• Deborah Charles-Nelson

'How Motherhood Challenged My Faith'

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

"Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly, left unresolved too long we forget we were designed to fly." - W.P Young

I've been reading a book called The Shack by W. P Young (a definite must read BTW), and whilst taking a short hiatus from social media and the 'busyness' of life (something I'm trying to do regularly, but only manage once in a while), it dawned on me that I've been running on empty.

I realised I hadn't prayed in a while, or even just sat down to listen to a positive sermon on YouTube. These were things I did so often before, but now, after becoming a mum, just to be very frank and honest: I was finding it increasingly difficult. Ashamed to say it, but yes, I was getting up in the morning and without a second thought it was just "go, go, go!" until my son would go to sleep and the cycle would begin again. And I really was running on empty. Just like a car flashing: 'WARNING! REFUEL!' I just was not as efficient. No one tells you how your faith might be tested in motherhood; yes, it's a common consensus that becoming a mum may mean less time for yourself, but not many mention the idea that you will probably feel like you have even less time for God. For me, I definitely felt like I was working against time everyday, between the back and forth of work, play groups and general house chores; call it selfish, lazy or stupid – I wanted my downtime to be one full of...NOTHING.

I say all this to state that I think that I was running away from God – I didn't want to speak about my worries and fears, so I just didn't speak to Him at all. I think I felt that, in some way, not mentioning it would make it less real. And then it hit like a ton of bricks when I read that line in The Shack. Have I been living in a state of 'pain' so long that I couldn't even see it?

As a child, I was a big dreamer. I wanted to sing all over the world. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to manage my own company. And whilst your probably reading and thinking all of these are completely unrelated and barely even feasible, the point is: I dreamt back then. Back then, I believed that I was 'born to fly', so I dreamt as such. "When did I stop dreaming?", "When did self doubt sink in so far that I no longer believed in my abilities?"

Thinking deeply about it, I realise it had been a gradual process. I think after having my son and not feeling like the best mum most of the time, I started to doubt my abilities in general. Things wouldn't go to plan and instead of me thinking, "Okay, that didn't go so well, that's okay, let's try this." I would internalise that failure and want to hide away and stay in my little box I created for myself. But is that even LIVING? Imagine an eagle choosing to exist only on ground, out of fear that it may fall. It seems pretty absurd, doesn't it? Well, the same goes for you and me. God has designed us to 'fly', to succeed, at everything we do... all we have to do is believe that, and that's the hard part.

I am that mum who will tell you the truth, no matter how hard it may be. Sometimes motherhood also means remembering you are a child of your Maker, and you don't have to face everything alone. I have also learnt on my new journey of faith (as a first-time mum) that you do not need to speak about your problems to God if you don't want to; it's an open and safe space, so just come into His presence and be silent if you want, just make sure you keep going. Honestly, it's okay to ask God the hard questions too! That was something I never did, but its okay. Just like when you have an argument with your sister, the first stage of reconciliation might just be a shout: "Why did you have to say that!?" or something of the sort. That's the start of the healing process.

Journey /ˈdʒəːni/ noun: - an act of travelling from one place to another. - a long and often difficult process of personal change and development.

I can go on and on, but let's just say my journey of faith has been just that: a journey. Definitely one of personal change. And remember, it's okay to evolve, to understand or see things differently from the way you were taught growing up. The main thing is to not run away. Stay close. Don't run on empty.

Simply Deborah