Overload. As a mom with over 30 years of training, I know the problem well.
But after the last couple months I think I know it even better!
Surely you know what I mean by a mom overload.
Picture a cute little mule with a pretty pink hat loaded down with so many heavy bundles that her back is bowed and her knees are buckling.
Usually well equipped to tote her load, she is now straining to keep moving.
Maybe you never thought of a mule as cute. Or maybe you don't like my comparison of a mom to a mule.
But nevertheless, that is what I sometimes picture myself as! …A work horse for my family who needs to be equipped to carry loads selflessly, tirelessly and steadfastly no matter what my family's hiking terrain may be.
Since the end of February I have weathered some crazy days:
Unexpectedly moving my parents out of a 2600 square foot house to a 700 square foot apartment
Preparing their house for sale
Supporting my mom through an extremely painful illness and emergency surgery
Helping Nathan and Tara welcome their 4th child Andrew
Taking my mom back to the hospital for a second stay due to surgery complications
Dealing with a mystery appendicitis threat with my 12 year old, and
Weathering some nasty viruses in the house....
All during my most demanding season of speaking engagements of the year and my usual challenges of homeschooling, dishes and laundry.
Sometimes the demands of life can seem overwhelming.
And now that I am sandwiched in between 4 generations of people who need me, I am very glad the Lord has been working to increase my capacity to stand up under the unpredictable
Today, I want to encourage you with 7 things I realized I needed to appropriate in my life in order to keep smiling and trucking on through my tough season. (Which I am very happy to report seems to be easing up in its intensity!)
1. Trust God's timing over yours
When I got the call saying my parents' name had unexpectedly come up on a senior apartment waiting list, I was shocked. They had told me last year it could take a l-o-n-g time for a 2 bedroom that would meet their needs. It seemed like the worst possible timing to rush a moving decision and pack them up all during my busiest season of travel ever.
But God knew what He was doing! From His perfect vision He knew of the crisis in my mother's health that would put her and my dad in need of more support and services. Sometimes we can only understand His timing when we look back. But I guarantee His timing and plans are always better than mine.
2. Re-prioritize your many demands
Perhaps some of my subscribers have noticed a lag on my blog posting lately. It was necessary during this last season for me to do some re-prioritizing and let some things go. Frontline Moms was one of those things....and that is okay.
We cannot do it "all" in all seasons. Pray and trust God to help you lay the non-essential aside. And then walk away from those items on your list with a heart of peace that He will make up what you cannot do.
3. Let others step up...even when they do not do it as well
I was so grateful to my children and husband who stepped in to "cover" some of my jobs while I spent days at the hospital and at my parents' home packing. Looking back I can see how God built us into a team to survive the storm.
Some days I was tempted to feel guilty when I just could not cover all my bases. The children had to have a dad solution to their problems even when the mom solution might have been what they wanted. But that was ok! We all pulled together and love prevailed.
4. Give your body some room to tribulate
Fatigue and stress are tough on our bodies. I had to give myself some room when my nutrition slipped off track, my exercise routine went out the window, and my wrinkles were looking a little more pronounced. I learned to say to myself, "Lisa, you are going to get back on track again. Just do the best you can for right now and don't add guilt and condemnation on top of the burdens you are already carrying!"
5. Expect your weaknesses to rise up...again!
It doesn’t always seem fair that stress can cause our own personal performance to go down...just when we really need it to go up! I used to be afraid of my own weaknesses surfacing for others to see. But now I think of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: I boast of my weakness...for where I am weak, He is strong.
6. Know the season will end
As surely as spring follows winter, smooth seasons in our personal lives follow the hard. When we set our hearts on the Lord we can weather the difficult seasons with peace and strength. (See Psalm 29:11)
7. Feel the emotions...but cast them on God
Women are designed by God to feel emotions deeply. I think that is one beautiful thing about being a woman! But sometimes my emotions are just too much for me to bear (and definitely too much for others to understand.) Stuffing my emotions is not healthy.
But sharing my emotions with the Lord is healthy. Grief, anger, fear, sadness, pain, remorse, guilt...He can handle them and He wants to carry us through the storm. Learn to cry out to Him. Learn to let the tears flow as you cast the weights on Him. (See Psalm 55:22)
Image: Rowan “party Hat” via Flickr Creative Commons
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