8 Life-Giving Ways You Need to Be a Healthier, Happier Mom

8 Life-Giving Ways You Need to Be a Healthier, Happier Mom

  

Reading Time: 6 min 43 sec

 

 I never really understood the sacrifice my mother made over the years until I became a mom. The first year as a young mom can be a straight up culture shock, as you adjust to life as a 24/7 caregiver.  You are happy to serve, to care for this completely helpless young life, but at times it can seem like you are walking around in a fog and half of you is missing.

 

Your lack of sleep, and the stress of the daily learning curve and new routine, can affect your motivation, and mental and emotional energy.  Sometimes all you want to do is veg out in front of the tv and make it through another day.

 

 Yes, a new baby throws your sleep cycle ( no sleep is more accurate) to the curb and to survive, as you adjust to being a new mom, self-care doesn’t even make the priority list.  But what should be a temporary season, can quickly bleed over into an unhealthy pattern that sets the tone for how you operate as an individual, and as a mom for the rest of your life.

 

New baby, new job, multiple kids, projects at work, home repairs, playdates and soccer there will be something to give you a reason to live your life running from emergency to emergency.  You tell yourself, I’ll take care of myself later until you are utterly too tired and worn out to keep all those plates in the air.

 

 We will be talking today about 5 Practical ways (plus 3 bonus tools) to replenish your body and soul and prevent burnout.

  • Date Yourself

  • Silence and Solitude

  • Community

  • Sleep

  • Spouse

  • Schedule

  • Time with Jesus

  • Exercise

 

In Matthew 11:28-30 it says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 

What would it look like to get away with God? What would it feel like to take a real rest?  Jesus said that he will teach us how-to walk-through life’s rhythms with grace, stepping freely and lightly.  The Father says he won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on us.

So why do we think that it’s okay, to burn the candle at both ends,

 playing martyrs to our own expectations of motherhood?  

 

What would it feel like to truly operate in the world, out of a place of grace?

 Tish Harrison Warren, in her book, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in the Everyday Life says it this way, “Similarly, when we denigrate our bodies—whether through neglect or staring at our faces and counting up our flaws—we are belittling a sacred site, a worship space more wonderous than the most glorious, ancient cathedral. We are standing before the Grand Canyon or the Sistine Chapel and rolling our eyes.” 

We are God’s precious creation, his beloved, his chosen, his adopted child and he is asking us to take his hand and step into a life of grace, living freely and lightly, will you join me?

 

Here are the 8 practical steps:

1. Date Yourself

Take time to invest in the things that bring you joy. That could mean carving out time to craft, go to a coffee shop, experiment with different recipes in the kitchen, get a massage, or go to a movie. It is about taking the time to recharge your batteries.  Set aside the pressure to be productive.  Invite God’s presence into your time and enjoy yourself; explore, create, wonder, and delight in whatever and however, you have chosen to spend your time.

 

  1. Silence and Solitude

This is a hard idea for most people as we are a society that doesn’t know how to be alone with our thoughts. We are so used to being tethered to our smartphones that taking the time to get away without constantly checking in can feel foreign.

However, revisiting Matthew 11:28-29, God calls us to, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”

God is calling to us to get away with him. To set aside distractions and just be in his presence.  This is a tool that extraverts or introverts can fit easily into the rhythms of our lives.  

Practice silence and solitude in the shower, during a walk, over your lunch hour, while your child is napping, in the early morning, or late at night before you go to bed. Invite God’s presence into your time, and focus your thoughts on him, just being in his presence with no demands.  Start spending time in the silence with Jesus for 5 minutes (blanket and a cup of coffee optional).

 

3. Community

Go grab a coffee with one of your close friends.  You were never meant to walk through life alone but in community with others.  You need friends and family who care about you to come alongside and help shoulder life’s burdens.

You need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment knowing you will be met with love and encouragement.

We need each other.

If you don’t have a community of close friends, I would encourage you to check out a small group your local church, where you can be known and know others. 

 

4. Sleep

 

There are tons of studies that tell us that the average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are at a stage in life, where that suggestion is more dream than reality (trust me, been there, done that) try twenty-minute power naps. It gives you the energy you need without making you feel like you got hit by two by four.

