Retreat and renew

If you’re a Mom, you will probably agree that things just seem to go a little differently when you’re out of town and Dad is left in charge.  That isn’t necessarily a negative thing…it’s just that Dads seem to pay attention and notice things in a rather unique way.  Certain rules are bent, voices are a little louder, craziness is a tad crazier, meals are “interesting” and the house is a little messier.

But by the time we come home again, normalcy has generally returned, the messes are mostly cleaned up, and if we’ve been gone long enough (24 hours is usually the minimum), we are usually a little more appreciated by all.  Oh it isn’t that we’re not appreciated when we’re around, but it’s sometimes easy to miss and overlook what exactly we do to keep things running smoothly.

When I was gone for 10 days in February, my oldest daughter sent me a great little message.  It said, “Dear Mom – we all really miss you and can’t wait for you to get home.  It isn’t that everyone is misbehaving, it’s just that you bring life to our lives.”  Doesn’t that just pull at your heart strings?  It did mine.  It’s nice to hear an occasional confirmation that what we do on a daily basis actually matters, makes a difference, and people notice.

Getting away for a little time to yourself, or with some girlfriends, is critical I think for moms and wives to be truly healthy.  Some women will say that being a wife and mother is what gives them absolute and pure joy, and they could never imagine doing something as “selfish” as getting away for themselves, even if for a day or two.  If for no other reason than a good night sleep, and a few uninterrupted minutes to sit, read, think and pray – you’ve got to get away.  Taking care of yourself and insuring that you are fulfilled, joyful, healthy and growing in the Lord is what will make you a great mother and/or wife.  You cannot share what you do not have and cannot give when you’re depleted.  Just like putting your oxygen mask on first in an airplane, or eating nutritiously when you’re pregnant and nursing, you need to take care of you emotionally, socially and mentally first, so that you can then care for those who depend on you.

This weekend I’m in Billings at the Women of Faith event.  I laugh, I cry, I’m inspired and encouraged, I worship, I’m convicted and I’m refreshed.  It’s a time for me to grow and renew my strength in the Lord, so that I can serve my family from a place of health and strength, rather than depletion and weakness.

What have you done in the past month to care for you?  It might be a quiet lunch for one, a walk in the evening after the kids are in bed, a bubble bath (with no kids banging on the door!), or even a trip to the grocery store by yourself.  If you can get away overnight, seek out a women’s retreat or special event.  Or create your own retreat in a hotel room with a favorite movie, some music, a book you’ve been wanting to read, a few candles, your Bible and quiet.

However you can organize and plan it, and however much work it is to prepare ahead of time for being gone, and however much you know chaos will reign while you’re gone…..the benefits are that much greater.  Your kids and husband will survive.  The house can be picked up and restored to sanity.  In your absence everything will not go as you may plan, but I have found that sometimes they even go better.  And when you return refreshed, reenergized and renewed, you’ll be welcomed home by many happy smiles, warm, sticky-fingered hugs and a newfound appreciation for all that you do!

How can you retreat and renew?