“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isa. 40:11)
Many years ago, I remember we had a Mother’s Day banquet at our church, and this verse was the theme. I was just a teenager at the time, and while I thought it was beautiful and sweet, I didn’t think much more about it.
More recently, I was a new mom with two precious little ones, neither of whom were sleeping much. I was exhausted. My brand new baby was going through some health issues, and cried a LOT. My toddler (not yet two), wasn’t sleeping well, and was dealing with some big adjustments with a new baby in the house. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, trying to stay caught up on everything at home, be a good wife and mom, carry out my responsibilities at church, and still find time to take a shower. I was also really struggling to have my devotional time with the Lord. I would try to wake up early, but would often oversleep because I’d had only two or three hours of sleep the night before. If I tried reading while my babies were awake, the multiple interruptions made me feel like I was not understanding anything I was reading. And if they managed to take a nap at the same time, I seemed to doze off every time I sat still!
And while I knew what the order of my priorities were supposed to be, many times they seemed to overlap and get jumbled, and I had a terrible time sorting out what to do, when to say no, and how to continue being a good wife, mom, friend, pastor’s wife, daughter, and more. Ever been there?
One day when I was particularly overwhelmed, I called my mom. She reminded me of this verse in Isaiah, where the Lord said he would “…gently lead those that are with young.” She reminded me that this is a brief stage in my life, and that the Lord knew exactly where I was. She helped me remember that the Lord knew the difference in my neglecting to read the Bible because I didn’t want to, or drifting off during my reading because I’d spent half the night watching a movie or surfing the web, and being legitimately exhausted because my babies needed me. She encouraged me to do a few basic things, and I would like to share them with you:
If you are in a stage of life where you are overwhelmed, you need to simplify your life. Cut out the “extras” and the “unnecessaries”. Be willing to say no.
As I said before, this can confusing when several of your roles seem to overlap, but it is important to choose our priorities. We truly do find a way to do what is most important to us most of the time.
This is a temporary stage in your life. As tired as you may be, your baby will learn to sleep eventually. Your toddler will get through potty training. And even schooling will be over before you know it. Every stage of motherhood has its unique challenges and joys. Remember to enjoy the good parts, and have patience that the difficult parts will pass.
4. Be Willing To Be Helped
If people offer to help, don’t be too proud to accept. Sometimes you need a nap, or help with the laundry, or an extra meal. Don’t demand or even expect help, but don’t be ashamed to ask for or accept it either. Being tired or overwhelmed doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom!
5. Share With Others
If you’re past this stage (or perhaps not in it yet), remember that being a mom is a big job. Go the extra mile to encourage someone who may be struggling. Don’t expect them to be involved in every activity they were before. Give them time, and lend a hand. Make a meal. Watch the baby so Mommy can go get a haircut….or read her Bible!
6. Enjoy Every Moment
Enjoy all the moments of motherhood – the good and the bad; the easy and the difficult. They pass all too quickly.
I’m so thankful for a Savior who is also my shepherd. And when I’m feeling overwhelmed and totally unable to accomplish being a mom, I’m thankful He reminds me that He gently leads those that are with young.