This mom thing is a hard gig. Sure, it’s got it’s rewards, but it can be exhausting, and you can lose yourself in it. You can become so consumed in parenting that you forget who you are and what you’re passionate about. It’s easy to live in survival mode and forget that God has called us to a life of abundance and joy. And the best way I’ve found to find that is by taking a little bit of time to focus on ourselves.
Yeah, I admit it feels totally selfish to do what I want to do when I have an endless list of things to do and my children need so much of me and I want to spend time with the hubster too. It may feel counter-intuitive to plan how to do more of what makes us feel good, instead of doing more for our family. But, more than likely your husband and your children and the people around you want to see you happy. A happy mom makes a happy home. And if you take time to refill your cup, then you have more good things to pour out to others.
Embracing God and Rest
Jesus was a busy man. People were constantly coming up to Him, asking Him questions and begging for healing. And He would stop and talk to them, touch them, love them, heal them. He had to wake up early in the morning just to get some alone time with God, when people wouldn’t be all around him. He had parables to tell, a Kingdom to preach, people to heal. And in the end, He had to bring salvation to the world.
I know there were many who expected different from Jesus. They expected Him to overthrow the Roman government. To establish His own kingdom on earth. They had a lot of plans and expectations for Him.
Jesus could have become consumed with those expectations. He could have thought, “Why yes, I should get to work doing that. My own kingdom does sound like a great thing, and it would help so many people.” But had He done that, He would have been busy following His own agenda, even if it had the best of intentions, rather than following God’s. He would have been consumed with busyness, rather than being about God’s business.
When He died upon that cross, He said “It was finished,” (John 19:30). It wasn’t everything on His to-do list that He’d finally crossed off. It wasn’t all of His dreams and goals coming to completion. It was simply that He had finished what God had planned for Him.
Yes, Jesus was busy. But He focused on being busy doing what God asked of Him. And He took opportunities to rest. If the God of the universe needed a day to rest after creating the world, if Jesus needed rest and to spend time with God daily, how much more do we need rest? How much more do we need to know God’s plan for us, so that we are busy doing the things God wants us to be busy doing? So that we can finish what God has for us?
Another area where we can embrace ourselves, is to take care of our bodies. We only have one body, and we are to be stewards of it. It is easy for us to put our childrens’ needs ahead of our own. We run ourselves ragged, our stress levels are sky high, and our health suffers. In fact, I read that special needs parents experience similar levels of stress of that of soldiers in combat. Our bodies were not meant to handle that much stress for such long periods of time. Exhaustion and health problems will follow.
Paul tells us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
It is so easy to think that our health affects only us. But how we treat our bodies shows God how much we respect the body He has given us. And the healthier our bodies, the more energy we have to love and serve the people that are important to us and to the kingdom of God.
After my younger son was born I started having lots of problems with my own health. My digestion was terrible. Anxiety and depression hit. I had pain in my joints, and my face broke out in acne worse than when I was a teenager. I struggled with insomnia and was exhausted all day long. I craved sugar every moment of the day. But I ignored all the health problems, ate lots of chocolate, drank way too much coffee and kept going. I had to focus on my children. I had to focus on my marriage. And I put myself on the back burner. Until, finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I was an exhausted, uncomfortable mess.
So, I started focusing on my health. Eating healthier. Drinking water instead of coffee. Doing yoga or going for walks daily. Taking melatonin to help me sleep. Investing in essential oils and supplements that would help me and my family get healthier naturally. I was glad to be doing what was best for my body, the one that God created just for me.
Embracing Your Passions
Sometimes, I view the Proverbs 31 woman as an intimidating woman. She did it all, and with a smile on her face. But one time, I read it with her passions and desires in mind. Verse after verse talks about her sewing. I hated that, because I detest sewing. Seriously. If a button pops off, too bad, so sad. No way am I sewing it back on, and it made me feel far short of the Proverbs 31 woman. I would have paid someone to make the stuff for me. But she found joy in making clothes for her family and covers for their beds. She made time for it, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. And her family found joy in it and viewed her as blessed. And that brought relief to my soul that felt she could never compare to the Proverbs 31 woman.
God made us with gifts and passions and dreams. We may have to put some of them on hold to care for our families, but He doesn’t want us to lose ourselves and how He created us.
God is a creative being. He made the world, He made us. And we are created in His image. That means, He made us to create too. In Exodus 31:1-6 God tells Moses about how He designed and gifted Bezalei. God says “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”
You can sense the pride in God’s voice as he brags about Bezalei and how he is using his gifts and skills. And it makes the parable of the talents all the more real. The manager (God) gave three of his servants talents of silver (our talents and gifts). The first two servants did something with the talents they were given. And the manager was proud of them and blessed them with even more talents and gifts. But the third servant did nothing with it. He simply buried it in the ground. And the manager was furious with him. God wants us to use the gifts and talents and passions He has given us. Being a special needs mom is not an excuse for not stewarding your gifts and talents.
All of us have a desire in our hearts to create something. Maybe it’s writing a blog. Maybe it’s quilting or painting or cooking good food or making beautiful music. Maybe it’s connecting with other women and leading a small group or a children’s ministry at church. You know what it is. You can feel it in your heart. It’s time to let go of that mom guilt we may feel when pursuing something that interests us, because God created us to be more than just mothers and wives. We are also women He bestowed gifts and passions on, and He wants us to use them, for His glory.
Think of a few things you would like to do to embrace yourself. Figure out how to fit it in your schedule, or if you can find someone to watch the children for a few hours so you can embrace your health, your gifts and passions or get some rest and time away with God. Make it happen, girl. You and your family deserve it. Embrace your beautiful, gifted self that deserves a little bit of self-care so that you can better care for those you love.