What’s a mom to do when she’s hungry for Jesus but feels like this season of motherhood affords no margin for what her soul needs most?

We know that God is with us and in us, holding all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), but how do we reconcile the distance and difficulty we can feel with the truth we believe? Why can it seem that peace and rest are just out of reach? It can leave a busy mom wondering if maybe the communion she craves with Jesus won’t be experienced until she gets through this season.

Maybe we’ll feel more mindful His nearness when the kids aren’t calling our name every other second, when the to do list is a little shorter, maybe when we’re a little more rested, just a little less tapped out. Maybe our thirst will be quenched when we feel like there’s more we can offer Him than a messy bun and spit-up fringed t-shirt.

Sister. You are not alone. Let’s link arms and call those thoughts out for what they are. Lies. His presence is for our right here, right now season.

Psalms 16:11 says “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (NLT)

Yes, there will be a day when we shall meet Him face to face. I’m certain there are no words to describe that joy and pleasure. But Jesus did not leave us stranded.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:11 NASB)

We’ve been given the Holy Spirit. I would have loved to watch Jesus calm the storm and laugh with Him over an open fire on the lake shore. But friend, the Holy Spirit was given. Jesus no longer just walks with us hand in hand. He’s closer than our skin.

So then, what does it mean for us to learn to live from His closeness, instead of striving for it?

I’m still learning and I invite you along. 

A couple months ago, I heard that my friend Summer Gross from A Thirst for God was inviting kindred hearts to join her in a 12-month journey called The Presence Project. She’s invited a tribe of brothers and sisters to be fellow learners with her as we explore 12 simple ancient and modern practices that help us to practice awareness of God’s presence in our real every day life.

A project and community about intimately knowing the heart of God and learning to live our lives from that place of rest?

I had to jump in.

The first practice we learned about was breath prayers.

Summer facilitated an incredible session about the scriptural implications of this practice, as well as the neuroscience behind it. Our assignment was to settle into a couple of simple breath prayers we could start to utilizing throughout our day. The prayer that my heart settled on was the very prayer my mind had disregarded when I heard it.

“The Lord (inhale) is my Shepherd (exhale).”

The Lord is my Shepherd.

I didn’t know how much my soul needed to hear it. I feel like David in Psalms 103 when he said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me.” For me right now, “The Lord is my Shepherd” is a prayer because it’s a cue to my soul to align with the truth.

As a homeschool mom of 3 amazing but needy children, I’m ever mindful of the way I’m shepherding and caring for those around me. I need to be reminded to cast my cares upon Jesus, because HE cares for me. His shoulders are big enough for all of the above. His message to me right now is, “Look here. I’ve got you covered.”

And I’ve found out something.

I live lighter when I know He’s there to catch me if and when I fall. My heart is safe in His pastures and His pastures extend into the darkest of night just as well as the brightest of day, coursing through my mundane and wild just the same.

I guess you could say breath prayers are quickening my eyes to see from eternity instead of the temporary. It’s like casting down an anchor that, though it does not eliminate the waves, it holds me fast. I’m more centered. Where my eyes meet His, there’s always grace for the next moment. 

I hope this intimate look into my journey has encouraged you to give this simple practice a try. If you’re trying this for the first time, here are a few tips.

This a long slow breath, longest on the exhale.

Consider a simple Scripture or prayer that you might use throughout your day 3-5 breaths at a time or in that moment anxiety or stress tries to hijack the day. There are no holes to jump through. We’re not vying for God’s approval. Prayer is our response to God’s open invitation.

Here are a few ideas from Summer and The Presence Project community. Try out a couple. Or perhaps theirs a Scripture that particularly resonating with you right now. How might you use that as your breath prayer? 

Jesus (inhale), I invite you into this moment (exhale)

Abba (inhale), I belong to You (exhale)

Father (inhale), you are here (exhale)

For a deeper dive into this practice, learn about The Presence Project here.

Sister, God is here. Let’s remind our hearts and heads that communion with Jesus is not for the “some day”. And I so value hearing from you. How does the awareness of God’s presence impact your heart, mind and body? Did you give breath prayers a try? 

(Photo credit: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash)

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