I’ve been a mom for nearly 23 years now. Two decades that I have given of myself, sometimes sacrificing my own needs and wants. I can’t count the number of owies I’ve kissed, the meals I’ve cooked, the nights I’ve lost sleep or the prayers I’ve uttered. It feels like a lifetime of giving out love, discipline, help and guidance.
I can say that for most of these 23 years my children have been my focus, sometimes to the detriment of my own health. And I don’t say this as a compliment but as a confession. Because the reality is that when I’m depleted spiritually, physically or mentally…I can’t give my best. I’m not much good to my children. It’s hard to even recognize this reality when you’re in the midst of it.
Sadly, it’s taken me many, many years to realize this hard truth. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of an especially hard season of parenting—awaiting the return of my prodigal—that my tank ran completely empty. While it would be easy to blame it on the struggles with my child, it was really my own undoing. I wasn’t taking care of myself physically. I comforted myself with food. I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally. I was giving in to fear, anger and worry. I wasn’t taking care of myself spiritually. I wasn’t digging deep into God’s Word.
I wasn’t doing myself any good…and as a result, I wasn’t doing my prodigal any good.
Taking care of yourself won’t necessarily change the circumstances you’re dealing with. But it will help you navigate the treacherous path much easier. You will have more strength. More grace. More wisdom. More energy. More of whatever it is that God wants to give you.
Mom…dad…take care of yourself. It’s the best gift you can give to yourself during this difficult time.