On Mother’s Day this year my pastor/husband did an amazing job of honoring all the moms in our church. He had us all stand so we could be recognized and then proceeded to pray for us - young moms, "empty-nester” moms, grand-moms, single moms, moms who have lost moms, and even for those who yearned to be moms.
It was a beautiful moment.
After all five weekend services had come and gone, he treated me and mine - along with some of our staff - to a delicious sushi lunch. I devoured my soup and salad as I awaited my Rainbow and Butterfly Roll.
Once home, I was feeling every bit of my 5:15 a.m. alarm and flopped (in an unladylike fashion) onto our living room couch. I was exhausted, full, and content. It was an awesome weekend - full of baptisms, testimonies, and love from our church family.
As I lay there on the couch, my husband very sweetly presented me with the idea of taking the kids to the campground for the night so I could have a quiet house all to myself.
I didn’t know what to say nor how to respond. Quite unexpected, involuntary tears filled my eyes. I processed what he was offering me and wondered if it would be selfish of me to say, “Yes.” - Thanks for the “Happy Mother’s Day” children! I won’t be spending any time with you! were my sarcastic thoughts.
I recognized that I was simply being loved upon and realized that my husband was giving me the gift that many busy mothers dream of - peace and quiet - coupled with no obligations and responsibilities.
Yes, he was giving me time - time by myself and for myself.
I got up from the couch and started rounding up the children’s favorite blankets - those they can’t seem to fall asleep without. I knew that my family was intending on sleeping in our camper that night. The question was whether or not I would be joining them… My husband found me in the hallway and said, “Well?” I put my pride aside and looked at him in his pretty blue eyes and said, “Yes, please, and thank you!”
And that was that!
I had just said, “Yes” to something that I hadn’t had in 12 years - a night by myself and for myself - with no obligations and responsibilities that came along with being Wife and Mom.
The children hugged me and Jeremiah told me to “Have fun!” when he kissed me goodbye. As the kids were walking out the door, they asked me what I was going to do. I told them that I had no idea, but I was definitely going to jump on my bed! (They laughed at that and my husband just asked me to not break it.)
They backed out of the driveway and I waved them down the street. Once they were out of sight, I turned to walk back inside the house. I found it all too quiet for my liking. In fact, it was deafening. And in the silence, I reveled (minus the alcohol, of course).
I sat down on the couch in complete shock and could relate to the saying of feeling “like a duck out of water.” It had been more than a decade of being responsible to someone else’s needs - whether it was to my husband’s or my children’s. And now I was solely responsible to mine.
I could do whatever I wanted - for however long I wanted! I was in shock!
I texted my husband - not even 10 minutes after they left… I feel like I’m the kid left alone in the candy store…not sure what to try first. I’m in shock. Love you. I never would have asked for this…but thank you! He responded with laughter and a We’ll miss you!
I made a list of all the things that I could do - that I would do - and also what I wasn’t going to do… First of all, I wasn’t going to waste it. Second of all, I was going to savor it.
Still…it took nearly three hours for my shock to dissipate! I had an entire house - my house - all to myself - with no one to engage, feed, wipe, or help. I wasn’t obligated to anyone nor anything and it was the strangest feeling!
And so, I naturally did what felt comfortable - normal even - I organized and ironed and cleaned. Yes, I organized and ironed and cleaned! (Some time by myself, for myself!)
After putting a few things in order, I decided to turn my attention to what I really wanted to do… And as I figured that out, I preheated the oven and mixed up some banana bread batter from scratch. I turned on Spotify, cranked You Say by Lauren Daigle, and danced around my kitchen. After finishing up the dishes, I made myself a cup of tea and sat.
Yes, I sat and picked up a book that I had been wanting to re-read for quite some time. I finished an entire chapter and cried - not because I finished an entire chapter, but because of the opportunity I had been given to read a chapter of a book and be ministered to by its content.
I made more tea and read more chapters…
And then I turned to my own writings. My husband had figured that I would want to write, so he left me his laptop and I spent a fair amount of time in Pages that evening…
I decided that supper was going to be a slice of my freshly baked banana bread. After I made myself a third cup of tea, I went another round of writing. When I looked up at the clock, I decided that I had been up long enough - and yet there was still time to take a bubble bath - complete with music and candles.
After my bath, I un-set my alarm and crawled into bed before midnight - wearing one of my husband’s shirts for pajamas. As I settled into the covers, I remembered that I had told my children that I was going to jump on my bed…so I yanked the covers off and stood up to jump. I found it less bouncy than I anticipated, so I fell back in bed - laughing.
The next morning I continued to take time by myself, for myself. I went on a run, ate bacon, listened to more music, and completed little projects that I finally had the time for. It was truly medicine to my soul - the peace and quiet, the sitting in silence, the little rocks that I had tossed from my pocket, the music that I cranked just because I could…it was everything I needed.
I counsel many wives and mothers, “You cannot give what you do not have.” It’s ludicrous to think that we can pour from an empty cup!
And that was why I so appreciated my husband’s gift - he was recognizing that I needed to have - so that I could continue to give!
As it was getting closer and closer to returning to my family, my excitement grew…I missed them! In fact, I felt like I could go another 12 years from the time I had by myself, for myself. It was just that good! (But, Shh! Don’t tell my husband!)
And so Busy Momma, know that your time - by yourself, for yourself - may not be convenient or even feasible in your current demanding season…but know that there will come a day when you will be able to sit in the silence and revel in the freedom. And until that time presents itself - whether it’s 12 days or 12 years from now - I encourage you to take a few notes from Apostle Paul…
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
So remember that every time you engage, feed, wipe, or help your children, it is - in fact - the Lord Christ you are serving! And if that is the posture you possess in your mothering, I believe that Jesus won’t be overlooking you while He’s busy passing out His rewards…