Monday, August 10, 2015

Dear Mama, How To Fill Your Cup When Your Hands Are Full: Setting Boundaries {a guest post}

As a mama it's my job to set up boundaries and lots of them.
"No, you cannot smash bananas all over the wall."
"No, you cannot eat chapstick."
"No, you cannot color your skin with markers."
"No, you cannot only eat bread all day every day."

At times, I get tired of setting up those fences, those perimeters of what I will and won't allow my kiddos to do.
What can we do today, mama?
Can we....
Make a tent? Yes.
Out of my couch cushions? Yes.
Using bed sheets? Yes.
Painting the sheets? No.

And how about snack time?
Can we have a snack....
like apples? Yes.
with groundnut paste? Yes.
will you cut the apples? Yes.
will you carve them into shapes. Nope!

I'm learning as a mama that as much as boundaries are important for my little ones, they are important for me too.
I wish that spending time with the Lord during these busy days was a simple matter, but usually it's not.
As a mama of young children {and older children, too!}, my time is not always {okay, rarely} my own.
Part of being a mama is being flexible, but when it comes to spending time with the Lord, we should only bend so far.
I've learned that while I have to find what works for me, I need to have some guidelines in place so that I don't slowly lose that habit that I so desperately need.
While I may not be able to spend lots of time in God's Word during this particular season of my life, I must still keep it a priority.
If I don't, soon I won't spend any time at all, and it won't take long before those times of filling are a distant dream.

Today I've asked Maria to share a bit of how she manages to fill her cup while being a missionary mama to 5 kiddos in Jamaica. She has some excellent guidelines she's set for herself to make sure she can spend time with the Lord daily....

Hello, I’m Maria. I’m a very happy Christian lady and missionary wife married to my Cajun Prince Charming from Baton Rouge.  After getting my college degree, I now spend my days tying on tutus, building castles out of chairs, and dressing baby dolls...all while remembering the phonics rules and burning dinner.  I love being raised by my 4 princesses - Moriah, Alexis, Eden, and Brynlee…..and my little guy, John Truman.  I'm a country girl from North East Missouri that God placed on a tropical island.   I love the Lord, my  handsome husby, my kids, and life.  I miss my family overseas like crazy but try to live elbow deep in God's plan for us now.  I like pretty, vintage, feminine things, I Love Lucy, the sound of the sea shore, and my rose bushes.

I feel honored to write on my favorite blog!  One of my real life heroes.

Here it is…. ME time.  I sit on the front veranda overlooking my rose bushes.  Somewhere in the house I hear the washing machine hard at work and the scent of fresh coffee drifting towards me.  I snuggle into my porch swing and open my Bible.  {game show buzzer} “Eeeehhhhh”

Dream over.
Little One #4 has a cough. All through the night I steal into her room over and over.  Quietly feeling her fevered head, laying my head down to hear her strained breathing, and just staring at the beautiful little features in the pale light.  After a few minutes I stumble back to my own bed only to jerk awake an hour later to stumble back down the hall at the sounds of her coughing.
  It feels like minutes later my closed eyes feel a presence close by. I crack my eyes to see the sunshine bursting through my windows, and a little white-haired boy sitting with his nose close to mine.  “Psst, mom, what do you want to do today?” Another chipper little voice pipes up from the foot of the bed, “I want oatmeal with cinnamon and jelly toast shaped like dinosaurs!” And so the morning starts.  Burning oatmeal, brushing ponytails, balancing a little one on my hip, etc.  I never get to punch a time clock, I’m always on call.  I haven’t had an uninterrupted night's sleep in over a decade.

Where is the “quiet time” you hear about in church songs and read about in devo books?  What is wrong with my life and my organization of my household?  

Sometimes we have the mistaken thought that our personal time with the Lord has to be scheduled at the same time and for a certain amount of time every day.  This works for some….but not a busy mama with a house full of unpredictable responsibilities.  As a mommy many times we feel invisible or maybe even used by the little ones we love so dearly.  Scrubbing dishes and floors and washing laundry in our faded house dress.  It is so important to stay close to the Lord and here are a few tips that have helped and encouraged me in my faith.

  1. Talk to the Hand When Mommy has her Bible open you don’t talk to her. Unless you are on fire… and even then you know where the rain barrel is.
  2. Multi-Task it, Sister  My prayer time is sporadic.  It is custom in Jamaican church services to sing….like forever.  This has given me the opportunity to learn so many prayer choruses.  I sing pretty awful, but the Lord doesn’t care, and singing to the Lord as I go about mundane chores helps me keep a right spirit about me.  Yes, I sporadically break out in a prayer chorus at the top of my lungs.  My neighbors worry about me.   Singing to the Lord is a special way of talking to Him, and I feel His presence in a special way.  It’s kinda hard to yell at the kids for putting the chickens in their bedroom or splattering mud on your clothesline when you just were singing about how the “Lord changed me.”  Or better yet a muddy chicken in their bedroom….yeah….it’s happened. 
  3. Give Yourself A Sticker I keep myself in check by taking away “rewards” when I don’t make time for the Lord.  Hey it works with kids, so why not?  I promised the Lord a few years ago that I won’t go 24 hrs. without reading my Bible.  I’ll admit I haven’t always kept this, but after I promised the Lord this, I feel deep conviction when I try to go to bed and I know I didn’t read my Bible yet.  I also promised the Lord I would never write a blog post unless I’ve done my devotions that day.
  4. See the Handwriting on the Wall  Not the blue crayon that magically made “B’s” all over my hallway.  I journal prayer lists and special verses and tape them in places that catch my eye.  Above my kitchen sink, on the wall going into the dining room, the front door, etc…anywhere works.

A few years ago I came to my husband and my heart was broken as I humbly asked, “Am I backslidden?”  I was comparing myself to my Bible college days when I would spend hours each week studying my Bible and memorizing Scripture.  Almost every waking moment then was sensitive to the Lord’s voice and His leading.  My sweet husband explained to me how this season of my life is different.  I’ve grown to understand exactly what he meant.  The time I have as a wife to a young man and mama to little ones will pass quickly and it is such an important job supporting and encouraging my man while molding little lives.  To properly do this and with the proper spirit we can’t forsake or excuse away our quiet time.  You’ll not regret it.

Boundaries are necessary. Maria put it so well!
Go take a minute and look around Maria's blog ~ you'll love both her words and her pictures!

So I'm curious ~ What are some boundaries you've put in place to make sure you spend time with the Lord? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I'm learning a little more about what it means to pray without ceasing and to listen to the Lord while praying. Sometimes, prayer needs a "carved out" time in the day, but a lot of praying can be done while living our lives. It's important to have the Word in our hearts and heads, as application comes throughout the day when the Bible verses are ready and available. Bible reading, though, must be when things are relatively quiet, at least for me. Otherwise, it's just passing my eyeballs over words. I need to be able to think and understand. No kids at home, now, so it's easy to have quiet.