As a busy mom, I have to be intentional about allowing the Shepherd to retore my soul. Am I spending time in His Word? Am I finding times to be quiet before Him? Am I getting enough rest? Am I being intentional about seeking out opportunities for community?
Specifically as a mom, the following five things have been key in my soul being consistently restored:
1. A Faith Community - I believe that one of the ways we are restored is through community - community with like-minded Christ followers...community with those who have walked in our shoes...community with other moms. Are you growing and serving in a gospel-centered church? Does your church offer small groups? Bible studies? A Moms group? Don't be afraid to jump right in to those things! These opportunities have played such an incredible role in my marriage and my service as a mom.
Fellow moms, while there are days when it may be tempting to hide away at home with your littles and walk through your situation alone, please know that Satan wants to attack you in your isolation. He wants to march right in to your heart and mind and tell you that You are the only mom who gets angry with her children. You are doing a less than stellar job at this wife thing. You would be better off letting someone else take care of your kids during the week. And on and on and on and on his accusations come. But please remember that the Savior does not speak this kind of condemnation over you - He speaks with gentleness and patience, and oftentimes, we hear His voice through the encouragement of those in our community.
Do you have a community? While this may look a little different for each one of us, it is crucial to our overall mom health.
2. Healthy Friendships - Seek out friendships with credible people in all stages of life - those who may be younger, those who may be walking through the same waters, as well as those who have been there, done that. The truth is that you are probably going to have to be the one to make the initial effort. Depending on your personality, your past experience with friendships, etc. this can be a difficult one, but just remember that we were never meant to walk alone. We are were never attended to live in an isolated environment. Not only does God want us to be real and authentic with Him, He desires that we have real and authentic relationships with other people.
3. Alone Time - While I am a very social person that craves interaction with others, I have also learned how very important alone time is for me. On many days, this comes in the form of simply being able to shower alone while hubby tackles the kids - but if I fail to take moments for myself, I regret it. I immediately see where it negatively impacts my family, and I am reminded that I absolutely must be intentional about alone time in order to continue serving others well.
4. Yummy [and mostly healthy] Food - Let's be honest! I love sitting and chatting over a cup of a coffee or a good meal! On Thursdays, my mom's group time includes hot coffee and yummy snacks - There are some Thursday mornings when I can not wait to get there - simply because I know that I will not only be fed spiritually, but physically as well! Why do we take food to families walking through hardship? Because we know that food can feed the soul! In addition to my love for Thursday mornings, I also enjoy going out to dinner with a friend. Sometimes we ask our hubbies to watch the kids...sometimes we wait until after our kids' bedtime (if we can stay awake past 7:30pm)...either way, we schedule an evening and meet up for dinner and good conversation. Friends, an evening like this can carry me through my week like nothing else! *Disclaimer: Carefully choose positive, encouraging friends with whom you share mutual respect - This will make all the difference as to whether or not your time away from home is a worthwhile experience.
5. Exercise - Let me get something out in the open here - I am not a runner. I have no interest in running. I have no personal goals regarding running. In fact, I have told my neighbors that if they see me running, they need to call the police...because something is wrong. However, I love taking walks! It is amazing how a walk around the neighborhood can restore my soul! There have been many mornings that haven't started out too great around here...but after throwing my kids in their wagon and going for a walk, a bad day is changed to a good one. While we were walking, I love to sing to my kids (The neighbors are probably starting to wonder about me.)...or pray quietly to myself...It just depends on my frame of my mind and how I am feeling that day. If exercise is not a part of your routine, try to fit a little movement in wherever you can - something you will enjoy (even if it's running!). Exercise is such a great way to blow off steam, set the reset button, and start again fresh.
If you're like me, you see so much of yourself in your children, and while I am committed to soul restoration for myself, I do not want to neglect my kiddos in the process. As I have sought out opportunities for me as their mom, I have tried to be prayerful and strategic in making sure they are also provided with beneficial experiences and encouraging environments. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I attend a mom's group while my children are in classes of their own - not simply being babysat but learning and growing in a structured environment. These programs have provided a faith-based pre-school environment for my littles, and I have been so thankful for this piece of the puzzle. This allows me to be able to save the babysitters for #3 (alone time).
Do you have go-to ideas for soul restoration?