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http://www.kellymcmanus.org

 

Every so often, a new decision will create a jolt in our routine. My last blog post, I’ve Reached My Limit! is a great example. Thank you readers for all of the feedback! If you’ll allow me, I’d like to add more to the story today…

It was the dead of winter, February of this year, my friend had offered to take my children for the morning and cook up something yummy with them. Looking back, it was by God’s abundant grace that I even left the house that grey morning. We were in hibernation for months–I was just trying to cope day by day, maintain our education routine, and minister to the emotional needs of our grieving children.

I felt drained and spent–a soggy mess inside.

Maybe it was the gift of freedom that morning or a desire for comfort, I’m not sure which, but I knew it was time to do something for my own wellbeing. I pulled into a gravel lot after picking up our kids. Few cars were parked there that day. I walked into the metal clad building, and announced I was looking for a puppy. The older man behind the desk pointed the way to a back room where water was running. By the time I strolled in, there she was, wrapped in a towel. In my heart I knew she was already mine. As I received her into my arms, water dripped from her miniature face and whiskers. 

I believe it was time for some family therapy–puppy therapy.

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http://www.kellymcmansu.org

Tilly became our self-regulating tool. Whenever one of us would slump into a chair in exhaustion–Tilly would elongate herself on our legs. This little 4 lb dachshund mix, with her doe like eyes, and bounding personality brought great joy to my heart. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t the perfect pet, faithful to go potty outside every time–she was mine. My husband met her after a few weeks of traveling and in all honesty I’m grateful that my decision received the support it did.

I’m glad I took a leap of faith that day. There are times when we women, mothers, or parents need to step back from our situations. Here are a few of things that helped me during our difficult season.

  • I acknowledged my need.
  • I prayed for wisdom.
  • I welcomed God’s ministering.
  • I took an action step forward.

Sometimes, we will need to take the time to refill our cups so joy, peace, and love can overflow onto those around us again.

  • Maybe we need an extended break from our daily jobs and take a day or weekend trip.
  • Maybe we need to allow someone we trust to care for our children for a few hours.
  • Maybe we need to let our husbands know that we need a ladies night out or surprise him with our new manicure.
  • Maybe we need to start exercising to relieve stress.

It’s amazing what a little time and self-nurturing can do for a caregiver. A wise woman once told me, if I go down, everyone else in our household will go down with me–she said I had to make arrangements and step away at times. I believe it was the best and hardest advice I’d ever received. I know I’m not the only one getting up before dawn, tending to the chores, the meals, the gardens, the animals, the budget, the shopping, the kids’ lessons and education, plus relational needs, etc. I know I’m not the only one trying to hold things together while my husband works long hours at work but there comes a point where we all won’t have a choice anymore to care for ourselves. 

Let’s not wait until we are hunched over in a counselor’s office                                                with a tissue box in our lap before we do something.

My prayer today, that we will stop, pray, and listen to what God may say to us about the emotional, physical, and spiritual states we are personally in right now. Whatever it is–let’s commit to praying over this, letting go of the guilt, setting our boundaries, ignoring the criticism, and welcoming whatever the answers from God are. Our Wonderful Counselor and Prince Of Peace wants us to come and give us rest…yes and even if it’s in the form of a puppy. 😉

“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.

Matthew 11:28-29 NIV