By Allison Hull
I recently saw something online from someone I know who had reached her tipping point.
“I can’t do this anymore. I’m burnt out. I can’t pour from an empty cup.”
She was talking about life, being a mother, and just trying to get by. I wanted to say something, but it seemed like she was inundated with other people and their thoughts. So I thought it best to just sit by and pray for her.
We’ve all been there. At least I know I have. Kids are a lot. They’re needy and demanding leeches of energy. I was at my parents’ house, and my mother voiced she didn’t know how I did it, because every waking moment is punctuated by a “MOM!”. Yes, I totally get it and have felt like my head was under water many times. Sometimes a friend can see it and volunteers to help. That’s the best, because if you wait to ask for help, it might just be too late.
I remember someone stopped by my house and wanted to take the kids to the park. I wanted to kiss her — it was just an amazing feeling of love. Those breaks are wonderful and can leave you gung-ho to be the chipper Mary Poppins you’d like to be. BUT…they are fleeting and can leave you even more upset than before. You see how you can be when you’ve had a break, why can’t you be that way more often?
My friend got answers from all kinds of people. Some women told her that, yes, she can do it. A few moms said she needed to take breaks and get a pedicure or something. Some told her to read books on how to change parenting styles. Others wanted her to find a friend and trade babysitting so she could go workout or just be away regularly. That person even said to turn off your “brain [witch]” (ahem, edited for language) and have your soul self, your higher self, tell you that yes, you can take a break. Yes, you can.
All great suggestions. You do need a break from the kids, from other people so you can take a breath and relax. You can’t be amazing all the time, and it’s draining to be a mom no matter what age the kids are. My husband will see me floundering and tell me to take a bath with a good book. Or I go workout. So yes, you do need a break so you can be the best person you can be.
But what happens when that break doesn’t help? What happens when you go right back to being a tea kettle about to boil? What happens when you tell yourself you CAN’T do this anymore? There’s not always going to be a time for a break. There’s not always going to be a break that rejuvenates you even when you do get the time. You’re not always going to be able to breathe and work through it. You’re going to flounder, you’re going to drown, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, that’s very uplifting, huh?
Yes, we live in a sinful world and that Old Adam, that devil, is going to be whispering in your ear all manner of nasty things that might just be half-truths, or even truths, that will make you feel like you’re in a hole you can’t get out of. A lot of people want to tell you that you can pull yourself out. A lot of self-help books are out there for this purpose, telling you to “Take charge and you can be the captain of your own ship” and all that stuff.
But those breaks, those books, even those people that are here to help cannot pull you out of that hole all the way. You fall right back in it again and again. There is only one person who can pull you out, and He even CRADLES you in His arms. Those moments of rest and repair might be few and far between. You might feel like a failure most of the time, BUT there is always someone out there who can give you that peace you seek and need. Christ is there already pulling you up and holding you close. He is the one that never needs a rest or reprieve, always there to remind you that you are marked as His. You have died and risen again with Him, a perfect child of God. You needn’t feel like a failure; Christ is there to make perfect your imperfections. So, rely on Him, cry to Him, pray for peace from Him and bask in his unending, flawless love.
My dear sisters in Christ, whenever you are down, whenever you are feeling like this, mom, please do these three things.
The Lord’s Prayer. The Psalms. Or just a simple Lord, Have Mercy. And know, even if you cannot speak any words, the Holy Spirit is there to put into words what you cannot.
- Read the Bible
I do not like reading just one verse and being done. Read the chapter, over and over again. Or better yet, the whole book, although there’s usually not very much time. One of my favorites is Romans, especially Romans 8 for these times.
- Talk to somebody
Talk to your pastor — he would LOVE to sit down and talk to you, REALLY. Talk to your husband, your friends, your family, your online sisters in Christ. Don’t wallow in self-doubt, don’t beat yourself up and try to keep going. We are all here for a reason and we are here to support and remind you of your life in Christ.
You are not alone, you are not treading water without any help in sight. You are loved. Of this I am sure.