Life can get a little chaotic whenever there is a major life change or season of transition. Whether it is because a baby has just been born, you begin potty-training your toddler, move houses or careers, your husband has surgery or you find yourself needing to make a radical shift in your family's lifestyle. How do you stay afloat and sane in those seasons? How do you lean upon Jesus and move in the right direction?
It is important to answer this question because "life-changing" things happen to us all the time. Living life well does not just apply to when things are going swimmingly accordingly to our comfortable routine and rhythm.
I have found that my daily life is *mostly* comprised of interruptions, inconveniences, and unforeseen circumstances. When I learn how to live generously, joyfully and victoriously in these tumultuous seasons, how much more will I be equipped to live well in the seasons of peace!
In my almost 12 years of being a wife and nearly 10 years as a momma, I have moved 9 times, birthed 5 children, endured the heartache of miscarriage, had to radically shift my family's diet due to health reasons twice to name a handful of crazy things. I have learned to lean upon Jesus in seasons where trauma tried to cripple me and my loved ones. I have been humiliated and promoted, broken and built up and through it all, I have loved and leaned upon Jesus.
In September, our family welcomed its newest member, sweet Raylyn Ahava. After the meal train ended, the grandmas left and my husband returned to work I had to consciously reframe what a successful day looked like for me. I was freshly recovering from giving birth, adjusting to the demands of caring for a newborn on top of tending to four other children and I knew I had to give myself lots of grace and breathing room for the weeks and months ahead.
If everyone was alive, fed and loved at the end of the day, I had succeeded! I ordered all my groceries online and bought lots of "easy" meals ie. noodles & sauce, chicken nuggets and a frozen bag of veggies, cheese sticks and mandarin oranges... I am someone who normally enjoys making lots of homemade, nutritious meals for my family and I am very budget-conscious, but in that season I made some changes and bought a lot more individual wrapped snacks for the kids, freezer meals, and kept the ingredients for simple meals and snacks on hand so even the kids could help pack their lunches or make their breakfasts. I made practical decisions to simplify my responsibilities and shifted my own expectations of what I would get done everyday so I could focus on the important thing: welcoming that precious new baby, loving my children and allowing my body to heal.
In January, I began homeschooling the kids! This has been another big change for us and I intentionally made a point to keep things simple for the rest of this semester. Simple curriculum. Simple daily schedule with limited commitments outside the home. Simple definition of what success would look like for me. We are a few weeks in and I can honestly say, it has been so rewarding and enjoyable. I made practical, physical shifts in my expectation for what daily life would look like so I could keep the main thing front and center: a peaceful, love-filled home and atmosphere conducive to learning and instruction.
If you have lived your whole life "doing things the right way", I am speaking to you because it might be stressful to think about simplifying your way of doing things. Maybe you will feel guilt "skipping steps" or taking shortcuts but we gotta keep the main thing the main thing!
Here are some examples:
Buy loaves of bread at the store instead of making your own sourdough.
Sort the kids laundry (or enlist one of your children to help!) tossing items into mini baskets for them to put away themselves instead of folding every pair of undies.
Skip the "prep" step by buying a jar of minced garlic, the cubed potatoes in the freezer section, or frozen veggies instead of fresh.
Look at your weekly commitments and put them on pause for a month or two.
Enlist the help of your children with the household chores and refrain from going behind them to "do it right" (ie. don't re-fold the towels! lol).
Accept a different standard of cleanliness for the whole house, focus instead on keeping your own room tidy so at least you can rest in your room if it is stressful to see the house unkempt.
Step off social media and delete the apps off your phone.
Some areas of life I found I needed to pare down. Other areas, I needed to need to ramp up.
Here are some examples:
Prayer. You will likely need extra wisdom, extra peace, extra help from the Father and He is so faithful to answer all who cry out! He is a good Father and takes good care of His children. Ask, seek, knock!
Quiet Time in His Presence. Shifting to homeschool, I knew I needed to get on the offensive and be pro-active about prioritizing my quiet time in the mornings with the Lord or I would be trying to drive on empty. When I choose to come to Him in the dark mornings before the kids are stirring about, He is faithful to pour into me so I have something life-giving to pour out!
Praying in tongues and meditating on the Word. Whenever you are standing at the sink washing dishes, driving or loading the laundry use this time to set your mind on things above and chew upon His word or pray in the Spirit. It nourishes our soul and builds us up throughout the day.
The pandemic caused everyone to press pause on their normal lives and presented the opportunity for self reflection - is Jesus #1? If Jesus is not moved off His throne in the midst of a pandemic, social unrest, political confusion, wars and rumors of wars... why am I so deeply shaken?
I don't want to be so heavy but seriously, we as mommas and lovers of Jesus have to ask the Lord to search our hearts and see if there is any wicked way in us (Psalm 139) because we are literally the well out of which our family drinks. If the well has even a little bit of poison in the water - poison of bitterness, unforgiveness, comparison - it will poison all who drink it!
With that said, it is not morally wrong or sinful to put clothes away unfolded. Nor is it sinful to eat gluten-full bread or cow-milk lol. It is wrong, however, to worry, stress, react in anger and disobey the Lord. Again, I'm totally not trying to be all heavy, I am actually trying to lift some heavy stuff off my sisters in the Lord... lets keep the main thing the main thing.
"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:41-42
The world assaults us with images of perfect houses, bodies and lives. We fill our schedules with lots of good things so that we don't make time for the best thing, and we have an unattainable definition of success we are always running toward that no human could attain even if he had unlimited resources and time. This is because we need Jesus. Apart from Him, our souls are broken and deficient and we will never be at peace or find rest or true, lasting, deep joy in our homes.
And that is how the Gospel ties in to my daily life as a mother. Phew! Aren't you so glad the Gospel is not simply for Sunday morning. The beauty of Jesus can touch every aspect of our lives as believers... even our crazy seasons of transition and change.
Thank you for sharing a few moments of your busy day with me! I pray you felt loved and encouraged as you read this... let me bless you.
Father, I ask that you would refresh and fill each daughter who pauses to read this post today. I ask that you would help her order her steps and commitments and that you would truly give her a heart of wisdom! Highlight any areas where her priorities need to shift and give her the strength to do the right thing. Cleanse and fill her, Father, to be a true, life-giving well of your love to all those around her today. Amen.