Writing about feeling overwhelmed last night reminded me of something I’d written back in 2005…..
July 2005 ~
Over a year and a half ago, I was teaching children’s choir, teaching adult education classes two nights a week, singing in the adult choir at church, homeschooling two children with two babies underfoot, taking the children two full days a week to extra classes, preparing to move to a new location for my man’s job, and running a website as a business. I was overwhelmed!
Knowing that I had reached my sanity’s limit, I prayed for God to help me, with a please!
Late one night soon after that prayer, I walked into our sleeping six-year-old daughter’s room and saw a basket hanging from her bunk bed with a stuffed animal and a note in it. I remembered that earlier in the evening, our girl told me she had a surprise for me, and to please come and look at it, but I was too busy filling an order for my business. Later, after I sent her to bed, she called me again to see her surprise, but I said I was still too busy and I’d come when I could.
Feeling a little saddened that I was finally seeing it after she was asleep, I opened the note.
On it she had written: “I want to do 100 things for you.”
For our brand-new six-year-old who had four ear surgeries by then, writing that note would have been very difficult. It touched me to the core. In tears, I said aloud, “I want to do 100 things for you, too.”
It was as if a light turned on in that moment as I saw how busy I had made my life. Each activity was noble, of course, and worthy of someone’s time, but should it fill my time?
That night, in my little girl’s room, I felt sure. Sure that I’d just been given a chance at making something right. Sure and full of peace, as if God whispered what I should do. I was suddenly sure that I am to be a wife and a mother above all else for this moment. Children so quickly grow up. It is only for a blink of time that they live with us.
With my focus cleared, I immediately closed my website. I had always given it to God, so I didn’t question that He could provide for us financially without my side business. Since we were moving for my man’s new job, I was able to gracefully bow out of choir, children’s choir, the extra classes, and teaching commitments.
My husband became a top priority. I started caring whether or not he had clean clothes. I began greeting him as he walked in the door from work. Our children also became a higher priority. I started reading to them at night and singing with them in the day. I focused on their little faces and the fun we could create together. The house also became a priority. With practice, it became a joy to create meals and decorate and surprise my husband while teaching our children how to manage a home happily.
It has been over a year since I found our daughter’s note. Lately, I have felt the urge to write again, as a little side business, and I feel like this is something I’m free to do now that my priorities are in order. It is good to help others outside the family. It is good to make a little extra income. But whatever business or activity I choose must never be more important than my family and my home.
If we young mothers talked to older mothers more often, they’d tell us that children grow up quickly. We already know that, but do we realize it? We fill our days to overflowing with activities, we run after ways that we can serve in the church, we start new businesses or keep old jobs, we agree to be the room mother or the leader of a group, we seek to do things for others.
Meanwhile, our families, the very ones God specifically gave us, are set aside.
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
~ Lori Seaborg, 2005
p.s. Here is our gal now, at age 10. She still gets me to thinking.
p.s.s. 2016: And here she is at 18. She is still a blessing and still gets me to thinking!