 

Take a nap, your to-do list will still be there.  Remember, you are giving the gift of a rested mom to your family.

 

 

5. Spouse

 

Time alone with your spouse cannot be forgotten. The ability to have adult conversations, without having to operate as a parent, allows you to reconnect with your spouse on a deep level. Your spouse (next to God) is the most important relationship in your life. Your husband will be there long after the kids move out of the house. 

 

Go play a sport, explore a new part of your city, or go for a walk. If you are unable to get away, put the kids to bed, and go sit outside (it will feed the illusion you are a million miles away).  

 

6. BonusExercise

 

A 30-minute walk to clear our heads can make a world of difference. Not only is it good for our overall health, but it helps to remove tension and it allows you to sleep better at nights. Find an activity you love to do, and plan to get out of the house, 3-4 times a week, and burn that stress!

 

7. Bonus-Schedule

 

Take 10 minutes and look at your schedule. Ask yourself, what activities bring you joy? What activities feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill? Do you have room to breathe, is there margin in your life? Or are you running from one activity to the next? Is there an dominate activity that could be cut back (or removed), for your overall health?

 

Notice if the word, “should” pops up in your evaluation. It can be a tipoff to look harder at that activity and whether or not it should be exited from your calendar.  Your calendar is a good indicator of where your priorities lie.

 

8. Bonus-Time with Jesus

 

Spending time with Jesus is crucial to finding rest in the middle of stormy seasons of life. Imagine Jesus is holding out his hand, calling out to you and saying, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 

 Jesus doesn’t want you to live in a permanent state of frantic activity or utter exhaustion. He wants you to find rest. We won’t learn to live out of grace, standing firm in the midst of storms if we don’t spend time investing in a love relationship with Jesus.

 

Can you imagine a time where spending time with Jesus was not an obligation, but a necessary delight in your life?  If this idea of delighting in Jesus, sparks something in you, I would encourage you to check out David Benner’s book, Surrender to Love.

 

Start with taking 10-15 minutes each day and spending it with Jesus. Read slowly through a passage of scripture, not trying to get it done, but meditating on it, and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you. 

 

I would encourage you to pick one thing off this list and incorporate it into your week.  You got this!

 

If you want to know how to get started in living a deeper life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families.

What about you? What are your favorite ways to recharge your batteries, to replenish your soul?  Please feel free to leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

 

Want to dive in deeper? Check out these resources.

 

  1. Liturgy of the Ordinary – Tish Harrison Warren

  2. Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in Rhythms of Rest – Lynn M. Baab

  3. Organized Simplicity – Tsh Oxenreider you try any of these activities, let us know! Leave a comment, and don

 

30 Inspiring Quotes for Moms in the Trenches

30 Inspiring Quotes for Moms in the Trenches

Reading Time: 4 min 20 sec

Isn’t the power of words amazing, how God can use them to light a spark in our own lives?

 

I once read the quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men and women to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” 

 

I was immediately captivated with this idea that no matter what role we play in life (mom, executive, homemaker, teacher etc.) we are all in positions to inspire others.  Our calling as parents, with the power of the Holy Spirit, is to foster a curiosity for the things of God in our children.

 

As we make that umpteenth peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or fold another basket of laundry, it can be encouraging to know that we are not alone. That women and men since the beginning of time have had the same struggles, the same frustrations, the same sin, and yet they have been used mightily by God in the lives of their families.

Have you ever had a quote immediately catch your attention, something inside of you jumping out and saying, “Yes, that rings true for me”?

Have you ever asked God why those words resonate with your soul?

 

I included an activity below that will allow you space to ask God that question. 

So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

ACTIVITY:  I have compiled a list of my top 30 inspirational quotes and instead of just scanning them quickly, I want to encourage you this week, to take some time and read through them slowly. Then choose a quote that jumps out at you, bring it to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to speak to you through those words. 

 I would love to hear about your experience!  If you try this activity, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest.   

