One day, there was a young mom with eight children under ten years old, she was serving as a town council Vice President and was organizing festivals for Main Street. Homeschooling the kids and always searching for strategies to help her struggle learners to thrive, and to help her struggling neighbors to become a community, and helping at church and building her home-based ministries. She contributed to the family income by teaching classes every weekend for IUPUI. She cooked a feast every night. She was helping to run a farm store and all her children were starting their own businesses… she was up at night with a nursing baby and had a car seat under her desk at town hall.
And everything she did was fueled by self care and a little time at the feet of Jesus.
She made an effort to carve out time to recharge and to put her own passions and creativity on a pedestal, to always start and end her days with a time of focus on the things that brought her joy. One day she had realized that she was awake for over 16 hours a day and it was no crime to take one or two of those hours each day to focus on filling her own heart, and investing in her own needs, passions and pursuits. She gave 14 hours away to everyone and everything else, but held precious her space to thrive.
Some people send a message that mothers should never for a moment put themselves first, never for a moment do one thing for the joy of it… if there is a dish in the sink or laundry to be done. She learned to let the children entertain themselves, she helped her husband understand that if he didn’t give her a break she would have no energy for him at the end of the day, so she stopped listening to the voice of guilt and picked up a paint brush, a crochet hook, and a good book. As the children grew, her talents and hobbies developed and grew as well.
She was an example to her children of a parent who didn’t loose herself to parenting.
As her hobbies grew along side her children they became so well developed that they eventually became an income source that allowed her husband to become a stay-at-home dad who could focus on his own calling to serve others on the mission field, in the community, and be at home with the children. All the children were thriving so they had another baby and adopted five more kids.
The family didn’t thrive because she sacrificed everything to meet the needs and demands of others, the family thrived because she knew how to fill her own tank, and she knew of to give herself rest and space to be who she was meant to be, and by taking care of herself she was able to accomplish so many more things for others than she would if she lost herself to motherhood. She would tell you that there is nothing more precious to her than her family, but she knows that a family thrives when the mother thrives. And by the grace of God, and through the compassion and encouragement of a loving husband she took care of herself too.