What is worship?
Before I had children, I thought worship was the amazing feeling I got when I sang at my piano, or the awe-inspired prayer I'd whisper on a mountaintop. These were the moments when the world around me melted away and I felt a connection with God unlike any other.
When I became a mother, diapers and laundry suddenly took the place of music and forests. Children filled my hours with activity, noise, and demands, and I found that I had a harder time getting into a place of worship. I knew I needed it more than ever, but I didn't have the time and space like I used to.
So I tried to find ways to incorporate worship into my daily tasks. I read books that taught how washing dishes can be a form of worship, meditating on the words of 1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." But something was still lacking, no matter how many dishes I washed! Somehow my heart resonated best with God's heart through music and nature.
Then I tried to incorporate my children into my worship time. Could I bring my kids camping or hiking? There were regional parks nearby, but nothing within an hour. And with young children, it would be difficult to keep an eye on them or work around their nap schedules.
Well, how about music? A minute after I'd sit down at the piano, almost always a child would call for my help. Or I would hear little fingers pressing (or pounding) on the piano keys. Or worse yet, a child would insist, "It's my turn now" while pushing my hands away from the piano.
I admit that I made excuses. My pride told me the piano wasn't worth playing if I couldn't play it properly; the outdoors weren't the "real" outdoors if I couldn't get away from cities and towns. Soon it became easy to simply go through the motions of housework day after day. As long as the household ran smoothly, what more did I need? I fell into bed every night, feeling accomplished because I was able to check things off my list. But the joy, the reason for my actions, was not there. My soul needed nourishment, but what I was feeding it were imbalanced meals. God designed me specifically to worship him through nature and music, and I was ignoring that part of me.
My malnourishment eventually caught up with me. I became a tired, grumpy, frustrated mother of three. At the time, my family attended a small church, so often I was the sole nursery volunteer. Because I couldn't worship in song even on Sundays, I started to be resentful of everyone, especially my children. It took a few years for me to realize the root of the problem: I was spiritually hungry. I had been feeding on crumbs for too long.
Read These Next
For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.