Mom Inspiration 

 

1. “The first act of love is always the giving of attention”  Dallas Willard

2. “Know that even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans.”  Theresa of Avila   

                               

3. “Homemaking is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government, etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes?… The homemaker’s job is one for which all other’s exist.” C.S. Lewis

4. “What if Christians were known as a countercultural community of the well-rested-people who embrace our limits with zest and even joy? Tish Harrison Warren

 

5. “Children are most like adults in their feelings. They are least like adults in their thinking. More information does not make them think like us.” Catherine Stonehouse

 

6. “When I worry, I got to the mirror and say to myself, ‘This tremendous thing that worries me is beyond solution. It is even too big for God to handle.’ Then I have a good laugh.”  Corrie Ten Boom

 

7. Trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be  Theresa of Avila

 

8.  “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”  James Dobson

9. “Since it is so likely that Children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” C.S. Lewis

 

10.  “God is forming us into new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today.” Tish Harrison Warren

 

11. “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.” Corrie Ten Boom

 

12.  “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” C.S. Lewis

 

13.  “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  Dallas Willard

 

  1. Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes.”  Teresa of Avila

 

  1. “In the nitty-gritty of my daily life, repentance for idolatry may look as pedestrian as shutting off my e-mail an hour earlier or resisting that alluring clickbait to go to bed.”  Tish Harrison Warren

16. “Here is a truth you must never forget: God is more interested in the person you are becoming than in your work, or your ministry, or your job.” Dallas Willard

 

17. “Worship is love on its knees before the beloved, just as mission is love on its feet to serve the beloved.”-N.T.Wright

 

18. “Coffee is born of extravagance, an extravagant God who formed an extravagant people, who formed a craft out of the pleasures of roasted beans and frothed milk.”  Tish Harrison Warren

 

19. “Sometimes we’re so concerned about giving our children what we never had growing up, we neglect to give them what we did have growing up.”   James Dobson

 

20. “You must take the time to consider why it is you have no time to spend time with the Father.”  Dallas Willard

 

Your Christian Journey

 

  1. “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”  C.S. Lewis

 22. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  Corrie Ten Boom

  1. God wants a child’s heart and a grown-up’s head.”  C.S. Lewis
  1. Prayer is talking to God about what we are doing together” Dallas Willard

  1. Only the humble person will let God be God”  Dallas Willard

  1. So how is it with your soul?”  Ruth Haley Barton

  1. “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”  Corrie Ten Boom

 

God’s Love for You

 

28.  “God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity  

                                                                 

29. “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to him and if they were  to allow his grace to mold them accordingly.”  St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

30. “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still”. Corrie Ten Boom

 

 What about you? What is your favorite quote? 

 

If you try any of this activity, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest. about you? What are your favorite ways to increase your child’s awareness of God? 

 If you try any of these activities, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follo

How to Spend Time with Jesus in the Chaos

How to Spend Time with Jesus in the Chaos

              

Reading Time: 6 min 

Life can be so crazy, even with all of our attempts to prioritize, to cut back. We all come to the realization that like nature, there are ebbs and flows, times of business and times of rest. 

 

The birth of a baby, the start of a new job, the death of family member, chronic sickness, and major projects both at home and work can all throw off the routine and leave us in a state of upheaval.

 

 As a mom, how do we prioritize our relationship with God when we haven’t had a shower in three days?  And how do we not sink into frustration and despair when EVERY TIME (cue dramatic sigh), we go to spend some time with our Heavenly Father, our toddler wakes up screaming from his nap (after we just spent 30 minutes getting him to sleep), or our dog starts barking ferociously at the mailman?

 

Is it even realistic to assume that a life with God is possible when there are so many demands on our attention?

 

What does it even look like to spend time with God as a busy mom? These are the questions that run through every mom’s head from time to time as we heave a sigh of exhaustion and get up to put out yet another fire.

 

What would it look like to live a life where our everyday tasks became an act of worship to our King? Where in the still and chaotic ordinary moments we can be present, looking and waiting on God.

 

How would it feel to take our ordinary moments and let God transform them, allowing us to live our lives with abundant joy?

 

   Is It Important? 

Is It Possible?

  Is It Ordinary? 

  1. Is It Important?We have heard countless times all of the reasons why we should spend time with Jesus. Intellectually we get it, but it can seem so unproductive, there are projects compete, and bathrooms to clean, and to stop and just BE can seem well, a cross between a lazy and an extravagant luxury. God will understand, we tell ourselves, when life calms down, when Jr. isn’t screaming at the top of his lungs,  then you will definitely spend quality time with Jesus.

