Christian, Motherhood

Take Care of Yourself First, and Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for it.

Mama, I know what it’s like thinking that to be the best mom means putting everyone and everything else in front of taking care of yourself. I know that you think it’s the best thing to do for your family. I know that you tell yourself, tomorrow I’ll take a few minutes for myself, tomorrow I’ll do it. I know that you end up locking yourself in the bathroom, feeling overwhelmed, possibly crying because you can’t do it all and that must mean you’re a failure. I know that you need a break.

Mama, you need to rest. You need to start each day seeking Jesus’s sweet spirit and put yourself first, in order to be the best mama your family needs and deserves.

How you can expect to disciple other’s if you can’t even disciple yourself? It’s foolish to think that you can guide others to Christ if you don’t know the path yourself. This is why you must put yourself first and not feel guilty for it.

The top three reasons to take care of yourself and why you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.

1) You’re no good to anyone if you’re burnout.

I know as mothers our first instinct to make sure our families are taken care of. We will starve ourselves of all nourishment if it means that our children have their needs met. Especially new moms. New moms will go without basic needs in order to care for their newborn.

When I first took Navarone home, I was wiped out and recovering from major surgery, yet my brain didn’t care that I was in agony. It just needed to make sure Nav was cared for. I could only focus on taking care of him because he’s what mattered. It would make Dakota quite upset because I wasn’t “taking it easy,” but how do moms “take it easy?”

It quickly got to a point where I was beyond exhausted. My body was in need of some serious rest. Did you know that burnout is now considered a syndrome?

If you’ve never felt burnt out over something, let me quickly explain what it feels like; you don’t have energy, passion or desire to do “it” anymore. You just can’t go on.

Did you know the reason you’re supposed to put your oxygen mask on first, in the event of an airplane crash, is because you’re no good to anyone if you’ve passed out from lack of oxygen? The same is true in your spiritual life and that bleeds over into the physical.

Mama, you have to put yourself in YHWH’s presence. It’s always available to you, but you have to choose to recognize it. Jesus is always there.

If you renew yourself daily, find peace and sovereignty in the morning before dealing with husbands, children and the hustle and bustle then you’re going to be in a better mental state to handle whatever or however, the day goes.

2) You’re Called

You are called to take accountability for your relationship with Christ. At the end of it all, you will be judged on how you conducted yourself and the excuse of “life” won’t cover your lack of a relationship.

Let me be very blunt, you need to take ownership of your life and your relationship. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure you read, meditate and pray. I will not be judged for your lack of care, only my lack.

You are called to meditate on G-d’s word. You are called to be in continual prayer. You are called to be a shining example to your children on how to follow Christ.

You can’t expect the church to do all the work for you. Trust me. You have to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.

3) There is Rest in the Searching

I can tell you with 100% certainty that starting your day in quiet, surrender and focus on G-d will make your day better. I can tell you that there is peace in the morning.

As mothers, we lack feeling rested. We can sometimes miss the blessing of being a mom. We can forget that this is one of the highest callings any human can be given. You have to recharge each day. If you start the day in humble surrender to the Lord, giving Him all of you and your day, He will give you rest. He will give you wisdom and peace. He will grant you the strength to get through whatever you have to go through.

You have to start your day off on the right foot. This might mean waking up 30 minutes to an hour before you’re used to, or you really want to. Do it. It’s worth the sacrifice. Follow my Morning M.E.W.S. program.

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Taking Care of Yourself First.

I’ve already said it, but just in case it didn’t sink in, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burnout. There’s truly no point in trying if you are suffocating. You’ll begin to act in a way that is not honoring to G-d and will hurt yourself and those around you.

If you don’t take care of yourself first, then you can’t properly take care of anyone else. Imagine feeling burnt out like being a raggedy doll. If a doll has all the stuffing bursting out and seams missing it’s a bit useless as something to have fun with, the same image can be used for a worn-out mom. What fun can you have with your children or vice versa, if you’re literally dragging your feet and just trying to get through the day? How many precious moments do you miss existing that way?

Don’t you want to experience life? Then focus your gaze on the One who gives life and everything else will come into perfect 20/20 vision. You’ll be aware of things that others might miss, you’ll be able to enjoy life and you’ll have more peace.

Christian, Motherhood

Morning M.E.W.S.

The recipe to waking up fully aligned with the Holy Spirit and ready to get the work done. This is my personal morning routine, I do this before doing any sort of work. I’ll grab a cup of water, let the dog out and then get to work.

The Morning M.E.W.S., in my opinion, has helped my mental state tremendously. Let me give you a bit of my mental history before we get into the routine.

To say that I’ve always dealt with anxiety would be an extremely accurate statement, there have been many times that my mom would tell me she could feel my worry while in her womb. I remember being a small child and thinking of the worst possible outcomes for any situation and most of the time not being willing to try something out of the fear that something bad would happen. When I began driving I would constantly think about getting into a wreck. Teenage years were also when a fell into a deep depression, it was to the point of considering committing suicide and attempting a few times.

The depression consumed me. I didn’t talk with my parents about what I was feeling, so I mentally shutdown. I numbed myself out. I became an emotionally zombie. I hated feeling nothing, but I didn’t want to feel saddness and pain anymore so numb it was. This was when the Lord lead me to heavier music (underOath, As I Lay Dying, TDWP, etc.) and I credit this music to saving me from myself. It allowed me a voice and escape when I didn’t know what else to do. Slowly, I began to feel emotions again. I remember laughing for the first time in a long time and how joyful it felt.

