It used to be my belief, whether it was subconsciously held to or not, that the less I took care of myself, the better mother I would be. When my first daughter was born, I slowly started to shame myself when I took any time away from her, or when I took time to care for myself. By the time my second daughter was born, my self care deprivation had escalated to an all time high. In a weird, twisted way, I became proud of my neglect to take care of myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Judgmental thoughts would creep in as I jealously watched other mothers make time for themselves. I just must care for my children more than they do. This may sound severe, but let's be honest: we've all had similar judgmental thoughts in one fashion or the other.
But then it hit the fan. Completely and fully; I unraveled at the seams.
Let me be clear about something: I completely believe in laying our lives down to serve others, as we follow the example of Christ. But sometimes living a life of complete service means healthy self care so we can serve in whatever capacity of ministry Jesus has called us to, whether that be CEO of a company, or service to our children.
Over a very weary season of my life, Jesus showed me that service to my family meant making sure I was being fed spiritually, nurturing my own relationships, and physically taking care of myself. Without healthy self care, I was falling apart at the seams, and I wasn't helping anyone. Jesus retreated, and I must follow in his footsteps and retreat, as well.
It isn't perfect, but these days I intentionally carve out pockets of time to be alone before the Lord, to move my body, to eat healthy foods, to get dressed. My daughters deserve a mother who serves her Jesus and retreats away to be with Him.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (THE MESSAGE)