They're everywhere. I seem to run into them wherever I go. You've probably seen them too. Tired Moms. Now when I say tired I'm not suggesting they just ran a marathon, although, when you count the number of steps they take in a day, it might be close. And I'm not implying that they simply didn't get enough sleep last night, although, when your heart is divided among three different bedrooms, tucked snuggly into three different beds, dreaming about Barbies and monsters and things that go bump in the night, it can be a challenge to let it all go and just sleep. No. While all of these things are probably a very real part of a very long day, I don't think that is what's making these Moms tired. Not this kind of tired. Not by a long shot. It's something entirely different. How do I know, you ask? I know because I was once one of them.
There were days when my day would start long before the first jammie-clad bedhead would chirp (bright and early) the dreaded words, "It's time to get up, Mommy!" Babysitting other children while at home with my own often forced my alarm to go off long before their sleepy eyes even opened. And once my feet hit the ground, it seemed I was off and running at breakneck speed until my head hit the pillow at night. And I was tired. Perhaps tired isn't the right word. Weary. Yeah, that's better. I was weary of giving and doing and cleaning and being present. All of it. Now, don't get me wrong. I loved being a stay-at-home Mom. Every band-aid sticking, nose-blowing, bottom-cleaning minute of it. I was just weary of how much it took out of me. I knew something had to change.
And that's when it happened. I discovered a secret. It's actually not supposed to be a secret. But when you consider how long it took me to discover it, it may as well have been. It's something that Moms throughout the ages have known. Busy Moms. Tired Moms. Worn-to-a-frazzle, not-enough-hours-in-the-day Moms. Moms just like me. What is it? I'll give you a hint… it has to do with looking up. It's not about when you start your day… it's all about with Whom you start your day. And once I learned this secret, everything changed. Below is an excerpt from my diary from so long ago, after my great discovery…
My morning coffee — I look forward to that first cup. Most mornings, before our three children bring the sleepy house to life, I take my favourite mug to my favourite chair and spend a few quiet moments with God. I cherish this time, not because of the creamy hot liquid that revives my drowsy brain…or because of the peacefully enticing quiet of my room. I treasure this place of solitude because I know Who is waiting for me. As I pour the steaming coffee, I feel Him nudging. As I'm walking up the stairs, I sense Him calling. And there, patiently waiting to spend a few quiet moments with me is His Majesty, Almighty God. No fanfare. No ceremonies. Just stillness.
The privilege of His Presence is overwhelming. I slip into it gently. And quietly, I wait. Before I hear shouted, "I need you, Mommy!" I whisper, "I need you, Father." And He is there. Always giving, He demands nothing of me. To Him, I'm not the ‘always-there-to-give-anything-Mom.' No, I am His precious child, for whom He gave Everything. And even the mountain-grown flavour of my morning coffee doesn't soothe and comfort me the way the sweet warmth of His Presence does. And there, I linger. But not for long...
Soon I hear the sleepy shuffle of bare feet in the hall. It's that familiar stirring sound that reminds me of all the lunches I have to pack, the children I have to organize, the cleaning, the laundry, the meals. But that's OK. I feel myself smile as I realize that although my thoughts may not fall back on this cherished time for the rest of the day, I will continually be on HIS mind. And He will look forward to the next time that we are alone.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is when Jesus, Himself, tenderly invites His disciples to a get away from life's stress.
"Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place. You need to get some rest." - Mark 6:31 (NIRV)
Jesus understands us. And while those two words, by yourself, can be foreign to a Tired Mom, they are vital to her very existence. Because to get alone with God IS the secret to renewed strength and energy and joy and peace and patience.
And even though I'm now a Grandma and find myself weary for entirely different reasons, I still need to remember the secret. I still need to, every day, slip gently into His Presence and allow my Heavenly Father to soothe and comfort and energize me… His precious child.
And that privilege still overwhelms me.