Pamela shared the following devotional with us at our last meeting and has some really helpful and practical advice for taking of ourselves and embracing rest...
Good morning! I’m Pamela. I have two children, Abby, 4 and Benjamin, 2. I am also a part-time nurse at Anmed. In my job I assess my patients so that the anesthesiologist can decide if the patient is a good candidate for the proposed surgery. I listen to their stories, and look at their numbers, and by the end of my interview I have a clear picture of their health. I see many people who have not taken very good care of themselves through the years.
A little bit about my personal story:
I know there are ways that I can do a better job of taking care of myself: I need to exercise more, consume less sugar, eat more veggies, drink more water, etc, but I have come a long way in the last few years. After having both of my babies, I suffered from extreme anxiety and postpartum depression, to the point that I became unable to care for my babies. The mental health counselors recommended inpatient treatment, so I was hospitalized after having both of my babies. I had to rely completely on my family to take care of my children. So I unfortunately know from experience what can happen when I do not get enough sleep and take care of myself first, before caring for others. The best analogy I can think of is, “you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you can be any good to anyone else.” And also, this week, I saw a picture on facebook stating: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is so true.
As moms of young children, who depend on us for everything, we must take care of ourselves, in order to be any good to our children, our husbands, or anyone else. We must find ways to rest, each day, each week. Even God shows us the need for rest, when he created the universe, and then rested on the 7th day. Do we as moms find enough hours through the week to simply rest? Absolutely not. Because the demands on us as mothers of young children are so high right now. But we must listen to our bodies, and when we are sick and/or tired, we must ask God for His strength. We should stop what we are doing, and just sit down on the sofa between the toys, and the laundry, and just be. Do whatever helps you rest: praying, yoga, journaling, reading, even watching TV. One day this week I was really tired around 2 pm and I just laid down on the floor in my son’s room for 30 min, not asleep because my kids don’t nap anymore, but at least I rested. We must do this from time to time.
So What does the Bible say?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
And his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
And increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
And young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord
Will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.
And in Matthew 11:28, Jesus said,
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We must not operate on our own strength, but ask for God’s strength to fill us, and ask for him to take away our heavy burdens. And we must take care of ourselves.
As a nurse and mom, I encourage you to do those things that we often put off:
- See your OB/GYN for a yearly pap smear and breast exam.
- Know your numbers: your BP, cholesterol, BMI
- If you have been dealing with something that you know is not right, see your doctor, and don’t delay.
- Modify your diet, get more exercise, and aim for 8 hrs of sleep at night.
- If you are having trouble with your mood, anxiety, or depression see a doctor right away. Don’t live day after day, month after month with it. This is Satan stealing your time and you can’t get that precious time back.
- And if you are already too busy, learn to say No to people, and consider giving up something that takes up too much time or energy right now. (Look for Lysa Terkheurst’s book The Best Yes for help with saying No.)
There are so many little things we can do to ensure that we are able to be the best moms we can be. Embrace Rest. Don’t pour from an empty cup.