Friday, February 25, 2011

Let Someone Else Shovel!

You know, as mamas, we are forever busy taking care of others.  It's okay, it's more than okay!  We were made to handle it.  Most of us are at our best when we are nurturing, comforting, providing for, or helping others.  This is our most natural sense of self.  But, there are those times when it may be emotionally or perhaps physically impossible for us to be the ones doing the caring for and nurturing.  These may even be the same times that we need someone to care for us!

Recently I found myself in this very circumstance.  About a week ago, I developed flu symptoms.  Before I knew it, I was in the grips of a full-fledged flu and it knocked me down....literally!  I did little more than leave the couch to visit the bathroom for 4 days.  Thankfully, my husband was available for most of the time with the exception of his work-day on Friday.  In fact, an ice storm on Sunday evening caused a power outage early Monday; by Monday afternoon, we found ourselves at my husband's parents' house for an overnight stay.  Little did I know it at the time, but even this was a blessing in disguise.  My husband took great care of me and the kids while I was sick.  Once at my mother-in-law's, she and my father-in-law took care of the kids and let me get further rest and recuperation.  They even offered to keep our kids an additional night so that I could rest at home on Wednesday!  Really, this flu bug had wiped me out and I needed every bit of extra rest available to me!

During this time, my eyes were opened to some simple truths.  Mamas need to sit down and be taken care of now and then.  I know, it should be an agreeable truth, but our very mama-instinct internally shouts "No!" to this.  We still want to be the ones extending the helping hand, offering suggestions, planning meals; it's tough to give up this role...even when we need to!  When my husband was here, I was fully aware that the kitchen wasn't being cleaned to my specifications (though I definitely appreciated all he did), but I had no choice but to be still.  I physically did not have enough energy to protest.  I think my husband actually got a kick out of me being forced to be still--to not get up and fix everything--and it was good for me to see that the whole house would not crumble if I wasn't in charge!

When I heard my kids bickering at Grandma's house, everything in me wanted to run downstairs and attempt to settle the dispute...but I was too exhausted.  So I would lie in bed and hope that conflicts would be resolved, and you know what?  They were!  My presence was not absolutely necessary.  Would the meals be prepared exactly as I would have prepared them?  No.  But they were certainly fed!  I know, this seems over-the-top obvious, but when you are accustomed to being the one constantly running the cruise ship, it's tough to turn the stern over to another.  But it is a good thing to have to do.  Personally, I think I put so much pride in what I do and am able to juggle as a mom, that it has been a healthy experience for me to see that, although things were functioning differently in my so-called absence, they were functioning!  Everyone was getting along just fine.  Not to suggest that moms are not needed, but I believe that if we are doing what we do best when we are able, then everyone will get along fine when we are unable.

The other truth that I learned (or re-learned) is that mamas need extra love and tlc too!  And, it's there for us when we need it.  It may come in ways that surprise us or we wouldn't readily choose for ourselves, but it will be there.  When our power went out I didn't think, "Oh yay! Now I can get a day off from my responsibilities and visit my in-laws."  No, I was frustrated and my gut reaction was "Now this too?!  On top of the flu, now we have no power!"  I was less than enthusiastic when I reluctantly began packing our bags to spend the night elsewhere.  But, it was a blessing (for me) in disguise!  My kids had fun too!

Today, I am feeling much better, but God gave me yet another reminder that He looks after and cares for His mommies.  We were slammed with an additional 6-8 inches of snow overnight...on top of slush!  My husband had to leave for out-of-town meetings very early--too early to shovel--and I need to leave with the kids later this evening.  I looked outside as I donned my winter gear and sighed, "I can't believe I have to do this and I'm still not feeling 100%."  I attempted to shovel the sidewalk.  I struggled!  I shoveled off the porch.  I could barely catch my breath (still coughing from the effects of this flu bug!).  This was going to be so tough and I just may die!  I really felt like I might just collapse and someone would have to shovel me up!  I took a break inside; fixed my kids lunch; ate a sandwich; and sat down briefly at my computer to glance at a social networking site.  I made a comment "Where are those teenage boys who offer to shovel?  I have CASH!"  Within a short time, a friend from church recommended her teenage son's shoveling services to me; he gave me his number; we talked on the phone; and he knocked on my door an hour later!  What a relief!  He was a polite young man and I'm sure he was happy to earn a little extra money.  I am so happy that I didn't have to go back out there!

Moreover, I had one additional reminder--in case I'm ever tempted to forget--that God sees His mamas' needs!  He knows where I live.  He knows what I need.  He never forgets about me.  As Kari Jobe sings, "I know that [He] will never forsake me in my weaknesses."  I am pretty sure that my kids are glad I'm moving around again; making their meals; making sure they have clean socks to put on.  But, it was good and healthy for me to be reminded that I'm not the one who makes their world go 'round!  It has been just as encouraging for me to be reminded that I have a God who sees my needs, who meets me when I'm at my weakest!  He provides just the right help at just the right time, and I'm so grateful!

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