Manna in the margins

Published on September 24, 2021

Becoming a mother came with a surprising level of mourning. 

As I held onto the tangible joy of my first born and then second, I couldn’t deny the grief my heart waded through. Of the many things I grieved as I grew as a mom, my extended time with God felt like an ironically deep loss. 

Motherhood is something that has stretched every ounce of virtue within me. And aligning myself with the Lord regarding how to raise my children requires the very thing I feel I have no time for—deep time in the Word. 

Wading through the grief of losing my hour-long time in the Word resulted in a deeply transformative perspective on the presence of God. 

It was when I took God out of the box of our “scheduled” quiet times, I realized that he was ready to meet me in the margins. 

You will receive what you need

It’s easy to get caught up in the ideal. I’m a chronic romantic, so I spend more time wishing and waiting for the ideal situation than simply making the most of the field in front of me. 

The point of meeting God in the middle spaces of our days is to simply get more of him in us—by any means. And believing that what we give to him, whether it’s an hour or a moment, can be filled with exactly what we need to sustain our days.

For the days when we don’t get a moment to sit down with our Bible, our notebook, and our eager hearts ready for a revelation, we can still receive what we need. One of the most fascinating miracles of provision in the Bible is when God provided Manna for the Israelites. 

Aside from the sheer wonder of bread raining down from heaven, there is so much to be seen of the ways in which God perfectly provides for his people. 

The Lord commanded the Israelites “to go out each day and gather enough for that day” (Exodus 16:4). The text continues to explain how some Israelites took too much and others took too little. 

Yet when they went to measure what was collected for the day, they had just enough. Friend, that’s how God provides for you. 

Valleys and mountaintops

In the busy, seemingly monotonous, overwhelming seasons of motherhood, he has manna ready for you to gather. And, just like the Israelites, whether we have days we can gather much or days we can only “gather” five minutes of his Word, he makes it enough. 

This passage ends with a reminder of the impact of gathering manna, of feasting on the manna of the day. “Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt” (Exodus 4:32 NIV). 

We can find ourselves getting caught up on the amount of manna we can gather in a day, which only leads to two things: gathering nothing because the situation isn’t ideal, or feeling guilty because we don’t believe what we gathered is enough. 

But the purpose and the impact is not found in the quantity but in the obedience to gather. 

That’s what, as the verse reminds us, serves as a testimony of God’s grace and provision for the generations to come. 

That’s what serves as a reminder, to us, as we transition through the valleys and mountaintops of motherhood: that he made enough out of what we gathered in the margins. 

Confidence in our offering

And that is the hope. That is the power of his presence. 

For it’s not hanging above us waiting to appear when our coffee is hot, our highlighters on hand, and our beautiful Bibles are laid out on the table. It is, as Brother Lawrence describes in his book, The Practice or The Presence of God, “nearer to us than we think.” 

And with confidence that he can make much of what we offer him, we find ourselves sustained by the gathering of manna in the margins.

Consider a few extra resources:

Can we hardly wait to continue our course?

When your calling is quiet: Serving others no matter your season of life

Live perfectly imperfect

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Charaia Callabrass

Charaia is a wife, mother, and writer. I began writing online almost a year ago, as I felt led to engage in conversations of race, healing, the Church and, most importantly, the fight to remain soft.

Raised surrounded by mountains, in Colorado, I currently reside in Georgia with my husband Harold. We have a passionate and social son, Ezra, and a chill and joyful daughter, Stella.

You can find more of her work at or on Instagram @charaiacallabrass

Read more about Charaia

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