The recent “Got Balance“retreat tackled issues moms struggle with trying to balance the never-ending responsibilities of being a wife, mom, and woman. Every time I do the retreat, women ask for more – more encouragement, more practical ways to balance things, more refreshment for the daily journey.

My hope is to have an e-book done in a few months including material from the retreat. In the meantime, I’ll be posting much of that material here in addition to weekly posts on faith and life. Look for the “Got Balance Series” in the title indicating posts for moms and parents!

So…… how do we balance this thing called Motherhood?

My thoughts immediately go to two women in Luke 10:38-42: Mary and Martha.  Women have been wrestling with the Mary/Martha syndrome since the time of Christ.  As a young mom, my internal “good Christian woman” measuring tool was Martha-like.  The woman who did everything:

  • A cheerful helpmate to her husband
  • A creative and patient mom
  • An organized, fastidious homemaker
  • An involved, busy leader at church
  • Etc.

I was doing pretty good meeting my goals until my fourth child came – I fell off the bandwagon.  I couldn’t keep up.  

  • I needed my husband to help me.
  • My patience was short and my creativity gone.
  • My house was clean, but lunch money and permission-slip forms sent me into panic-mode.
  • I was involved and busy at church but served with a grumpy, defeated spirit.
  • (Can you identify?)

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’” (Luke 10:40)

Being “Martha” wasn’t working for me.  I longed to be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to what He said (Luke 10:39).

Are you living like Martha but long to be like Mary?

In parenting four kids through toddler-hood to young adulthood, in being both a stay-at-home-mom and working mom, I’ve learned you can’t be Martha and Mary at the same time.  Attempting to do so creates anxiety and struggle from expectations you put on yourself.  Every voice around you says, “You should do it all, and you’re failing.

Jesus says, “Daughter, dear Daughter, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (The Message, paraphrase from Luke 10:41-42)

Dear Mama, you’re getting worked up over things that aren’t eternal.  Only one thing is essential, sitting and listening to the Father.

Balancing motherhood lies in spending time with Jesus first.  It takes priority over everything else.  Balance doesn’t come in serving more at church or attending more bible studies. Busyness in good things is not a substitute for God’s best.  God’s best lies in worship, adoration, and rest in Him when we spend time at His feet – in prayer, in His Word, and in praise.

The world’s expectations – even in Christian circles – say when we’re busy doing good things, then we’re a good woman, mom and wife.  Jesus simply wants us to spend time in adoration and praise of Him.

How do you do this when you have babies and toddlers at your feet, busy school children you’re carpooling, and kid’s sporting events to attend?  Worshiping doesn’t get the laundry done.

But it does.  In each of our lives, we have pockets of time – to Facebook, Tweet, look at Pinterest, read blogs, or watch TV.  Face it, we make time for things that are our priority.

Balancing motherhood rests in priorities.  Making time with your Savior balances all other activities and attitudes of the heart.

When I’m stressed by the demands of life and don’t make time to be with my Comforter, I feel out of balance, pulled in all directions, out of whack!

But spending a few minutes alone, Mary-like, listening to the Father, allows me to engage in busy activities with a peaceful spirit and gracious attitude.  I can handle more when I spend time at His feet.

Mothering is hard. Having the assistance of the Holy Spirit makes it easier.  Busyness is not the answer. Prioritizing time is.

If I were to die today, would I want my kids to remember a mom who is stressed because she has to make the perfect birthday treat, or to have a mom who reflects the peace of Christ?

Martha or Mary?

I think I know the answer.  How about you?

 

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