I have had this post on my heart for awhile, but yesterday as I was listening to podcast, I realized the importance of this topic….
As I walking through the grocery store yesterday with my headphones on, off in my own little world, ALONE (minus all the people in the store) I was feeling as though I was on vacation. I could have felt guilty because one of my four had so badly wanted to come with me to shop. Normally, I would have let her come as I try REALLY hard to carve out individual time with the girls each week, but she was exhausted and this mama needed a break…
A few months ago, I would have put my need for a break aside because I would have deemed it selfish, or at the very least not as important as her wanting some one on one time with mom. I would have convinced myself that I didn’t really need to be alone, that grocery shopping was intended to be stressful and that this was my job, a job that comes with very few breaks or breathers…
but yesterday I said no, and off I went alone.
As I was listening to one of my homeschooling mom podcasts, one of the speakers was reading listener questions and a question came up that gave me pause. It was a valid question, but one that so many moms are battling with and shouldn’t be….
“Is it okay for moms to take a break? Is it biblical to carve out time to put myself in front of the needs of my family?”
A few months ago, I may not have even been able to answer that question. Because I truly believed that it wasn’t. I lived the first few years of motherhood under the notion that as long as I was needed, my needs came last. When there was one child, or even two there was more time that I wasn’t needed by default, but by the time number 4 came there was no time that spontaneously appeared where no one needed me. Day and night, around the clock, chances were 1 of the 4 needed something from me….
and so I gave, and gave, and gave, and gave….
until I felt as though I could not give anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE taking care of my girls. Being with my children is my absolute favorite thing in the whole world. I was created for this, I know that. I love teaching them, watching them learn, and being the one who kisses the boo-boos and answers the tough questions. I love that I can decipher whats wrong just by glancing at them because I am with them so much. I couldn’t imagine a day without the snuggles and the snotty kisses….
but I was becoming depleted. Dried up. The other things about me that were also things I was created for, were disappearing one by one. Writing, editing, creating and crafting were being taken off the table….
then reading and learning for my own benefit…
and finally my own quiet time was being sacrificed for the needs of someone else.
In the midst of all of the craziness, I forgot that I was a person created with needs.
but, more than that, that the needs of others couldn’t be met if I had nothing to give.
Things became overwhelming, anxiety inducing, and I was a wreck. I was tired, worn out and doubting my ability to handle anything else.
But then, during our bible study something amazing happened. We read the parable of the sower together in Mark.
Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
I can’t even count how many times I have read this parable, I have notes in all different types of pen surrounding the section in my bible, but none of those notes brought to light what my children were about to teach me….
We were learning about how plants grow during the time that we read this section, so my kids knew all about what makes soil “good”…
I had been so caught up in making sure that the seeds planted in my life didn’t get choked out by the thorns, that I had forgotten I need to check the goodness of my own soil. As I was asking the girls questions, they began to point out to me about how soil and seeds need to be taken care of in order to grow! A farmer doesn’t just hope that the soil is good, he makes sure it is. He waters it, takes care of it, and doesn’t overcrowd it with too many things. He tends to it as the plants grow, weeding out the thorns and ensuring the good plants take root.
Good soil isn’t just happenstance, good soil is created by the effort of the farmer.
We don’t have to have good soil for the seeds in our life to begin to bear fruit, we can create good soil in our lives….
But we can’t do that if we don’t take care of it. Overworked mamas who are overwhelmed, and don’t get a break are depleting their soil of nutrients. If we do that, nothing can grow.
I want to offer my family the best of me, but in order to do that, I have to give myself permission to take care of me. I have to allow myself to realize that fulfilling my needs is just as vital to my family’s growth as everyone else’s needs.
What good am I if my soil can’t bear fruit?
So whatever it is that fills you up, whether its reading, writing, shopping alone, sleeping, crafting, hanging out with friends, studying the word, or catching up on your DVR – carve out time to do it. Let your family know its necessary, ask for help and plan to take care of yourself….
You need to come back and weed and water your soil, mama.