Mom needs a break

Straight Talk

The Question:

My husband I have two small children. He works full-time and I work one day a week. He is also very involved with our church. I feel like I don’t even have time to take a breath let alone read my Bible every day. I have been getting more and more angry for reasons I’m not sure I even know why. Is this just where God wants me right now, just raising our kids? I feel so detached from God that I almost get mad at my husband when he tells me all the wonderful things that are happening for him spiritually. What’s going on? Can you add any input for me?

– S. Smith from USA

The Answer
Part 1: Sorting out emotions
Part 2: The spiritual side of it
Part 3: Some practical suggestions

Sorting out emotions (Part 1)

As I read this question I really feel your frustration level, and my heart goes out to you. I bet the vast majority of mothers identify with you. Either they feel the same way right now because they too have small children, or they remember how it felt when they had little ones. I would be in that category.

I raised my two daughters as a single mother from the time they were five years old and eighteen months. It can be overwhelming and very tedious. Wiping noses, running the washer ad nauseam, listening to bickering, picking up the same toys over and over again – none of that aids in feeling very significant as a human being.

Each of us wants and needs to feel that we are significant. God wired us that way. But there are times in our life when we don’t see the “big picture” because life is too congested. You are in one of those places. The good news is that it is not a permanent condition.

The truth is that what you are doing is extremely significant, and all the details of your often tedious tasks are important to the end result. The end result is emotionally healthy independent adult children with whom you can have a permanent friendship that will last your lifetime. Believe me, all this will be worth it in the end – and then some.

You don’t understand why you feel angry seemingly without reason, but I believe it is quite normal. If you were able to search down to the roots of it you would probably discover frustration, bone tiredness and maybe a little jealousy toward your husband who’s in a place emotionally that you would rather be.

His full time job gives him something else to think about besides children, and contributes to his self worth. Added to that, he’s sailing along with God in his spiritual walk, and you feel detached from the Lord. It’s easy to understand how you end up in the stew of emotions you feel. What I would like to give you is a fresh perspective.

The spiritual side of it (Part 2)

God desires to bless you in this life, to prosper you, and to fulfill your divine purpose. He also desires you to take on the character of Christ, to die to yourself, and to make you holy. He knows that eternity is a long time and he’s getting you ready for it. Those two principles are going to seem at cross purposes many times in life.

For instance, he wants to bless me, and then my best friend dies? He wants to prosper me, and my husband lost his job? He wants me to fulfill my purpose, and I just got diagnosed with cancer? Blessings and trials are mixed all through life. God is working it all for good just like it says in Romans 8:28, but the going can get very tough.

Take a step back. Take a breather. It’s very hard to evaluate things that you are right in the middle of. Along these lines, I wrote something recently about a friend of mine who is raising two grandchildren who have fetal alcohol syndrome, and I’d like to refer you to it. It may bring you a helpful perspective. Her story is called: All the Time in the World.

On a spiritual level, how close you feel to God never reflects how close he feels to you. You may feel detached right now (which is understandable), but he is nearby and he is providing you grace every single day. You may be much closer than you think right now. While selfishness abounds in our modern culture, you are living out true love as both a wife and a mother. You are giving, persevering, and remaining steadfast even when the emotions aren’t there. That is very valuable to God and it the heart of Christ being formed in you.

The things you feel now will eventually give way to a new season in life, and will have new challenges. Hang in there.

Some practical suggestions (Part 3)

I do have some practical suggestions for you. All of them may not fit so pick whatever you like, and what will work for your lifestyle. I’ll list these in no particular order.

  • Date night: you and your husband need some time alone ON A REGULAR BASIS away from regular family duties, and where all the conversations do not revolve around the kids. Get a babysitter once a week or at least twice a month and begin to enjoy each other’s company again.
  • Young mother’s support group: look around for a place to meet with others in your same situation. If you do, the first thing you will discover is how many women are in exactly the same boat you are. It’s wonderful to find out you are perfectly normal. You may discover others who are actually in tougher spots than you.
  • The five minute principle: No matter how busy you are, I bet you can find a five minute spot to spend consistently with the Lord. Make it a high priority – don’t let anything interfere with it. You’ll be surprised how much refreshing and peace you can gain from just five minutes a day. When things get easier, expand it.
  • Do something for yourself: Can’t you slip away once in awhile for some little thing that represents pampering for you? A pedicure? Window shopping? Lunch with a friend? A long bath after the children are in bed? By the way, exercise is a very good way to drain stress from your body.
  • Find out what makes you laugh: laughing is one of the best activities for relieving stress. It lightens the load, and is good for your body, soul and spirit. Whatever is funny to you, go for it.

All that you are going through at this time may look entirely different from a distance; in fact I’m sure it will. You will come through this time. Embrace your call for this season of your life “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:3-4).

When your life is over, “perfect and complete” will be a good way to face God.