Recognizing Our Limits

A great wind-storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion…   Mark 4:37-38

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September is extreme chaos for all moms with school-aged children. Getting our kids and ourselves adjusted to the new schedule, and finding the right routine that gets everyone where they’re supposed to be is overwhelming. It takes the entire month to hammer things out and get into a rhythm.

Having been through countless Septembers, I know how bone-weary I feel by the end of the month. So I go off on a weekend retreat to rest and rejuvenate. Out of pity for my husband (who has to hold down the fort while I’m away), I scheduled it this year for mid-October, when the craziness had died down a bit. Or so I thought.

When I put my deposit down in August, I had no idea that the weekend I chose in October would become the perfect storm. By the time it arrived, the usual kid activities had doubled. There was a birthday party, a baseball play-off game, a cross country league meet, a soccer game, soccer photos, karate, CCD, altar serving, and a Halloween outing to the local amusement park. My poor husband was going to be run ragged. I should have felt guilty for dumping it all in his lap, but I didn’t.

In Mark, Chapter 4, Jesus could have helped row the boat as He and His disciples crossed to the other side, but He didn’t. Despite being a heavenly entity, He walked the earth in a human body. That body had limits; so He went to sleep.

He knew that if he stayed awake, the quality of His teaching would suffer. Conversely, rest would restore Him. It would help Him preach with more clarity, patience, and purpose. He honored that. So while His disciples rowed the boat, He slept.

Moreover, He slept through a storm. He could sleep soundly while the waves “beat into the boat” because He had deep faith that His father would protect Him and get Him safely to where He needed to be.

For some reason, we moms think we need to be superheroes: sacrificing rest so we’re more available to give, give, give to our kids. What some of us fail to recognize is that if we don’t honor our limits and seek the rest we need, we compromise the quality of our motherhood. We may be there in body, but we’re so soul-weary, we mother without clarity, patience, or purpose.

I’m not usually very good at recognizing my own limits, and have very far to go in doing so consistently. But my taking one weekend a year to escape and spend hours and hours in silence, prayer and rest, restores me. It helps me to get perspective on all I’m doing wrong. I’m also able to problem solve ideas to fix my mistakes. Most importantly, I actually rest enough so I have the energy to implement those ideas when I return home.

Another important piece is it forces me to trust my husband. Like Jesus trusted God to carry Him through the storm, it’s so healthy for my marriage when I empower and trust my husband to navigate the perfect storm of activities, and get my kids safely to where they need to be.

Jesus spent morning, noon and night preaching, teaching and healing. If He needed rest, you can bet we do too. We are human. We need to recognize our limits, seek rest, and trust that whomever we’ve left in charge, will carry through, despite whatever storm we’ve left in our wake.

P.S. – If you live in the New England area and you can get away for weekend, or even just one day, I HIGHLY recommend the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford, ME.

Questions For Reflection:

     * Do I recognize and honor my limits?

     * When I don’t, what happens to the quality of my motherhood?

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2 thoughts on “Recognizing Our Limits

  1. I so admire all of you young parents juggling all the activities your kids are involved with!!
    I think my generation had a ‘picnic’ compared to yours!! God bless you all! xo


    • I can’t imagine having seven kids was any “picnic,” Mom! It’s amazing that you even got us all fed and clothed. Thanks for all the countless things you juggled for us. Love you!


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