By Erica, Contributing Writer
Bible study, devotions, or daily Bible reading, whatever you like to call it, it can be so hard when you are a tired mom of a newborn!
Never did I know the meaning of tired until I gave birth. I remember feeling guilty because I was doing the best I could as a new mother to adjust to the new little bundle of joy God had given to my husband and I. Added to my stress was this burden to know how and when to do my daily Bible reading. Because, after all, everyone that is a “good” Christian never forgets to do their Bible reading. I had three years of Bible college under my belt, I definitely had no excuse for even struggling in this area…whelp, I failed and failed again.
Here are a few things I have learned in my personal walk with the Lord during each and every adjustment period after having a new baby, we’ve had four, and every time it has been a new adjustment for me.
Bible Study Time with a New Baby
My reading or not reading my Bible in the adjustment of the postpartum pains and nursing each of my children was not a reflection of my heart and love for the Lord. You better believe that each time I relearned to nurse each of my children and all of the frustrations that went along with baby latching, and crying, and going to sleep during feedings was usually paired with a lot of prayer and pleading to God for help and assistance.
Being a newborn’s mother always made me feel like a first-time mother all over again. Each baby came with their own little quirks and personalities. God has used those exhausting moments between sleeping, feeding, and hurting to teach me not just to rely on Him day by day, but moment by moment.
In those days if I could not pick up my Bible and read it, God would still use what I had already learned in my heart about Himself and my previous experiences in our relationship to minister to my heart. One of my favorite verses I discovered was:
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
Did you notice that last part? God gently leads those that are with young! He knows, mother of little ones, how to gently lead you and speak to your heart. Your worth is not based on whether you perform a certain standard of Bible study and reading. He understands you are tired and trying to nurture a new little life. He designed labor and delivery and even the process of healing. He also designed that new little one to need you around the clock.
There is a time period of adjustment when you have a newborn. It may take you some time to get back into a regular time of devotions to maintain your relationship with the Lord. And that’s okay!
Here are some ideas and tips for mothers of newborns:
- Focus on a verse.
- Focus on a chapter.
- Focus on a Bible story.
- Study topics. Study Bible heroes. Study words.
- Read a chapter a day in the book of Proverbs.
- Use a devotional book.
- Listen to the Bible on audio or video.
- Pray always!
There were days that I would open my Bible because I knew that I needed it. I would find a verse or group of verses that specifically spoke to my heart, then the next day I would come back to them and read them again. Then, the next day I would do the same thing. Sometimes when your mind is blurry and fried from long exhausting nights you need to focus on a verse or passage and just let it soak in over time.
After the birth of one of our daughters, there was a challenge in our church to try to get through reading the entire Bible in one year. I had to finally come to the place where I had to say, “Not for me, not this year.” I could not try to read multiple long passages of scripture each and every day because I needed to be taking a nap when the baby was. You are welcome to lay aside some of the weights of unrealistic expectations with Bible Study that you may have if you’re a new mom, and take it a moment and a day at a time.
A word of advice
My word of advice is to not allow that period of adjustment to extend longer than it should. At some point, you should begin rebuilding a structured time to read your Bible and even Bible study. Does life ever normalize? Not really… so we can’t use our children as an excuse to neglect the relationship with God that we have the ability and responsibility to maintain. A relationship that is cultivated with God on a regular basis will allow you to be a better help to your family, friends, acquaintances, as well as to your church.
So, take heart, new mothers, God understands. He sees and knows your heart, body, and baby. Find what works for you and even if you go through a day without cracking the pages of your Bible, try again the next day. God will lead you through this time and help you with your new baby and Bible study!