I sat in our church fellowship hall and focused on the plate of food in front of me. I should’ve been hungry, especially since the smells wafting toward me were so enticing (and I didn’t even have to cook). But I felt rather ambivalent about the meal. In fact, I wasn’t feeling much of anything.
As the enthusiastic chatter of our church family swirled around me, it was as if I peered through a fog—like I watched from a cloudy distance. I lacked the energy to engage, and responding to others’ questions about my day took immense effort.
This mom was mired in knee-deep exhaustion.
In this season, I taught full-time and my three daughters logged their days in elementary school, middle school, and high school, respectively. My oldest two played basketball, and the youngest was a tiny cheerleader for her sister’s teams.
The girls were also active in church youth and children’s programs and enjoyed various activities with their friends. Our lives were rich, full, and busy. As the minivan rarely cooled its engine, my inner mantra was just keep moving.
I remember the desire for our girls to experience all the things. Youth mission trip? Of course, they should go. Choir or drama opportunities? Well, yeah. Join a group or club? Hmm. Will look good on their academic resume.
In retrospect, I sometimes lacked the wisdom to say, “enough.” I shied away from downtime because I worried they would miss out on an activity or opportunity. But the past few years of listening to my grown children speak of their childhoods, I’ve noticed something.
They rarely talk about all the things. My girls reminisce about stuff in between the scheduled chaos.
Things like spur-of-the-moment picnics at a local park. Staying up late on a weekend and watching a family movie together. Teasing dad about his inability to remember the exact movie lines.
Hanging out as a family. Lingering around the dinner table at the end of a long day. Being silly. Having one more conversation before bedtime.
Simply being together.
I praise God that once upon a time, He spoke to my weary heart and rescued me from the busyness. At the end of my mom-rope, He taught me that if I didn’t slow down and breathe, I would miss treasured moments with my girls.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to reevaluate the family schedule. Do our children enjoy quality hours in the safe haven of home? Are we covering every calendar-decision with prayer?
May this year be jam-packed with the stuff that makes life sweet. Kisses and cuddles. Conversations and eye-contact. Time and individual attention. Prayers and hugs and hearts full of joy.
Without a doubt, the best things ever.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom
• Psalm 90:12 •
in the Quiver