Self Care {Day 24}

By Friday, October 24, 2014 1 0


Forgot to breathe today. Took too many steps in the wrong direction, let the weight on my shoulders press too hard, heard so much crying and whining and misplaced the mama filter sometime last week so it rang in my ears even while they slept. When I’m overwhelmed I forget to just take a moment. Even thankfulness, that beautiful soul-saving habit, I didn’t drop it but I didn’t pick it up either so it just flailed like a bug on its back and I flailed too. That tree is so beautiful I can’t listen to this crying any more. Thank you God for this amazing soup and salad dinner and the strength to make it my children have refused food for four days and they keep crying they’re hungry. I am so tired and stressed out and I need a full night’s sleep you have met all my needs today, Lord. 

It goes on. I let the stress build, I battled with my own strength and lost and I was a sore loser. The sickness, the whining, the minutiae, the to-do list, the waiting on God all piled high on a china saucer.

I couldn’t even swallow my spoonful of sugar. Good things, Holy things: my naptime devotion, a marriage video and encouragement in the waiting room, I just couldn’t process. That’s when I wondered if I might not make it through the day and then the kids were done with sleeping way too early and it wasn’t even lunch time and I started stopping breathing.

Girly watched a preview of a new book about marriage on my lap and she asked about a naked distended belly so I told her. I told her that we always have food when she’s hungry. We always eat and we can always feed her good food but not every baby has food. I told her every baby cries when she’s hungry but not every mama has food to give. It hurt in my heart and my belly for those babies but it also hurt the stone in my chest that my little one is constantly asking for food and I let that show a little too.

And then while they played I read the news and there it was: my children are growing up in a world where women might as well not be human beings. Where the powers that be condemn evil actions but don’t do anything to stop them…and I can’t either. How? How can I be American and live here and have all these precious goods while the Islamic State exists and takes all those precious goods? And how can I be mom to this fussy baby when nothing I offer him soothes?

Breath. I tried, here, to get a grip. I offered a little snack to the littlest and a little video to the biggest and I turned on the TV and even though only one channel comes in – we get ONE channel in a world where you can choose the voice of your news based on your political views – I see bodies and headlines because another child shot his classmates at school.

Husband arrives and I am filling the sink with doing but all he can hear is my sobbing because I am done. Done. Undone and totally out of control and on my knees on the dirty kitchen floor whispering His name and I know He’s here with me and with those precious students and with those women in chains but I can’t calm down and I still can’t calm down this crying baby who needs a vocabulary and probably another nap.

Later. The hot water heater closet on our deck is clean and organized, the water table sanitized and winterized, old paint cans prepared to die their slow death and I am breathing again and a sweet friend, who sort of specializes in self care, is picking me up in an hour. She comes and the baby is sleeping and the husband will take care of dinner and I will feel like a human being again.

Later later, I am creating a self-care plan. I’ve been reminded more than once that if I don’t do it here, I won’t do it on the field. Even work. If I don’t serve Jesus here, I won’t serve Him there and then who will I be serving? And if I don’t take care of myself here, I won’t do it there either so I’ve got to figure out how to say “I need some Rosie time” in Spanish too.

{I have taken a class about restoring peace to body and soul, and I have tools for recovering physical, mental and spiritual balance that have changed my life for the better, truly, but this week it just never crossed my mind to engage those tactics. That’s how far gone I was.}

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt //

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  • Ahhh…

    So glad you led me here. I stopped at the bug on her back. Such a great image. I had to turn it over (the image, and the bug) in my head. Because I want you to breathe. And then I kept reading. And I remembered those years (a distant memory, now) in my own life with the young ones going through a phase and the phase it puts a mother through sometimes. And I wanted you to breathe. Sometimes that’s all we have. Just our breath. And we offer it up as the only prayer we’ve got, with our fingers crossed that another will follow not too far behind the first.

    So glad you led me here. Praying, with love, for your exhale…