December holds beauty and meaningful advent celebrations, but when feelings of utter weariness and the relentlessness of daily life swamp us, we need help.
[Sally Clarkson’s words are like a gentle balm. Our prayer and desire is that you would find renewed power and purpose for your journey.]
In my life as a mom, there have been countless times, I felt like I was not accomplishing anything productive from day to day. This is such a hard job, to love, educate and help shape our children’s faith. It is especially challenging in a culture that offers so much differing advice, which then produce guilt and inadequacy. This same culture is isolationist and provides few support systems or Biblical direction.
So many moms feel this way.
Five scriptures have been especially helpful to me when I am overwhelmed or exhausted —especially entering a demanding season like the holidays ahead.
1. “If God is for you, who can be against you?” ~Romans 8: 31
God is for you —for you. He wants you to succeed. He wants to work in your home. We are not adequate to complete the task of shaping our children’s hearts, minds and souls by ourselves. When God’s Spirit is working in our midst, He will take our fish and loaves, all that we have to give to Him, and together with Him, our labor becomes enough. He is for you, mamas, if your heart is to serve Him. He has compassion on you, knows your weariness, and is your champion.
2. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 8:1
I wonder why we have the illusion that we are supposed to be perfect. Mamas, don’t be so hard on yourselves! You will not ever be perfect or do everything right–not now, not next week, not even when you are 60! (Maybe when I am 70, I will be perfect!) And to live in guilt because you have blown it or yelled at your kids or made mistakes is a big drainer.
Your children will never be perfect, either. Love them as they are. Believe in them, touch them. Let little boys be boys, as you train them little by little to be heroes and leaders–civilization comes from a mama who treats them with respect, and gives them a heart to be dignified.
Let little ones be innocent and enter into their stages of life with joy.
3. “He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.“ ~I Kings 19:5
Elijah was so weary from spiritual battle that he despaired of his life–wished he hadn’t been born. But God knew he was exhausted, battle worn, and weary. So the first thing God did when Elijah poured out his heart to Him was to put him to sleep. Next, an angel touched him —physical touch, a hug, an embrace, a hand massage, a real massage, is a personal healer. I love it that God’s angel touched Elijah and brought him physical comfort. God still didn’t give Elijah a lecture —instead, the angel fed him.
Sometimes mamas have been going for so long without a break, they start breaking down! A wise woman will learn her limitations and learn to say “no” so that she does not live in a constant state of exhaustion. You can only hold so many ideals at once, so be sure to hold on the ones that matter. And do what you are best at doing —don’t compare your life to someone else’s. You might need to start out your new beginning with sleep, a touch of gentle love, and eating well, perhaps exercising, and then take time to ponder and plan..
We are not just minds and hearts, we are bodies with limitations. If we over-exert ourselves, we will crash and burn. When others are taking from us 24/7, we must wisely learn that taking care of ourselves is essential to our emotional and spiritual and physical well being. This season, if you are tired, be sure to take a break —get some rest, seek some physical comfort and restoration, eat well. You deserve to be cared for —even if you have to plan for it yourself. For many years, I kept waiting for someone to give me permission to take a break, but that didn’t happen. Finally, I took responsibility for my own happiness so that I could be happier and stronger for my kids on this long term journey.
4. “He who walks with the wise, grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~Proverbs 13:20
You might need some inspiration, some help, some counsel, some perspective. Find someone older, more experienced, and wiser to meet with, and ask them to help you come up with a plan. Sometimes this is easier said than done. I have found that when I give up my pride and pour out my heart to wise people, I usually find compassion and often find help.
My mentors for many years were books. I was always hunting down books written by women or men older and more insightful in life. I determined to learn, and to grow every year.
This means being teachable, and changing when we need to. Find wise people, books, conferences, a church, the Word of God, and gain wisdom from them. Just decide to grow and progress every year; don’t expect instant maturity on your part or your children’s.
5. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits.“ ~James 3:17
God’s wisdom and leading lead us to peace, mercy and good fruit. Each of us must evaluate —what is stealing my peace? What is sucking my energy? How can I change it? This is a long distance run, not a spring–wisdom from above will teach you to pace yourself–and not to say yes just to please others. You are quite free to be yourself, live your own story, live within your own limitations.
What notions are misleading you? Boys are given testosterone from God for a reason–they are supposed to grow up and be strong! Work with them, accept their noise, invest in their hearts, don’t try to control them —lead and inspire and train them little by little.
What is not producing good fruit —your schedule? Your lack of rhythms and consistency with your children? Your lack of training with your children? Then put your finger on what is bothering you and make a practical step forward. How are you going to eliminate the stressors you have control over? How can you eliminate some of the drainers? What is one way you will become stronger and more disciplined in the next month. Be very honest about what you must cut or quit doing or is your flaw and be vigilant about pursuing the wisdom that provides peace and good fruit.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” ~Psalm 145:18
(Sally and I are praying for you behind the scenes. Don’t lose heart and stand firm in the Lord! His salvation draws near!)
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