Motherhood. It’s an amazing and fantastic calling, a true privilege, but definitely not for the faint of heart. Being a mom of any tenure demands much hard work and selflessness from us, and most often needs to be met with determination, commitment, a good attitude, unending stamina and energy, character, creativity, a good sense of humor, wisdom and massive amounts of grace. I know I rarely have all of these attributes functioning together in the same month, let alone the same day, which is why I desperately need Jesus – every day!
One mom brilliantly framed it up this way: “This mom life is hard. It is monotonous and every little thing I do seems small and yet huge all at once. It is small to cut an apple; it is huge to raise a soul. It is small to wipe a counter; but it is huge to hold a heart. It’s small to change a diaper; but is huge to shape a character…”
For many of us, the pace of this everyday ordinary life can leave us feeling consumed, overwhelmed and totally empty and feeling like we have nothing left to give. It’s a difficult place to be and we may find ourselves looking to find ways to sneak away for a bit in hopes of being refreshed and refueled.
Some moms may even be able to plan and coordinate a few consecutive days strung together in hopes that when they return they will not only have a sense of renewed energy, but some additional head and heart space to approach the season in front of them. Sometimes this is effective and enough for the moment at hand, but the fix is never lasting. Usually within a few days the same cycle of feeling overwhelmed and empty starts all over again.
So let’s talk about this for a minute. What does it mean to be refreshed and recharged - versus - refueled and renewed?
SELF CARE versus SOUL CARE
I think it’s important to talk about the difference between Self Care and Soul Care because both are satisfying, but only one can lead to lasting renewal and momentum in our faith and the other will only satisfy us temporarily.
Self Care will never be able to fill the void in our hearts that is intended for God. Self Care is primarily about taking ownership of our current needs and acting on what would bring a temporary moment of refreshing and comfort to us. We feel refreshed and recharged! I love it when I get these moments! I mean, who doesn’t love a fresh new manipedi, a new hair cut and highlights, a spa day, an extra long fragranced bubble bath, lunch with friends or a new pair of beautiful shoes! All lovely and wonderful things – but they only satisfy us temporarily.
Self Care inherently focuses on what you can do for yourself. It can’t bring rest to your weary soul and it can’t give you what you need to excel in your marriage or thrive in motherhood.
Self Care is enjoyable – but will always leave you wanting.
Soul Care acknowledges God’s position in our lives and invites Him in. Here we find we are supernaturally refueled and renewed because of God’s presence working in our lives.
“Soul Care turns your gaze upward for God’s provision. Establishing that you can’t be God, it frees you to accept your weaknesses then receive His unending strength. Soul Care flows from the humble recognition that our physical bodies are finite and ineffectual, but God gives us supernatural grace that is everything we need for life and godliness.”
- Maggie C.
“Self Care and Soul Care may look the same from the outside. They both may involve getting physical rest, reading good literature, eating well, creating art, and exercising. But self care comes from the attitude of self….. while soul care seeks to know God better through both His Word and His world.”
- Maggie C.
I feel it’s valuable to have both of these elements functioning in our lives, but I think it’s super important to understand the difference between these two and to understand that self care is not a substitute for soul care, because self care cannot equip you for the journey at hand.
So as mothers running such a long distance race, how do we do this and keep our stamina emotionally, spiritually and relationally, in a healthy place?
Many of us tend to overanalyze the areas we are feeling challenged in, and find ourselves striving to do better. Instead, we need to take it in surrender to the One who designed us as mothers.
It’s not wrong to identify areas that we can improve upon as mothers, or ways in which we can serve our families better. We should always be willing to take an honest look at our lives and make room for growth in those areas. The problem that we often run into is that we tend to SOLEY focus our efforts on our own ability to fix things.
We forget that we still need to run to the secret place and ask Him for insight and wisdom. We need His strength to navigate the chaos of life and to provide the emotional and physical endurance for this daily race. Ultimately, we’re asking God to pour out buckets of grace and to fill in all the gaps. He’s so ready and able to lead us there – but He waits for us to invite Him in.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says this:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders AND the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of (the One who completes) our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
I love this verse because it not only exhorts us to identify any form of sin that may possibly be hindering our walk with God, but Paul encourages us to “throw off EVERYTHING that hinders – and the sin – that so easily entangles us, and to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” So what are the areas we are feeling overwhelmed in, stuck and unable to move forward in?
As the Perfecter of faith, He brings our faith journey to its intended goal, IF we stay connected to Him.
Maybe the simple truth is, it’s been a really long time since you have personally invited Jesus into your day and acknowledged your need for Him in the areas of marriage, motherhood or where ever it is you need to invite Him into.
He sees all the hard work you do each day to manage your homes and take care of your family so well. He sees your struggles, your pain and heartaches. He sees your failures and mistakes.
He sees the wins and accomplishments too! He sees it all, and the truth is He’s waiting for you to invite Him in so He can refresh you and fill you back up and help you navigate ALL the things that concern you.
The comfort, guidance, wisdom and fuel that we so desperately need, is found in staying connected to the One who is the Source of all we have need of.
Moms, don’t do motherhood on empty! Ask Him to fill your cup to running over! You are enough, you are valuable and loved. What you do matters and you are purposely positioned and anointed for the task set before you!
*SCRIPTURES TO ENCOURAGE
“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.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:1, 4-5
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this”
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves, and Children are a heritage from the Lord, and offspring a reward from Him.”
My name is Cindi Streitmatter and my passion is to help people see who God has called them to be and to walk in all that He has for them.
Steve and I moved to Austin Texas, 5 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee. We have 3 grown children, 2 of which are married and our youngest is transitioning into Nursing School this fall.
We have 3 delicious grand babies and are over the moon about being Cici and Pop Pop to them!
Life is truly a gift.