• Angelene Woodard

How the Mommy Octopus Praises God

BusyBusyBusy. We are so stinkin’ busy. We have a lot going on. As do most families.

The kids get their school, chores, and extracurricular activities done and are then free to rest and/or play. Hardworking Hubby starts work before the sun comes up and hits it hard until he gets home. Then he's done for the evening.

Then there’s me.

There’s not a lot of time to rest. I don’t make time to play.

And if I’m being quite honest, my time spent with the Lord feels hurried and shallow.

Gone are the days of leisurely reading and meditating on scripture. Long, passionate prayers are few and far between. Grocery lists, to-do lists, and a full calendar of everything under the sun has taken the place of my prayer journal.

This season of life is temporary. I understand.

However, it still hurts. I feel like my spiritual life is lacking. I want to do more for the Lord, feel closer to Him, and do the things I used to do before my family hijacked my head, heart, and daily schedule.

I want to pray without being interrupted, read scripture with enough time to dissect it, and sing as many hymns as I want, as loud as I want, without waking the kiddos.

Many days, frustration get the best of me.

But, then. Then are the days when the Holy Spirit reveals truth to my heart and whispers peace to my soul.

The day our homeschool curriculum taught about the octopus was one of those days.

The title of the lesson was Even the Octopus Praises the Lord. My skeptical and overly critical opinions had me thinking, “Even the octopus praises the Lord? Really? That’s kinda dumb”.

I resisted the urge to skip the unit all together and just go to the playground. You know, PE. Instead, I went with it. And to my surprise, I learned more that day about the Lord and what He expects from me as a mother than I anticipated.

The octopus is the only animal in the world that prays eight times a day (with the exception of spiders). All the other animals pray four times. Unless they have wings – then it’s only two times a day.

Of all the oceanic Christians, it's the mommy octopus that gets so much done on behalf of God and her family. Scientists attribute her productivity to those eight appendages.

Okay, that’s not what we learned.

So how does an octopus praise the Lord? Well, the lesson stated that the octopus is an amazing animal created by God. Thus, the octopus praises the Lord by simply being an octopus.

That’s when a light bulb clicked on for me. The octopus is amazing because it has an amazing Creator.

I have it in my head that I have to do something to earn God’s love. I am convinced I need to perform juuust so in order for everything to line up perfectly. Then, and only then, can I offer praise to the Lord.

All that doing and performing should fall under the category of Service and Obedience. Not Praise and Worship.

Mamas, we can just be. Just as we are. We can praise the Lord when wearing dingy, mismatched socks - as opposed to shiny high heels and our Sunday best.

We can praise the Lord with all the agony of an emergency cesarean - as opposed to the perfectly executed all-natural home birth.

We can praise the Lord as we start our chaotic days filled with noise and disarray - as opposed to the end of the day (or the end of a decade) when the house is still and quiet.

We are free to enjoy a relationship with Jesus with our children right beside us, right on top of us. He put them there.

The Holy Spirit is not hindered by our distractions. We may be. But He is not.

Many of our spiritual struggles can be remedied when we remember we are His human beings – not human doings.

Just be, Mama. Just be.

Psalm 150:6

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept God's strength.

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