Back when I had loads of children under ten, I also had loads of frustration. Each day was like a box of chocolates; I never knew what I was going to get. No matter how I tried to be organized and create a “to-do” list, I never got to check the items off. That is, it was frustrating until God showed me two things that revolutionized my mom life.
*Scroll down for video.
Before we go further, I want to make something very clear. Rearing our 15 children has been a blessing from God, from one end to the other. I need to say this because when I share the nitty-gritties, I never want to give the impression that I am complaining. The gifts I have received from being a mother of children are so priceless and immense that there are not enough banks in the world to contain them.
There are multiple reasons for this, the main one being the way this lifestyle has made me totally dependent upon God.
You see, this large family life is too big for me. I was not raised to love children or be a homemaker. I was encouraged to go out and whip the world, to “become someone.” I was not naturally patient, or organized, or even energetic.
My children have never been naturally sedate and compliant, either. They are all pretty bouncy and “‘satiably curious” (as Rudyard Kipling put it in his story, The Elephant’s Child). There has not been a day when they haven’t thought of something out-of-the-box to turn our plans upside-down and inside-out.
By the time I was 29 I had seven children, all of them spaced an average of 18 months apart. At more than one point I had three in diapers at the same time while I was also potty training, or dealing with morning sickness, or nursing a newborn. The housecleaning, the cooking, the laundry, was all up to me, although I gradually learned to enlist the help of the children at higher levels as they each began to mature.
I don’t believe there are adequate words to describe the type of juggling a mother experiences in such a situation.
I remember feeling as though God was multiplying my eyes, my arms, and my brains. Because of His help, those days were not horrendous, they were blessed. I don’t remember a time of unrelenting stress, but days filled with the blessings of the sweetness of childhood.
One thing that happened during this time is that God helped me see each difficulty as another opportunity to overcome via faith and trust. While each day was a challenge, it was also a revelation of his mercies.
As He led me and taught me which way to go, my difficulties turned to sparkling gems that have continued to help me all the days of my life.
Among the diamonds forged during these years are these two habits He helped me to practice:
1.Prioritizing my time with Him and His Word.
2.Turning my “to-do” lists into a prayer lists.
Prioritizing my time with Jesus was a biggie.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
This wasn’t about petitioning God, it was about enjoying Him. It was like Mary when Jesus came to visit. She was found sitting at His feet and gazing into His face (see Luke 10:38-42).
Delight thyself also in the Lord. Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit. Bad men delight in carnal objects; do not envy them if they are allowed to take their fill in such vain idols; look thou to thy better delight, and fill thyself to the full with thy more sublime portion. In a certain sense imitate the wicked; they delight in their portion — take care to delight in yours, and so far from envying you will pity them. There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind. Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties.
Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on Psalm 37:4 from his Treasury of David
This was more than a sweet time; it was the charging of my battery. It was also the correcting and rearranging of my thoughts. This was done by reading and meditating on His Word:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Turning my “to-do’s” into prayers was nothing short of a genius revelation from the Holy Spirit.
Before I had children my lists were a source of pride. The check mark next to each item I accomplished gave me great satisfaction. The unpredictability of mom life made that satisfaction almost impossible to experience.
Making such a list was a sure way for me to feel disappointment and frustration. The moment I decided to bake cookies, or pay bills, or even go on a walk, something was sure to happen. The baby might come down with a cold, or one of the children would flush too much toilet paper at one time, or the dishwasher would go on the fritz.
I must have tried every strategy in the world to curb the chaos. I would put the kids to bed earlier, or later, or have things in place before-hand, or any number of other things.
Lots of them did help, but they were not ultimately the answer. My life was too complicated even for the advice of all of the “experts” in the world. I needed the Expert who had infinite knowledge and understanding. I needed the help of the Holy Spirit.
So I did what I had been doing in other areas of my life. I made a prayer list.
But this prayer list was different. It was no composed of the big items. It was made up of the minute details of my life, such as getting the floor mopped or setting up dental appointments or making a grocery list.
I would sit and make such a list and then ask the Lord to help me get each item accomplished. I would even ask the Holy Spirit to be my Reminder when certain items were time sensitive.
Then I would rest it all with Him. Here are the scriptures which I stood on:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
The only caveat to these verses is that we ask according to God’s will. I believe it is God’s will that my house be in order, since He is not a God of chaos (see 1 Corinthians), so I can ask in confidence that He will hear me and grant me my requests.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Praying without worry (doubt) pleases God. It is our faith which allows Him to act on our behalf.
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
After I prayed, thanked, and believed, all that was left was to rest.
And that’s just what I did as I went through my daily routine. Along the way one thing would coincide with another, and, without any fretting or micro-planning on my part, everything would work out and I would end up with the satisfaction of a page filled with check marks. Each day was filled with miracle after miracle!
Of course, there is more to this story, and it’s so much better to be able to express ideas via the spoken word. That’s why I have taken the time to make a video for you. You can access it below:
I hope this blesses you and gives you a few more tools to make your mommy life the best life ever, thanks to the marvelous love of the Lord Jesus Christ!