...metaphorically speaking, that is.
It must surely be the end of term. My calendar tells me it is so and this week my body has too. I realised, last night, that I really can't study until 11.30pm, wake up at 5am(ish) each morning and stay energetic!
What did I do, when tears came too easily and I wasn't able to think clearly about even the simplest of things? I stopped. Not because I had time to, which I certainly don't on a Thursday night. But because without stopping for a 1/2 hour nap I simply couldn't have made it through the bustle that is our Thursday evening.
I was talking with a close, precious friend this week about that humanistic mantra that tells us "you can't look after others until you look after yourself". That statement gets my back up. What it says is that I/me is more important than anyone or anything else. I don't believe that is how God intends us to live. Indeed the Bible is full of the opposite...putting other's needs above your own, bending over backwards to help those who need to be cared for, going out of your way and against popular, politically correct culture to look after the unlovely and the downtrodden.
There is a curious small thread of truth in that statement though. And that is the work of Satan, is it not, to weave just enough truth in with his lies to make them more acceptable? That curious little truth woven into a statement I despise is this: sometimes you need to be cared for by someone else. Honestly, you won't and can't always be the one to do all the caring.
As a mother, there have been many occasions when I have had to gather myself and push on. I know that every mother experiences that. You know, those days when you haven't had any sleep because of a fussy baby, or when you're really unwell but you still need to get your children to school. When you just don't feel like you can take another step in your day and yet you have no choice? As my children have gotten a little older and the ability to do their own thing without my constant input, I have received some wonderful blessings in being their mother. One of those things is that they are able to care for me in their own way, when I have truly been in need.
Yesterday as I was overwhelmed with that sense of exhaustion, two of them hugged me...at the same time, because if one starts, Mr Busy simply has to join in! I lay down on the couch, knowing I wouldn't sleep long or deeply, but enough to have rested and they let me do so. I heard one of them say to a sibling "don't you wake her up!", in the sternest tone of a loud whisper. And when I did wake, feeling a little better, they all checked in to make sure I was OK.
Was I stamping my foot and saying "I'm more important than you and you'll just have to wait until I'm ready to deal with you"? No I was not. Rather, I was deeply blessed yesterday, because in my real need for rest my children protected me from themselves and allowed me that time. They came back later to make sure I was truly feeling better and that I'd be OK to move into the rest of the evening. They were gentler with their requests for permission and help with different homework odds and ends.
I think it is important, particularly for mothers, to acknowledge when you honestly require care from others. I think it's also important not to fall into that trap of playing the victim card. You know the one...."I do everything around here and no-one lifts a finger to help me". Even if you don't say it, when you feel it, it comes out in whatever you do. And it is unattractive. Believe me, I know! That mantra I mentioned before will set that victim mentality in motion like you won't believe! I am learning to take those feelings to God. It is, after all, only when we admit our weaknesses and faults that we experience His strength. Isn't that a much more attractive person to be with? I know that's the kind of person I would prefer to spend my time with!