November 7, 2022
“I just need some me time.”
This ever-popular phrase seems to be the motto amongst many mothers today, and even amongst Christians the phrase is culturally acceptable.
Recently, a missionary friend (whom I’ll call Christy) shared a humorous yet sad story of another missionary serving on the same field. This other missionary mother struggled with training her children who were out of control and unpleasant to be around. The children’s behavior was not unsurprising when Christy told me that the mother out of desperation locks herself in the bathroom and declares to her children, “I just need some me time.” The children have since learned how to pick the lock on the bathroom door to get to their mother thus adding a bit of humor to the whole drama.
Now, please do not think that I am criticizing this poor lady; rather my heart goes out to her because I pity her struggle and can empathize with her desperation.
Instead, I want to express that I have difficult days just like this unnamed missionary woman. Even yesterday, I struggled intensely to be a reasonable and kind mother to my children, and it was just one of those days that I cried out to God for grace to make it to the end of the day.
Every mother has difficult days like this poor missionary lady and me. So how do we deal with the intense struggles in our hearts? How do we make it through a day when we truly want some quiet time to ourselves?
We must recognize the battleground in our hearts. There is daily a war and a struggle in our own hearts of the spirit against the flesh. The Holy Spirit wants to work in and through our lives, especially as we minister to our children. We can only have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives as we yield to God in full surrender and obedience (Galations 5:16, 22-23). When I listen to the flesh (the part of me that does not want to please God) I will not be able to listen to and obey God.
The Christian walk is not complex yet it is hard. Romans 6 tells us that we already have the spiritual victory; it’s not something that we have to achieve or muster up. Rather, when we sin, we have chosen to surrender the hard-earned victory that Christ won at the cross. If you know Christ as your Savior, you already have the victory, so walk in it!
Christians are dead to sin and no longer have to surrender to sin’s power. As a Christian mother, I no longer have to give in to selfish attitudes, hurtful words, and fleshly anger. All I have to do is stay surrendered and obedient to God and sin has no power or dominion over me. Moment by moment, I must make the right choice that will please God, and as I do this, I am walking in the Spirit.
I do not have time in this short blog post to thoroughly cover the topic of victorious Christian living, but if you are looking for help in this area, I highly recommend Victorious Christian Living by James Knox.
Once we recognize that motherhood really is a spiritual war, we must then arm ourselves with weapons fit for the battle. A soldier who neglects to put on his gear will never win the battle and is doomed for failure, and likewise a mother who does not prepare herself for the battle of motherhood will undoubtedly fail. Now I am not talking about fighting a war against our children. No, I’m talking about fighting a battle in my own heart with my own deceitful flesh.
So how do I prepare for the daily battles of motherhood? I must carve out time in my schedule to be spiritually refreshed. I must spend time reading God’s Word on a daily basis and saturating my mind with God’s truth; this is how I will prepare for battle (Ephesians 6:10-18). Recently, I have found myself running to God’s Word throughout the day, not just in my morning devotion time.
Mardi Collier’s book, What Do I Know About My God?, has profoundly impacted my life, and I have created a notebook on God’s character as taught by Miss Mardi in her book. My notebook about God often sits on top of the little dresser in the kitchen where I can run over to it throughout the day and be reminded of scripture passages. I desperately need God, and He is the One Who can help me throughout my day! My notebook has gotten bumped and whacked and even knocked off the dresser a time or two, but I like having it nearby to remind me of God and His presence.
I must hide God’s Word in my heart. This is a struggle for me, and I empathize with all those who struggle to memorize. I recently bought a little notebook with dividers from the Dollar Store and am working on memorizing Ephesians 6.
Not only must mothers be spiritually strong, but mothers do need time for personal relaxation and pleasure. As a mother, it is important that I set aside time for personal enjoyment, and even the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to come apart for a time.
Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had not leisure so much as to eat.
Do you ever feel like the above verse? So much coming and going that you do not even have time to eat?
Now I am going to come full circle to our humorous yet heart-breaking story of the struggling missionary lady. Undoubtedly this lady keenly felt the pressures of motherhood and needed some release from the responsibilities of raising children. I do not doubt that she needed some time to herself. Every mama truly does need some time to herself, yet a wise lady will carve out personal time in a way that does not display self-centeredness to her family.
A mother can create pockets of time for personal refreshment without teaching her children selfishness.
By establishing a routine of quiet time I have created built in times for myself without having to tell my children, “I need me time.” In our house, we have quiet time every weekday afternoon with no exceptions. Quiet time refreshes every family member. For those who need to rest, the house is conducive to sleep. For those who want to work on projects or play, the independent time lends itself to personal pursuits.
Generally, quiet time lasts about two hours (that’s the goal at least). We do not always start at the same time, but I watch the clock and inform the children when quiet time is over.
My husband and I share an office, and I look forward to our quiet afternoon times together. Even though we are not usually carrying on much conversation, I still enjoy our quiet company together. A typical quiet time for me starts with a little 15 minute power nap on the couch. I then brew afternoon coffee and bring hot mugs of coffee for hubby and myself up to the office where I then work for about an hour or more.
Dear friends, your days will certainly look different than my days. Yet I hope you have most importantly created consistent times for spiritual refreshment and also times of relaxation so that you can be energized to serve your family!