What’s your secret to staying calm while raising four young children? she asks.
She basically puts her hand on my shoulder to stop me from walking away from her in-passing question.
No, really? her eyes ask loudly.
I want to tell her it’s the whole “going to bed around 9pm at night” thing, that if I can just get enough sleep I’ll be rested enough to be happy the next morning. And a lot of the time I do say this to other moms when they ask. I want them to know it’s important we get our rest, just like the mothers who have gone before us try to press upon us.
Daughter, why don’t you lie down while the baby naps?
I mean, I napped daily for about 5 years. And those were so life-giving for me mentally. Can you relate? One time my OB said a mother not getting enough sleep was a form of mistreatment to her body. And after hearing that, I ran all the way with it… Naps for everyone, including mama!
But more than snuggling down for a daily nap, it’s also that I’ve fully submerged myself in Christ. This has been a practice I began to prioritize just a couple of years ago. So, it’s a little new for me, too :)
Here are some ideas to get started: begin by cultivating neighboring friendships and listening to music that encourages your walk with the Lord. Keep books nearby that are full of scripture, like the Bible ;), have an eagerness to serve your community. Desire to learn new things.
When my hands and heart are grasping for something, it helps to have something worthy of my grasp. I mean really, it’s all God working in me, but I think it helps to have a tender heart toward change.
Sure, it’s the “early to bed” concept — that definitely helps, but it’s also allowing myself to settle into the role I have been called to as a mother, wife, friend. I don’t hide that it’s hard.
A friend shared a really practical way to stay connected to the Lord: to pray without ceasing, simply add “God” before every thought.
God, help me to be calm. I need your tenderness.
God, give me the right words to share in the moment of correction. I need your wisdom.
God, please correct me. I am weak without your strength.
God, my worried thoughts feel all-consuming. I need your peace.
God, give me a boost of energy. Help me to rest in your abilities.
God, help me to find a little pocket of time to be creative today. You delight in our creativity.
This motherhood thing is so very hard because it asks us to be fully selfless women. It also requires us to be humble. Yikes. That is hard to do at times. When my children ask me for a drink, another drink, they’re asking because they’re so very young and have a need for tender care.
But also, they’re children and they know I’m the adult, here to provide for them. So they are generous with their “asks”.
Our children know they can come to us with any requests they have, and so they ask boldly, fully trusting we will provide for them.
In all honesty: I am not always calm. I am not always patient or gentle with my behavior. I’ve been caught stomping my feet in front of my children, or pounding the table with my fist. The moments when I am able to stop myself from overreacting are mighty wins for me. They are small proofs that I am on the right path, seeking the right water for nourishment, imperfect on earth knowing it’s not my strength that gets me through, but His.
In the meantime, the Lord knows our hearts, and so that’s what I focus on. And with much rejoicing, we know He can do mighty things for us.
Draw near, friends! James 4:8 is a great reminder.
Lord, our cups are empty. Fill us with your Spirit.