My faith has suffered immensely over the past years. Motherhood and juggling all the responsibilities that come with it have taken a huge toll on my walk with God, and the times I have had an intimate moment with God have been few and far between since becoming a mum.
Life did not always look like this. I will never forget that moment when I first stepped into that particular church in my native Berlin, gave my life to Christ and started my journey with God. I left my life of partying and drinking behind; I wanted to start with a clean slate and learn everything about that Jesus who had given His life for me. I listened to worship songs on repeat, took my Bible everywhere, and at some point, I even binned all my favourite non-Christian CDs to mark my new life.
Fast forward 20 years, I am far from that passionate teen I once used to be. Ironically, if I were to ask my younger Christian self if I had achieved my dreams, I would say "yes". For so many Christians some of the biggest boxes they want to tick are marriage and children. If that is the measure for a successful Christian life, then I have made it. I have been married for nearly a decade and have three amazing kids. However, if you look at my spiritual life and my growth, I have failed miserably. Instead of building a deeper connection with God over the years, I often wonder if I have a relationship with Him at all.
Motherhood has changed me and has shifted my entire focus from God to my children. From the moment I first became a mum, my world began to centre around the needs of my baby. With every new addition, my "God time" reduced more and more. Without noticing it, I had abandoned my relationship with God, almost like a friend I would stop calling because I was "too busy".
I put it down to exhaustion from endless sleepless nights. "I will get back on track once they are bigger," I kept telling myself. Sadly, it never happened. When the kids got older, I returned to work, and now my schedule is even fuller than it was when they were younger.
Sometimes I felt like a hypocrite calling myself a Christian. A Christian who does not even take time to pray. I used to ignore it and downplay it. I could get away with it as long as everything was rosy, but whenever life threw a curveball at me, I was lost. Fear and anxiety were my first emotions when things did not go to plan. It was then, in those moments, that I fell apart, that I understood that I had built my house on sand.
I knew something needed to change. When the whole world started talking about mental health and self-care, I overlooked what a crucial role my spiritual well-being played in looking after myself. Now I recognise how important it is for me to be spiritually strong and have a healthy relationship with God. Not only for myself but also for my family. If I am struggling, my family will feel it, too.
I have started to take small steps and make conscious decisions to spend time with God. Previously, I used to squeeze in a one-minute prayer while drifting off to sleep, just to make myself feel less guilty.
Instead of collapsing onto the sofa after a long day, I now limit my screen time and spend the last half an hour reading the Bible with intention. On top of that, I am meeting one of my closest friends every week so that we can pray together, even if it is only virtually. To have a prayer accountability partner has helped me keep on track and it has also encouraged me to take my prayer life more seriously.
And I am trying to be realistic. Change won't happen overnight, but I am praying that the passion I once felt for Jesus in those early years back in Berlin will be rekindled as I am learning to put Him first again.