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Disorderly Disciplines

When I entered motherhood, my traditional spiritual life became impossible.

A lifelong evangelical, I once believed that daily quiet time dialed the only number God answers. In urban ministry as a young adult, I came to see the active life of service as another spiritual practice. My current church, a postmodern "emergent" congregation, encourages ancient Christian spiritual disciplines such as contemplative prayer and lectio divina. My faith has been enriched through these diverse practices, but they have never replaced my quiet times with God.

Becoming a mother, however, ruined my ability to be disciplined about spirituality. As I write this, my twins are two months old, and my initial sense of life with children is that everything is going to be rearranged, including the way I seek intimacy with God.

Spiritual disciplines that have been important to me are no longer possible—at least not in these early months of my babies' lives. I could walk a labyrinth only if its paths were wide enough for my double stroller. Anything approaching silence or solitude puts ...

July/August
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