When I became a mama I quickly learned one thing: the way I connected with God was no longer possible. My evenings that were once spent in solitude with my prayer journal were now occupied by my colicky infant for hours on end. By the time he fell asleep (midnight or one), it was all I could do to make it to my bed in one piece.
I didn’t journal for months. I don’t think I prayed either.
The second time around, I was prepared. Friends and mentors taught me new practices, such as breath prayers. For the first 3 months of Ben’s life, Psalm 23:1 sustained me:
The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need. (NLT)
That verse, God’s word to me, became my words back to Him. My hope. My prayer. My lifeline.
I would align it with my breathing, pray it in a breath.
Inhale: The Lord is my shepherd. Exhale: I have everything I need.
Sharla Fritz says about breath prayers, “We can confidently inhale the promise that God hears us, and then exhale our prayer requests.”
With each breath, I inhaled the truth that God is my provider. My care-giver. My love. With each exhale I surrendered my worry, fear, and burdens.
As breath prayers filled my days, my soul learned to rest in the chaos of motherhood.
Since then, it is honestly not my first priority to have “quiet times,” but seek to meet with God throughout my days. The spiritual practices I have learned have sometimes surprised me. For example: rest, secrecy, and confession. I never thought of sleep as a way to connect with God. Or NOT posting something on Facebook. But there are many creative ways to meet with Jesus.
Because of this I am excited to have fellow Redbud writer Sharla Fritz on the blog today. Sharla recently published her book about spiritual practices: Soul Spa. Through Soul Spa, Sharla emphasizes that our spiritual life is not a life of ambition or achievement, but a life of rest. Please welcome her.
What inspired you to write Soul Spa?
Sharla: Just like many of you, I’m a woman who wears many hats. In my crazy busy life, I felt pulled apart every week. My spirit was tired and worn. I knew my soul needed the care only the Savior could provide, yet I continued sprinting through my days, not paying any attention to my soul’s cry for help.
Finally, after years of ignoring my spirit’s need for rest and restoration, I decided to change. I began to learn how to bring my exhausted, fatigued, and shattered soul to the God who alone can restore it. I studied holy habits that Christians have used for centuries to draw close to the Savior. As I explored these practices, I found that they opened my heart to God’s working in my life. They gave Him the time and space for Him to restore my soul. All of these experiences led me to write Soul Spa–a book that is like a spa for the spirit.
In today’s frenzied world, most women feel stressed out and pulled apart at the seams. How can Soul Spa help?
Sharla: Sorry–Soul Spa won’t help you with your piles of laundry or daily carpool, but it will help you take care of your soul. In today’s crazy-paced world, we often forget to take care of the most important part of us—our spirit. But neglecting our soul eventually catches up with us and shows itself in stress, fatigue, and anxiety. We begin to go through life on autopilot—doing what needs to be done, but without joy. If we don’t care for our souls, we even find it difficult to love the people in our lives because our own spirit needs care.
Soul Spa will give tools to care for your soul and bring your life back into balance. You will have the opportunity to explore Spiritual practices that will help you meet with God and allow Him to heal your spirit. You will discover how to develop a personal soul care plan for long-term spiritual health and joy.
Share why you used a spa analogy for the book.
Sharla: At a spa you receive a massage, a facial, a pedicure. Experts use their skills to enhance your health, your beauty. They give. You receive. As I have grown in faith, I have realized that our whole Christian life is a life of reception. We like to think of spiritual growth like a gym. Just like twelve bicep curls a day will strengthen my arms, a few reps of Bible reading, Scripture memory, and prayer will make me a stronger Christian. But in reality, our Christian life is more like going to a spa. Through Bible reading, Scripture meditation, silence and solitude, and other Spiritual disciplines we put ourselves in a position to hear God’s voice and receive His love. He gives. We receive.
Are there any other resources available on this topic?
Sharla: Yes, I have created a Soul Spa Kit for readers who want more creative ideas for spending time with God. This kit has 59 ideas for creating your own spiritual retreat. You will learn the who, what, where, when, and how of soul care. There ideas for Scripture meditation, times of confession, and joyous praise. Included is a Soul Spa Planner to help you craft your own spiritual retreat. Simply go to my website: http://sharlafritz.com/ to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you will receive this free resource in your inbox!