     

    If we are not intentional we can live our lives always responding to the loudest crisis, sacrificing our spiritual health, on the altar of productivity, and the urgent.   We will miss out on the most foundational part of life; a life lived in intimate relationship with Jesus. 

     

    It says, in 1 Kings, 19:11-13, “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”

      Would you be able to hear God if he came as a gentle whisper?

 Being a follower of Jesus, at its core, is all about a love relationship with God.  It is about daily surrender, the laying down of your to-do lists, your hopes, and dreams to the one who lavishly loves you.  

1 John 4:15-16 it says this, Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.”

 

Attempting to follow Jesus, without actually spending time with him, is like trying to live our lives with both hands and feet tied behind our back. When you are tired and worn out, when you are frustrated and depressed, when you are struggling, God calls out to you, his beloved child, saying, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”(Matt. 11:28)

 

I read that verse and think of a refuge, a place where all of my burdens, my physical frailties, and my relationship woes, are all laid before God; and he hands me a thick blanket, and encourages me to sink into a place of deep and abiding rest, secure in the knowledge that he has  everything under control.

 all given over to God, and he hands me a thick

Ephesians 3:14-19 says this, “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

 

There is an adventure that comes with experiencing the love of the Father. Call out to him, meet him, and let him show you the depth of his love for you. I can truly say that your life will never be the same.

 

 

2. Is It Possible?

 

When you feel that you can’t add another thing to your schedule or start to wonder if life with God is possible for a busy mom; ask yourself these questions: 

a. What are your priorities? Rank them from highest to lowest. Follow up the process by asking yourself, “Why?”

 

b. Why is your life chaotic? Is it a season of change (new baby, new job)? Or is your schedule something you can tweak?

 

c. Do you have unrealistic expectations for time with Jesus? (ex. I need to spend one hour with God after being up all night with the baby?)

 

 

We can get so caught up in moving through life that we don’t stop to periodically ask ourselves why are we doing what we are doing?  We need to come to grip with the season of life that we are in, giving ourselves grace, and embrace meeting with God in the limitations of that season.

 

Susanna Wesley is an encouraging example to mothers everywhere, of a woman who understood the trials of a busy life, but who thoroughly embraced the joys and constraints of her current season of life. A homeschooling mother of eleven children (including her famous sons John and Charles Wesley) she was known for being very serious about her faith.

 

“One of the most dramatic examples of how busy and crowded the house often was is that as a signal to her children to be quiet, Susanna would sometimes sit down and pull her apron over her head so that she could pray in peace.”  Eric Metaxas captured this telling moment, in his book, 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness.

 

Life with God is not only possible, but it is necessary (cue screaming kid).   

 

3.  IS IT ORDINARY?

 

How can we embrace the season of life that we are in? By not regulating God to that quiet, special time we title, devotions, but look to include him in the ordinary moments of our day.  

 

Invite him into your day when you wake up. Pray for yourself and others while you are washing the dishes.  Embrace the moments of silence by just enjoying His presence while in the shower, or on the way to work.  Turn off the podcast and talk, or hang out with God while mowing the lawn.

 

God is always present with us.  Ask God for the grace to be present with Him, to love Him, and to enjoy Him all throughout the day. 

 

Brother Lawrence, a French monk who lived during in the 17th century, is a great example of someone who made the ordinary things extraordinary by doing them unto God. 

 

He was assigned the monastery kitchen, which he did not enjoy, and in the midst of the unglamorous ordinary tasks, he decided to spend time with God, worshipping and praising him.

 

He said, “We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”

 

So, join me by inviting God’s presence, and offering the best, worst and in-between moments of our day as an act of worship to him.

 

What about you? What are your favorite ways to meet with Jesus in your everyday life?

 

If you enjoyed this post, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest. 

 

Interested in Exploring this Topic Further?  

Check out these titles:

1. Liturgy of the Ordinary – Tish Harrison Warren

2. Death By Suburb – David L. Goetz

bout you? What are your favorite ways to increase your child’s awareness of God? 

 If you try any of these activities, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follo

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