For years, I still felt and struggled with depression and anxiety, but it wasn’t as strong as it had been in years past. My mom took me to the doctor to talk with her about my mental state and I was proscribed some anti-depressant. This medicine took me back to feeling numb. I absoultely hated how it made me feel nothing, so I stopped taking it. It wasn’t until I started working in the food industry that my anxiety really took ahold of me. I remember my boss coming to me and offering a “less stressful” positon, but the root of my problems wasn’t the job. It was life.

Years later, I’m married and we’re expecting Navarone. Knowing that I struggled with depression and anxiety before child, I felt it necessary to start the conversation with my ob/gyn early. I needed to have answers on what to do if I start noticing those feelings come up. She would check in with me, as would Dakota (my husband), and she would offer medication, if I wanted to take it. With my previous experience being on that medication, I didn’t want to take anything. I’m also a pretty holistic healing kind of person. I’d rather try home remedies, food and teas, before over the counter medication.

Navarone arrived and I felt joy, but a disconnect. I felt so out of my body. When we got home, I tried getting back into my morning routine, but it was a struggle. For the first few months, I wasn’t able to really connect with G-d in the way that I had known. One Wednesday, Dakota and I are back in my hometown, and I go visit our old church. It was the second wendesday of the month, which means the men and women separate into their respective ministries. This woman comes up to me and offers to hold Navarone while I worship and pray. After awhile, she asks how everything is going. I tell her my struggle with finding time to be with G-d. She says, “sometimes there are seasons where we have to learn a different way to study. You might need to just listen to the word, or worship songs.”

Thus, we get to the Morning M.E.W.S., before I start I must say that I am not affiliated with the apps I’ll be mentioning. I’ve used them for years, previous to starting this morning routine and adore them. With that, lets get started on the best morning routine for the busy mama who needs time with the Lord (and anyone else).

M is for Meditation

Meditation is not just a Buddhist practice. Mediation is not from the devil and it’s not evil. Did you know that we are instucted to mediation on G-d’s word? Meditation is a way to focus on one thing, it’s practicing mindfulness. In this step, I use the Abide Meditation app and I’ll listen to the daily meditation for 10-15 minutes. Now, in all transparency, I pay for the yearly subscription and I have for a couple of years now, so I can’t recall if you can listen to the longer mediation with the free account, but I know you’ll have either 2-5 minutes on the daily meditation. That’s really a good start for getting into this routine.

If you don’t want to use the app mentioned, then I would recommend finding a playlist on YouTube or something else to help you get in the habit of meditation being specific to meditating on the word of G-d.

With meditation, do everything you can to remove distractions from the room and your mind. Focus on what the speaker is saying about that day’s verse and commit to hearing from the Lord. He will speak to you each day, if you take the time to listen.

After listening to the meditation, I will then go into whatever devotional I’ve been studying. Usually using one from the YouVersion Bible app, but I do have several physical books that I’ll go through. This is important for you to take the time to actively read the word. To go in and study.

Growth comes from discipline.

E is for Expression

Expression is vocalizing all the G-d calls over you. I believe heavily in the power of words. I believe in speaking life and death over someone, something or some situation, so I try my hardest to be careful about the words that I choose to speak out. With expression, I choose to speak out who I’m called to me and I take the time to remind myself of my true identity, which is found in Christ.

I will say, again out loud, who I am to Him. Here’s how mine goes, feel free to create one that suits you or use this until you get the groove of it.

I am a daughter of the Most High G-d. I am the Head and not the Tail. I am anointed with the Holy oil of Heaven. I am a warrior in the army of the Kingdom of Heaven. I am called. I am more than a conquorer, I am an overcomer.

Once I’ve said all these things, I’ll take the time I need to truly feel these. Some days it’s difficult to feel like a warrior or anoited, but I’ll ask for the Holy Spirit to help me feel the strength I need.

W is for Writing

Once I’ve studied and spoken over myself, I’ll write. I’ll write out whatever is on my heart and mind. If it’s insecurities and fear, I’ll write out all that I’m feeling and then I’ll rewrite the story. I’ll do the work to see the Truth of a situation.

Next, I’ll write in my prayer jounal. I always start my morning prayers with thanksgiving. I thank G-d for another day, breath in my lungs and so on. Then I’ll express what I’ve been writing about to Him. All my fears, my insecurities and frustrations. I’m completely honest with how I’m feeling and what I’m needing from Him. I believe that He will honor that honesty and transparency. Truthfully, I feel a weight lifted off of me when I’m honest with Him about everything, even if it’s me being upset and angry with a situation. I always end with asking for His wisdom about the situation.

S is for Serving

Now that I’ve discipled myself and done the work to put my spirit in alignment with the Holy Spirit, I’m ready to do the most important and necessary part of the morning. I ready my mind, heart, spirit and body to be of service to those around me. I ask for the words and actions to speak and do for that day, then I simply do the work. For me, that’s writing on my blog, posting on Instagram and allowing my experiences and insight to help others. This also means that I do what’s necessary to take care of Navarone and Dakota, my husband.

That’s the Morning M.E.W.S., I promise if you do this every morning for a month, you’ll start to feel joy and peace. I won’t promise you that you will never struggle mentally again, if you don’t Praise G-d. If you do still struggle, praise G-d even still. I still have days where I battle mentally, but those days are fewer and fewer the longer I do this practice. Their duration is not nearly as long and the control depression and anxiety has over me has significantly weakened.