Recently a friend mentioned how she felt like the world was passing her by. She is a good and dedicated mother but somehow she feels left beside the path while others press forward into new and bigger things. She believes that raising her children is the best thing she can do right now but still she feels this way…
I wonder how many of us do feel that way? Not every day, but on those days when Johnny needs to be corrected about the same thing for the tenth time in the past hour. Those days when the fridge quits, and the baby has a bellyache and your not sure if the milk was a little off or he’s coming down sick. Those summer days when it’s too hot to play outside and the children are irritable (and let’s face it ,Mamas, we are too) and the effort of being cheerful and positive seems too much…
What do we do?
It may seem counter-intuitive but the thing we must do is to see to it that we are being filled and refreshed. We must take time away from all the demands that we feel and be filled so that we can in turn pour out ourselves for our families.
What does being filled look like? For me it means three things:
- I must be sure to take times of quiet. These are not times for prayer or devotions or reading or planning. These are simply times to be quiet. I need to take time to actively refrain from thinking, worrying or planning and just be still. Stillness brings perspective and allows the brain to rest.
- I need to take time to feed my heart and soul. For me this means taking time to have personal devotions, read and pray, and also to take time to read books and have conversations that feed my emotions and my spirit. As much as possible these times need to be uninterrupted. With three preschoolers that means they are often short, but they are refreshing. I would also include here “S-time” , that is time spent talking etc. with S. I find that I quickly start to have attitude problems and be easily vexed without that time of sharing and making sure that we understand and are trying to accomplish similar or complimentary things.
- I need stimulation for my mind and body. Yes, my life can be both physically and mentally challenging but I need to feed my mind in order to have things to think about and I need to nourish and strengthen my body in order to have the stamina I need. I used to think that both of these things would just happen (and I think they did when I was single) but now I must plan for them and intentionally include them or they don’t happen.
Do these things always fill me to where I can be a happy, kind mother/wife all day every day? Of course not. I still need a great deal of grace moment by moment, but without these spiritual practices (and I do think that caring for your body and mind are good spiritual practices) I cannot even accept the grace that I know is offered. I cannot properly fulfill the needs that are in front of me without an intention of keeping myself filled enough to have something to give.