A couple of weeks ago, I hit that point. I called my sister and half-laughing/half-crying told her that I was turning in my letter of resignation as a mom, not giving two weeks’ notice, but that she needed to find my replacement immediately. With a laugh, she replied that she was sorry but that there was no replacement for me. (Exactly what I was afraid of.)
It was the accumulation of many days with fighting and fussy kids, long hours taking care of four kids while my husband worked equally long hours away at his job, struggling with pregnancy hormones and discomforts, and I was feeling very burnt out. The worst part was the feeling of desperation — that I couldn’t get a break even when I needed a few hours to just reflect and rejuvenate. Plus, my husband was too tired by the end of his LONG hours at work to have anything left to give or help. Burn out!
During those particularly trying weeks, a few things made a big difference for me. First, I talked with those who could empathize, pray, and give godly and wise counsel. I talked with two sisters, who listened, sympathized, and gave some great encouraging words of advice. Even in my husband’s exhausted state, he still managed to pray for me and to give me some much-needed hugs. Sometimes, it’s simple things that make a huge difference.
As I expressed to my one sister, I know that as a mom, I still have to carry on/persevere. I wasn’t asking for an escape from it all. What I wanted was to hear that someone cared and would be lifting me before God’s throne of grace — grace that I so desperately need(ed).
I also listened to advice that was given to me by my one sister and a friend. They suggested working out a schedule for my kids on days they are home during the summer. I planned a schedule, informed the kids about the schedule, and began to enact it. The schedule was a help. It helped give the kids direction, gave me opportunity to plan into our days both fun things, beneficial activities, rest, relaxation, and time for the kids to learn responsibility while helping with chores. It’s amazing how much help children can be! Chores also give kids a sense of purpose, well-being, worth, and responsibility.
I also made it a priority to begin my day with prayer, devotions, and good books. One book I read during that time was by Nick Vujicic, called Life Without Limbs. The Lord used many quotes from that book to encourage, exhort, and motivate me.
I thought I would share a few of many of his quotes that really impacted me and helped me to take my eyes off my own circumstances and feelings. You just might need them as much as me…
“You and I are perfectly suited to be who we were meant to be! …Adjustments are necessary along the way because life isn’t always rosy, but it is always worth living. I’m here to tell you that not matter what your circumstances may be, as long as you are breathing, you have a contribution to make … You can’t always control what happens to you. There are some occurrences in life that are not your fault or within your power to stop. The choice you have is either to give up or to keep on striving for a better life … ”
“Our human powers of reasoning can be a blessing and a curse … Often, though, that which you dread turns out to be far less a problem that you imagined. There is nothing wrong with looking ahead and planning for the future, but know that your worst fears could just as easily prove to be your best surprise.”
“For the longest time I thought that if my body were more ‘normal,’ my life would be a breeze. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t have to be normal — I just had to be me, my Father’s child, carrying out God’s plan. At first I was not wiling to confront what was really wrong with me wasn’t my body, it was the limits I put on myself and my limited vision of the possibilities for my life. If you aren’t where you want to be or you haven’t achieved all you hope to achieve, the reason most likely resides not around you but within you. Take responsibility and then take action. First though, you must believe … in your value.”
“Life isn’t about having, it’s about being … Recognizing your purpose means everything. I assure you that you too have something to contribute. You may not see it now, but you would not be on this planet if that were not true. I know for certain that God does not make mistakes, but He does make miracles. I am one. You are too.”
“I was never crippled until I lost hope. Believe me, the loss of hope is far worse that the loss of limbs.”
“You should never live according to what you lack. Instead, live as though you can do anything you dream of doing. Even when you supper a setback or tragedy, there is often an unexpected, totally improbable, and absolutely impossible benefit to be realized. It may not happen right away. You may at times wonder what good could possibly come of it. But trust that it all happens for the good — even tragedies can turn into triumphs.”
