Monday, August 3, 2015

Dear Mama, How To Fill Your Cup When Your Hands Are Full: Who Does the Filling?

I might as well say it:  I'm quite sure God led me to share this blog series, because He wanted to remind me how much I need it.
Nothing like writing about a full cup and feeling bone-dry.

Today was one of *those* days {and may I just say right here, is it just me or does it always seem like those days are Sundays?}.
Sunday morning first hour included two little ones who decided they wanted to climb the walls...literally. You may not believe it, but just ask my husband. He was trying really hard not to be distracted {ahem.}. I finally hauled both of them out by an arm each, dragged them across the compound to the Sunday School room, plunked them down on a bench, and told them with fire in my eyes that they had better not move. At that point my 3 year old thought it would be a good idea to grab a broom and start dancing.
My reaction was less than exemplary.
By the time second hour was over, I must have had the *look* in my eyes, because hubby canceled afternoon advanced Bible class and my tutoring session and announced that everybody needed a week off.....AKA he was pretty sure his wife was gonna blow her top.

I was hoping everybody would get a good nap in this afternoon, but due to a detour to the bank, the little ones slept in the car.
Of course, it was only long enough to make sure they wouldn't finish their naps at home.
I'll spare you Sunday night's story.
Just suffice it to say that it ended with me outside sitting on the concrete slab with a 22 month old screaming her lungs out, her older sister sound asleep and drooling on my left leg, mosquitoes biting my ankles, ants crawling up my skirt, and me asking God what in the world I needed to do differently so this never happened again.

I believe God gives us mamas days like this from time to time is to remind us that this job of motherhood is an important job, a demanding job, a self-sacrificing job, a job we can't do in our own power.
When my first daughter was born, I was in awe of the fact that God had given me a human being to raise. Over time, though, it just became part of who I was. I'm a mama. So what?!?
So what?
So God has entrusted a person into my safe-keeping, a person who knows nothing except what he or she will be taught, a person who has the potential to change the world, a person who will live life and touch people and live forever somewhere.
A tiny miracle in wrinkly, soft skin.

To have the energy for this enormous task, I must choose to "mother" my children every single day.
It's not enough to just keep them clothed and fed. It's about so much more.
The "so much more" can leave us dry, though.
I must accept the fact that my children will take up my time.
They're supposed to do that.
God did not give me children just so they could leave me alone.

My days with my children usually hinge on one key thing: my attitude.
If I feel like my kids are a burden, an annoyance, a hindrance to my plans, their little radars go off and they start responding like burdens, annoyances, and hindrances.
If I begin the day thinking of what a gift God has given me in my children, how I'm blessed to have them, and how God has called me to serve my family this day, they usually sense that and start acting accordingly.
But even when they don't, when my attitude is right, my cup isn't getting dumped all over the floor first thing. It might get jostled a little, but it won't be drained out before lunch.

My children don't need a perfect mom, but they do need a mama who is content and patient with life.
The only way that's going to happen, though, is if I'm filling up my cup.
I need to be able to be the grown-up!
I must be the one to control my temper and my tongue.
I must be able to think with wisdom.
I must be full of the Holy Spirit.
And none of those things are going to happen if my cup is empty.

So how?
How does a mama get a full cup for herself when her hands are full?
1. She chooses who is going to do the filling.
I cannot fill up my own cup. The only one who can is the Holy Spirit. I must make some time in my day for the Holy Spirit to be able to work in my life.
There are seasons to motherhood and some seasons are harder than others, but in all of them I can turn control of myself and my day over to the Holy Spirit.
2. She allows herself to be filled.
I can't always choose how my day is going to go, but when I do have a choice, I must allow some of that time for filling. I cannot go for days without ever breathing a prayer, cracking open my Bible, recalling a memory verse, or getting needed rest, and expect to be full.
3. As soon as she realizes she's empty, she goes for refills.
On those empty days, I'm walking in the flesh. I sin. I'm not the mama God desires for me to be.
Do I have to quit? NO! I confess any sin, and I go right back to my gracious Helper who desires to fill me.
4. As her seasons change, she adds more time for more filling.
I'm finally at the place in this motherhood thing where I'm feeling a bit of margin. I have no newborns. Baby eats food and sleeps mostly through the night. It can be tempting to take that extra bit of time and energy and use it for my own desires. There are times as a mama that all of us live almost on "emergency rations" spiritually, but when that hard time is past, it's important to give some of that new found time to filling up on God and His Word.

So maybe today you need these truths? If not today, maybe tomorrow?
Either way,  the Holy Spirit wants to fill your cup ready and waiting?

*Many of these excellent thoughts were spurred by one of the best books I've ever read about motherhood, The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I highly recommend it!

*If you haven't entered the giveaway for Loving the Little Years and you'd like to do so, please do so here.

*Next up, I and some guests are going to be sharing practical ways to work on filling up your cup when your hands are full!

If you've missed the other posts in this series, they're right here!

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