. The pregnancy test was positive and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop shaking! My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for several months, and we had gotten to the point where we decided to not think about it too much and just trust in the Lord’s timing. Now, at the very start of 2020, our prayers had been answered and we were pregnant! That weekend was full of laughter, tears, and hugs as we celebrated with our family. I was over the moon and nothing could pull me back down! That is, until morning sickness set in a couple weeks later.
Before I knew it, I was sick 24/7. Nothing smelled or tasted good to me, and even water made me feel almost unbearably nauseous. I had started the year with so many ambitious plans both for personal life and business, and all of that had come crashing down as the little baby growing in my womb took the reigns of my body. All at once I went from being highly energetic and productive to barely being able to get out of bed every day. My work, chores, and to-do lists suffered as the weeks went by, and, much to my dismay, so did my quiet time routine.
I’d always known that motherhood would dramatically affect my regular habit of seeking Jesus, but I now felt totally sucker punched by pregnancy! Days and weeks went by with barely a verse read or prayer uttered other than “Oh Lord please help me!” My Quiet Time Companion and note-taking Bible lay neglected for longer than ever before, and it was tempting to give into discouragement when I saw them sitting there on my nightstand. Pregnancy had revealed my weakness like never before.
However, the Holy Spirit was quick to give me encouragement, even in my misery. After two years of running a quiet time focused ministry, I knew a few truths that applied directly to my situation:
1. Having a quiet time is based in God’s grace and not our work
It is entirely too easy to allow a works-based mentality to sneak into our hearts when it comes to spiritual discipline. We want so desperately to earn! We want to earn God’s favor, His attention, and even our own salvation, because then we could take credit for it in our pride. However, we must remind ourselves over and over again that having a quiet time is not a work we have to perform but a gift we get to receive. Spending time with Jesus is one of the greatest joys we will ever know, and that means that we can be free from any kind of quiet time guilt or shame! We come to the Word and to prayer to receive grace, not earn it. This means that as the days and weeks went by without me having my quiet time, God’s love and grace over me did not diminish in the slightest.
2. Having a quiet time is about the pattern we create, not the daily to-do list we check off
I used to think that I had failed as a Christian if I missed one day of Bible reading. This naturally led to a lot of shame and guilt regarding my quiet time! Thankfully, as I continued to seek Jesus over the years, He showed me that a quiet time is not about having an unbroken, daily habit. Instead, quiet time was about creating a Christ-centered lifestyle of worship. It was ridiculous to assume that I would never miss a day of having my quiet time! Life is too unpredictable for that. Rather, as I kept returning time and again to the Word of God, the rhythm of seeking Christ would become a fixture in my life and keep me anchored to the Gospel.
Reading the Bible and praying are activities I want to enjoy for the rest of my life, even though there may be seasons in which I miss several days or weeks at a time. The main thing is to keep Jesus a priority throughout the flow of life and to pour grace over the days when your quiet time gets neglected. This is what I had to remember during the hardest points of pregnancy.
3. Having a quiet time looks different depending on the season we are in
Everyone is in a different season of life, and we will all go through many transitions throughout the years. In one season we may be able to maintain consistency on a daily basis, but in another, we may find ourselves in a totally different position! As we walk into more challenging seasons, we must be ready to adapt our quiet times in grace and not give into discouragement.
During the first part of my pregnancy, I knew that I would not be able to read the Bible and pray like usual. So I listened to the Word being read allowed instead, and I prayed silently for shorter amounts of time. It wasn’t much, but it kept me close to the Lord and His Truth during a season when it was tempting to give into self-pity.
The main thing that gave me encouragement during the first half of my pregnancy was knowing that this season would pass. I would feel better again, Lord-willing, and my Bible would be waiting for me when I emerged from the suffering.
Now I am almost done with my first pregnancy. This season has continued to be a challenge, even after the initial nausea. Indigestion, fatigue, and a severe hip sprain have been just a few of the challenges that threaten my joy and peace. However, through it all I can hold fast to the truth that God’s grace remains, a pattern of worship remains fixed in my life, and this season will pass just like every other.
I am so thankful that God takes our seasons of weakness and uses them to strip us of pride and pretense! This pregnancy has been a wonderful reminder of that fact, and I cannot wait to see how much more humbled I will be during the next season of motherhood. To God be the glory through it all!