Have you ever been praying and had an image pop into your mind that is a perfect metaphor of what God is trying to teach you? Today I was praying for God to help me to be more intentional about leading my children to walk closely with Him, and the image of a relief worker passing sandbags assembly-line style during a flood flashed vividly across my mind.
Many times since Ezekiel was born, I’ve found myself thinking and sometimes admitting out loud that I feel empty and even dead inside. Giving and giving and giving to my family, while not ever getting filled back up has been a recipe for disaster.
“Self care” is a phrase thrown around a lot these days, but most moms know that isn’t something that is easily accomplished and some days (MANY days) is quite honestly impossible. However, letting God care for me is never impossible. While I may not get many opportunities to do hobbies or take bubble baths or go out with friends, God is always with me. It’s up to me to turn to Him.
My problem is often perfectionism. I want an hour of solitude, a cup of delicious, hot coffee, a bar of 72% dark chocolate, my Bible, a nice notebook and the perfect pen for note-taking. I want to indulge in a long, deep study, with reflection and prayer. That scenario isn’t usually possible in this season, so I find myself telling God, “I guess I’ll have to wait to be with You another day.”
God isn’t a visitor who expects me to create a perfect atmosphere and abandon my life and responsibilities to be with Him (Of course, I’m sure He loves those moments of undivided attention). He is my Father. He wants to be with me when I’m sick, while I’m wiping little booties, while I’m washing dishes, while I’m crying alone in my closet, because I’m not sure WHAT to do with these kids of mine. While I love the days that I get a solid hour to study the Bible, a moment of prayer here and five minutes of Bible reading there can be life-sustaining in this season when I have to give everything I’ve got to the people I love. But how many times have I tried to give to my family without first reaching back to receive grace, mercy, love, and fulfillment from the Lord?
Back to my prayer metaphor…imagine a relief worker handing a sandbag to the person in front of her and then standing there waiting for that person to turn back to her for another sandbag. When the moment comes, she’s got nothing to give, because she didn’t turn back to receive another sandbag from the source. How ridiculous a thought?! But this is me when I serve my children day in and day out without turning back to the ultimate Source of life and energy and love. The quicker the relief worker turns back to the source, the faster she is able to give again. The quicker I turn back to the LORD, the faster I have what I need to lead my children and serve them with love.
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me…And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:12-13, 19.