Everything changed when I became a mother. In my twenties all I had to worry about was myself, and honestly, over half the time I didn’t even do that well. But when I became a mom it all changed! Suddenly the woman who drank every night was pouring out her beer, and I quit smoking cold turkey too. I was willing to change everything for that kidney bean growing in my belly, and that only magnified once I looked into her crystal clear, blue eyes. I was hooked, and I’d move heaven and earth for that baby girl. I’d change my habits, sure, but I’d also change everything about the life I had known prior to parenthood.
I learned pretty quickly that moms didn’t get certain things anymore. There was no sitting down for a hot meal or taking a nap. There was no such thing as a sick day, off day, or anything else like that. There was no running in the store real quick, there was no more sleeping soundly through the night, and there was no more first place. As a parent, your children suddenly came first, and you gathered up the leftovers. You shared your supper, your time, and all your energy. It was like motherhood forced you to be selfless for the sake of your kids, and I was deep down fine with that.
I could easily recall my own mother going without so that I could. When I was smaller we found ourselves in pretty dire situations where she actually did not eat so that I could. So giving up a few bites of my dessert as a mother myself wasn’t that big of a deal. I loved giving so much of myself to my girls, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit a wall. Eventually, I came to a place with 3 daughters under 6 where I felt like I was straight up drowning. It wasn’t just waves knocking against me. They were pummeling me and pushing me into the sandy, seafloor. I was short-tempered, emotional, and overcome by mom guilt because of my anger. I didn’t want to be frazzled, frustrated, and frantic all the time, but that’s how I felt. Even if things were apparently running smoothly, underneath my nerves were raw because being overwhelmed had become my norm.
It was at this lowest point, where I always felt like I was sinking, that I knew I had to grab for a life buoy or I was going under for good! In a routine where I had always put my kids first, I realized it was time to do something for me. This! This thing was the most important thing, and it outshone anything I felt like I owed my girls. I owed myself this deliberate choice to make time for me first thing. I had to spend time recharging myself or I was gonna burn out like a candle whose wick has gotten lost in the wax. I needed to spend time in The Word, quiet time with Jesus where He could give me the strength for this very tough season I was going through. I had to be selfish, so to speak, and focus on improving myself and my relationship with the Lord so I could be the type of parent God wanted me to be.
So I did. But of note, this wasn’t just a one and done kinda thing. I couldn’t just have a really good Tuesday with Jesus and be fixed. It also didn’t change my life overnight. It took consistent and dedicated time reading my Bible, praying, and listening to God, every day, day after day, after day until I saw the fruit of His Holy Spirit at work in my life.
Where Jesus is, there is peace. To become the peace-filled woman I longed to be not only for my children, but also for myself, I had to consistently seek His kingdom first. I had to seek it before anything else on my to-do list for the day. He was the cornerstone of my day, and if I didn’t build it on Him, then it was bound to come tumbling down. So as much as the devil may try to tell me I didn’t have the time to spend with the Lord before tending to my girls, I realized I had to do it. I had to focus first on letting Jesus make me a better self, and if that was selfish then consider me an egomaniac. But really and truly it wasn’t about being self-centered; it was about being Christ-centered. That, my friends, was the absolute best sacrifice I could make for my girls. A sacrifice of time for myself and the Lord. Looking back now, more at peace and content, I am so glad I did.