Nick quoted from Reggie Dabbs who said, “You can never change your past, but you can change your future.”
“When you judge yourself harshly or put intense pressure on yourself, you become judgmental of others. Loving and accepting yourself as God loves you opens the door to a much greater sense of peace and fulfillment.”
“You are beautiful because God created you for His purpose. Your challenge is to find that purpose, fuel it with hope, drive it on faith, and put your you-niqueness to the highest possible use.”
“…you view the world through your own unique perspectives and attitudes based on your beliefs of what is good or bad, wrong or right, fair or unfair. Your decisions and actions are based on those attitudes, so if what you’ve been doing isn’t working, you have the power to adjust your attitude and change your life [by God’s grace].”
“Adopting an attitude of action creates positive momentum.”
“When you are confronted with hard times, tragedies, or challenges, instead of looking inward, look to those around you. Instead of feeling wounded and seeking pity, find someone with greater wounds and help them heal.”
“An attitude of forgiveness set me free … when you hold on to old hurts, you only give power and control to those who hurt you, but when you forgive them, you cut the ties to them. They can no longer yank you on your chain … So don’t worry about what your forgiveness does for the antagonizers and hurtful people in your past. Just enjoy what forgiving them does for you. Once you’ve adopted an attitude of forgiveness, you’ll lighten your load so that you can chase your dreams without being weighed down by baggage from the past.”
“The best of us fail. and the rest of us fail too. Those who never rise from defeat often see failure as final … Those who succeed bounce back from their bonehead mistakes because they view their setbacks as temporary and as learning experiences.”
“…defeat is a great teacher. Every winner has played the loser. Every champion has been the runner-up.”
“…failure can also build humility into your character.”
“Too often we don’t listen to understand. Instead, we listen just enough so we can respond. To really connect, you have to take into account the feeling behind the words, not just the words themselves.”
“When you believe in abundance, you believe there are enough of God’s blessings — enough fulfillment, enough opportunity, enough happiness, and enough love — out there for everyone … If you tend to think of the world as a place of scarce resources and limited opportunities, then you’ll see fellow travelers as threats who’ll take what is out there and leave nothing for you … With an abundance mentality, you believe there are rewards enough for everyone, so competition is more about striving to do your best and encouraging others to do the same.”
“Sometimes you’ll even find that the boulder that fell and blocked your path left an opening that takes you to a higher place. But you have to have the courage and the determination to make the ascent.”
Nick quotes from Albert Einstein as having said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
Nick Vujicic also quotes from Helen Keller as having said, “…there is not such thing as a secure life. It does not exist in nature… Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” He goes on to say, “Risk, then, is not just part of life. It is life. The place between your comfort zone and your dream is where life takes place. It’s the high-anxiety zone, but it’s also where you discover who you are.”
“The awesome power of God is reflected in the fact that if we want to do something for others, our availability is every bit as important as our capability. God works through us when we reach out for others. Once you make yourself available for good works, guess whose capabilities you can rely on? God’s!”
Nick Vujicic’s quotes really inspired me to persevere, to have renewed hope and faith, to see the “big picture,” to be encouraged that we all have enough grace given to us to fulfill the tasks we have been called to do — including parenting, and to get my eyes off my own personal struggles and challenges and onto those around me.
Another recent event really helped me to feel refreshed. My husband and I made it a priority to take time to celebrate our anniversary with some couple-time. My one sister graciously watched our four kids so that we had a weekend sans-kids. We also are very frugal on most objects so we do keep some spending money to do something special on our anniversary. Thus, we were able to do some fun and relaxing activities that really helped us both to feel refreshed and motivated to persevere.
Each couple and parent has to figure out for themselves what works to help refresh and motivate. The important thing is to not give up and lose perspective. Life will have its challenges. The challenges ebb and flow. The key is how resilient are we in dealing with them and what steps do we take to help us tackle them and ride the next wave into shore.
May we each cling to the grace we have been given, and may we burn on…