I’ve heard the role of a stay at home mom described as stringing beads. Each day you get out your string and put on beads—one for meals, another for clean-up, reading storybooks, doctoring boo-boos, dishes, diaper changes, tidying-up, laundry, sweeping, and so on. At the end of the day you look down and realize all the beads have slipped right off your string and tomorrow you will do them again! Add the role of Navstaff into the mix with an often-changing schedule, influx of people coming through your home, and late (but fun!) evenings, and the need for some refreshers in your day is paramount.
We know our deepest need is Jesus. Spending time with Him, meditating on the Word, prayer—these are some of the most soul-refreshing choices we can make. There is also something to enjoying and savoring daily life with Jesus. Throughout adulthood I’ve been trying to figure out what things refresh me. (Other than my unrealistic dream of a weekly spa day!) I’ve found a few: drinking tea and reading the Bible or a good book, going for a walk, playing the piano, and taking a moment to inhale and savor the rare moments that both the kitchen and living room are all picked-up. I’m finding that it is so important for me to be intentional to plan a few of these refreshers into my daily life. As I’m stringing my beads for the day, I have something to look forward to, and I am not ending the day on empty.
If I am dreading a certain task, I can plan a reward—when I finish _____, I will take 5 minutes to drink tea on the porch. Before I make that call that is going to take some energy, I am going to sit down and play piano for a few minutes. These help me stay pleasant and refreshed throughout the day. I’ve found that setting a timer for my kids can really help them be patient and give me some space. They know that I won’t be on the porch forever, and they can watch the ticker move towards the ding. If I take all the kids on a walk, I usually need to remind myself to savor it! Sometimes I say no to riding bikes or scooters so that I’m not “on duty” quite so heavily, and the opportunities for injuries are minimized. As I push the stroller, I will have my kids pair up and go for a “sibling walk” several paces ahead of me. This way they can have some 121 time together, and I get a breather and some mental space!
Sometimes in a mommy missionary life we have to dig deep and push through our tiredness and get the job (whatever it may be) done. But if we find ourselves having to dig deep every day, day after day, an unhealthy soul tiredness can develop. I’ve learned about myself that I tend to run full speed ahead until I hit a wall and then am completely done. This doesn’t work out well for me or my family! Thankfully, I can think back on the day and learn from it. What were the drainers? Where could I have chosen rest? What personal limits do I need to acknowledge, respect, and trust the Lord with?
In different seasons the number of “people” things I can do in a day has changed. Right now, getting out of the house takes a lot of planning with an infant, so I am mindful of that when planning my week. And rushing is always a drainer for me. A good preventative refresher for me is to alleviate hurry and plan for margin.
Sometimes I have to learn to be content with things left undone. I find this is a challenge my husband faces, too. He has a never-ending to-do list, there is always another guy he could meet one-on-one, and his email inbox and google calendar sometimes shock me. Yet somehow he has learned to come home and shut it off to be with us. I want to save energy to be with “us” too!
Can I encourage you to make a list of 5 refreshers you would look forward to and plan at least one into each day this week? I pray this will help each of us to string our daily beads with joy and truly shine as a light in our homes, neighborhoods, and ministries.