Have you ever had a child who completely melts down when they haven’t had a snack recently? I have one little boy in particular who needs regular, healthy snacks throughout the day. Without them, he melts. Sobbing tears, throwing a fit, — you name it. He completely falls apart. I think thats how we are as Moms too — without regular and healthy doses of spiritual refreshment we can fall apart, get overstressed, and suffer from anxiety, exhaustion, or both. Time with God. Time alone. Even occasional time away. These are the things that will refresh our spirits and fill our cups.
The last six months has been some of the most difficult I have experienced as a wife and mother. Day to day, stressors have been building up around me. I barely even noticed as life started filling up with added stress. Job-related stress for my husband. The cumulative effect of five children grieving for their best friends who moved away. My own friends moving away. Mold accumulating in the walls of our home and making us sick. Illness. Each by themselves a normal, reasonable occurrence but stacked up together — I just didn’t realize how much stress I was under. Until a few weeks ago when the headaches started.
This past few weeks has really taught me a few things about managing the stress in my life. And like most bad things in life — hope can be found only in Jesus.
When I needed it most – I neglected my relationship with Him.
John 7:38 says “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,rivers of living water will flow from within them.”” — Jesus is the Living Water. and John 6:35 says “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” — Jesus is the Bread of Life! Jesus is the refreshment we need Moms!
Refreshment = Time With God
How often do you spend time with God one-on-one? I don’t even have time to spend one-on-one with my children… How can I make time to spend one-on-one with God? But I must! One-On-One time is relationship. And God made us to be in relationship with Him. That’s where we belong. Here are some (free) resources I have used to facilitate my one-on-one God times.
Refreshment = Time Alone
Moms are occasionally going to need some time alone to regroup. I have actually heard people claim that this is selfish, and it breaks my heart. Being needed 24/7 is wonderful, but it can also get overwhelming day-after-day for weeks on end. Yes, you can take the “Hello Mornings!” approach and get up before your children for some quiet time each day, and that is important! That’s where you fit in time one-on-one with God. But let’s face it. Somebody is likely to wake up early or start vomiting and interrupt that time. Not every day, but often enough. It’s just a fact of life.
For myself, getting out of the house by myself and without the children occasionally is important to my mental health. It gives me time to stretch and breathe and just relax for a small moment. Finding three hours here and there where you can go sit in a coffee shop or on the beach by yourself will be a blessing to your family! Maybe you can only do this once a month. Maybe just once a quarter. You need a break and I am giving you permission to take one.
Refreshment = Time Away
Once a year or so, I head to a homeschool conference or out on a business trip with my husband. Alone. Just the two of us. This breathing room, time to rest and be refreshed has made an amazing difference in my stress levels. Going with him on business trips is especially refreshing because I spend the day alone – praying, worshipping, writing poetry, and resting — and spend the evenings dating my love. Going to homeschool conferences together has been an amazing way to get encouragement and spiritual refreshment through group worship. Of all the things I am recommending today I am well aware that this is the hardest. Some years, we have just had to miss having this time because finances and timing just did not work out. I’ve been there! If you can make it a priority to get away — even if it is just for one day — I highly recommend it.