One of my favorite things to do each month is to write for No Hands But Ours. I love to write. I love to share. I actually love to sit over coffee with friends and talk — but I find myself in this current season with six children ranging from toddler to teen with little time to do the things that refill me as momma.
But. You are reading this… so this miracle of writing happened — and this… this is holy time for me — so I take great care of the words I pen for you to read. Because I know like me — your time is sacred, these days extra minutes scarce — and to encourage you is a holy privilege.
As I laid in bed way past even my bed time, I prayed through what to write. What your heart might need to hear. My mind quickly shifted to all my week held. And I knew… we all needed this. ”We interrupt this regularly scheduled post on No Hands But Ours…
To remind you.
To ask you…
To hold your hands — move in closer…
to first tell you to breathe… a deep breath in and a deep breath out…
To ask you to take some time today to remember and brainstorm new ways to take care of you — for the sake of you, your marriage, and your family — because in the busy of parenting, advocating and being keepers of our homes we often forget to do the most simple things to care for ourselves.
I found myself this week in the midst of juggling so much more than I personally could handle alone. I homeschool two of my six with a baby on my hip. The other three children go to two different schools between them. My husband traveled all week — and can I just say we missed the bus two of the three mornings he was away?! Can I blame it on a power outage for at least one of those mornings?
I ran more carpools this week than I could (or want to) count.
I taught children at my table by day and flipped flashcards by night.
I heard a baby saying my name over a monitor in middle of the night hours — and rocked her back to sleep… more than a few times.
I scheduled an educational evaluation — and cancelled the educational evaluation after I decided to give it a few more weeks first. You’ve done this too right?
I held it together before a teacher meeting about new strategies to try — and I sat in my driveway and paid the babysitter an extra few minutes longer as I cried behind the wheel.
I texted a friend to let her know this mom gig is no joke… as if she didn’t already know.
The list goes on — and on — and most likely your week looked very similar.
We mommas find ourselves here at the end of a week — or at the beginning of a new one (depending on the perspective that makes your heart the happiest) often times just reminding ourselves to simply… breathe. We champion ourselves to focus just on today because if we think about tomorrow, it really feels like too much.
I want to remind you — who I really believe if you are reading this right now – that the Lord brought you to this quite place some how in the midst of much to remind you of this: you matter.
Did you hear that?
I’m here for just a moment to advocate for you — what you need — because you matter so much to the heart for Jesus.
He loves you with an everlasting love.
Yes — you need to take care of you so you can better take care of them… that’s what everyone says and it is good and true. Yes — you need to be rested so you can love all the people from spouse to mouse. But you need to take care of you…
You are loved.
You are His.
You are the child of the utmost King.
It’s so, so important that right now — if you have forgotten — that you remember. Not for their sake – yes you need to take care of you for them – that’s what we parents keep saying to ourselves. But. More than that — we need to remember our own value in just who we are and take care of us because He loves us and wants us to remember who we are in Him.
This can be so hard to do as we have so many needs in our home and on our calendars so I just want to share some things I have been doing lately that are breathing so much life into my life…
1. Keep a dream journal.
I started this little “dream” journal I keep in my purse (aka diaper bag). I jot down my dreams in it—and when I have a thought that will help me one step closer to that dream, I chicken scratch under it. It can be anything. To make you laugh — my first page, y’all — says “Grow long hair.” I know. I’m 40. But whatever. It’s my secret — now not so secret dream. You are laughing, but when you are taking care of all the people do you really have time to think about things like hair? No. But I had the thought — so I wrote it down.
I may have chicken scratch under this about the inversion method. What you ask? I digress but this young girl on YouTube said if I hang upside down every night and massage my head for four minutes my hair will grow. Hilarious. My middle school son may have come downstairs last week to find me upside down scratching my head, and we belly laughed together like we hadn’t in a long time! He said he didn’t know I cared about my hair, and why would I listen to some young person about that?! Because, well it’s fun. This was a step in the right direction for more than one reason. My kids also need to see that mom takes care of mom no matter how silly it seems!
So my dream journal has funny things, but also big dreams too. Either way, it’s my place to write these down, keep close by so I can jot them down when I think of them –because it can be easy to stop dreaming when your days often feel like you are just holding lots of moving pieces together for everyone else.
2. Reclaiming one thing you loved that you let go.
There once was a time that your days were filled with lots of simple pleasures that you didn’t even realize breathed life into your life — back when you took care of you.
Spend a few days thinking back to what some of those things were that you haven’t had in your life in a long time — and actively invite just one of those simple pleasures back. Maybe you realize, as you invite one thing back, it just doesn’t bring you the rest and joy it once did. If that’s the case, invite something else back until you find that thing you have missed that breathes more life into this unique part of who He created you to be that you forgot about.
It could be something small and so easy to add back! For me — I used to love reading these flea market magazines. Maybe it’s crafting, a sport, exercise, gardening or reading something that has nothing to do with kids, special needs, education, etc. Spend some time reflecting and watch how you breathe easier as you find part of you that you let go without even realizing it.
3. Taking time to physically be still and breathe.
Y’all. This might be the one thing that is really breathing the most life into me right now as I actively focus on doing the thing that is truly the hardest for me — being still.
My “be still” funny of the week — I downloaded this song Weightless researchers said was proven to help you chill — and it was honestly challenging to listen in quiet for all 8 minutes. I listened in the car — and in my fatigue I may have given someone the peace sign at a red light — so maybe don’t listen to it in the car.
Just being still and breathing — resting for 10 minutes in the middle of my day – is helping me refocus before running to another thing. So instead of using that 10 minutes to check social media or email, all of which aren’t going any where, use that 10 minutes between kids activities or waiting on a child in therapy, a sport or carpool to be still. Sit on that bench and just take in God’s creation. Breathe. Refocus and watch how your perspective on your day begins to shift. It sounds simple — but this is really helping me the most right now in our busy.
I pray that some of these things might offer you inspiration to care for yourself.
I pray you find yourself in quite places remembering who you are and seeing your value again and again. I pray you find yourself in new places you had forgotten you could enter — looking at a friend across the table, asking and reminding each other things that challenge you both to remember and keep going.
I pray your cup is filled each day and when you find yourself in hard places where you are the decision maker and advocate, you experience the peace that surpasses all understanding and rest knowing you are not alone — and no matter what you try — He is bigger. He loves the people in your care… but He is absolutely head over heels for you and wants you to feel His care and love as you rise over and over again.
As always — we love to hear from you here at No Hands But Ours — so if there is something that is really breathing new life into you as a busy mom right now — we would love to hear what that is!
(Feel free to leave that inspiration in the comments for others! We need each other and how amazing it is that we get to spur one another on!)