Most of the years of my chronic illness I was homeschooling, having a baby every two years and nursing a baby the years I wasn’t pregnant. Having 8 children 19 down to 4 it was never convenient to be on the couch. But, God’s ways are not our ways and even when we do not understand it, His way IS perfect. Here are a few practical suggestions for those times in the thick of physical afflictions:
- Remember you are the perfect mother for your children. When you feel discouraged over all things you want to do or feel you should do but you are hindered, remember God chose you specifically for your children’s mama. He knew your strengths and your weaknesses. God sanctifies us through our trials, but guess what? He has carved this trial out for your children too and is growing them through it! This is especially important to remember if you are struggling with depression, because our minds are constantly telling us the opposite. Your children love YOU as their mama!
- Carve out a comfort area. When I was super sick I felt like my life was spinning out of control. You can imagine lots of little children and the messes that our house can have! I have had OCD and been so perfectionistic that clutter and mess would literally affect my entire brains ability to function. One of the bits of council I received was to find one area of my home, whether it was as small as a closet or my master bedroom that I could keep exactly the way I wanted it to be. Some area off limits to messes and where I could retreat and breathe deep if needed. Which leads me to my next point.
- Give yourself permission to rest. This is a season where you need to realize you are sick. With things like adrenal fatigue and depression, it is hard because we look ok outwardly but inwardly we feel like we are dying. Extra rest and allowing yourself to get away and get quiet might be a necessity. Don’t get to where I did where I was on a forced 6 week sabbatical because I crashed. No one benefits from mama wearing herself out. In my blog post Is “Me Time” Biblical? I share how early in my mothering days I felt that time away from my children was selfish and that a mama should never need time alone or with other adults. But, now I believe it actually to be a duty of a busy mama, for the sake of her family, to take time to recharge and gain back strength for her calling. In another post I write about 12 Tips for Biblical Me Time.
- Don’t feel guilty about having your children help you. We have had a buddy system where an older sibling can help a younger sibling. This kind of responsibility is good for our growing children. Let them help you with the housekeeping, teach them how to cook a meal, have them do their own laundry. In our home the only two children that do not do their own laundry is my 5 year old and 4 year old. The rest—from the 11 year old girl on up are responsible for their own laundry.
- Simplify your life. Prioritize what is most important for your family. Ask you husband what house duties are most important to him? Does he not care if the bed is made but dishes in the sink drive him crazy? Then focus on getting the dishes done. Does mess and clutter not bother him, but a hot meal on the table is important? Then make dinner your priority over the mess? Use paper plates, have a hamper to put your clean towels in a hamper and don’t worry about folding them if you need to. Say no to outside commitment. Trim your life down to the essentials as much as you can.
Remember struggling mama, there is grace from the Lord for those that are quietly waiting for Him in their trials and afflictions.
“The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon