At night, when my five little ones are finally settled upstairs in their rooms and last drinks of water have been fetched and last kisses been dispensed, I make my way down the stairs, headed for a recharge.
It has been a journey, this learning just how I nurture my spirit in the midst of the huge life God has called me to - life as a Mother. Mothers are the center of their homes in so many ways – we are the very heart. We are nurturers and love-givers. We are that soft spot deep in the center of the family where all can come for encouragement and restoration.
Yet so often we can forget to bolster our own center, forget to place a priority on the things that build us up and keep us fully equipped to do our job. For the good of the family, Mothers need to take care of themselves.
It has taken me years to peel back my own layers and find out what it is that gives me that rest. I’ve found the answer gradually, and was surprised at the simplicity of where the answer has led.
As a homeschooled child myself, my own Mother discovered that I was one who learned kinetically. I learned through doing and touching and handling. I loved ballet and learning new choreography, committing it to memory not by studying it, but by doing. As a grown Mama to my own little people, I am realizing that my kinetic tendencies extend beyond learning and right deep down into my very soul.
For this reason, when my children are tucked into their beds and the lamps turned out, I find something to do. Over the years I’ve grown more and more interested in knitting and sewing and baking – all things that I learn by doing and continue to challenge myself with.
I love the act of creating. As people created in the image of the Creator, humans have this tendency deeply ingrained in their DNA. For some it may be photography, or writing html code to make something amazing. For others it may be cooking or design. Writers paint word pictures and even a lawyer negotiating a settlement is creating something. For me, it happens to be a bit of handwork – knitting a sock or embroidery. Making a baby doll or sewing a quilt. And sometimes – just baking something.
Sometimes I choose something a bit more challenging, which requires intense concentration. At other times, I choose something mindless and easy, and while I am creating, listen to a book recording, or music, or “watch” a movie with my husband. Mostly, I enjoy the silence, a peaceful time ruminate on whatever comes to mind – time for my own internal thoughts and prayers.
There are days when I create right in the midst of homeschooling, with my little ones along for the ride, but I most cherish my quiet moments of working alone. That is truly where I find restoration for my Mama spirit.
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Lydia is a Homeschooling Mama to 5 (soon to be 6!) little ones in a small town in Michigan. She loves all things simple, beautiful, practical and homemade. Catch up with her at Small Town Simplicity.
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Here’s why I love to bake: You start with nothing – an idea, ingredients of possibility, a plan and hope. You slowly start to mix measure and pour, the transformation stirring with your spoon. And suddenly it starts to look and smell and taste alive – creation sticky in my hands, smeared between my fingers, streaked across my hair. The baker’s art takes patience, planning, careful watch of oven’s heat, directions’ time. Forgiveness, too – for cake that falls, deflated; recipes that failed to rise. Baking’s best as company affair: Sometimes I cook with children – grabbing cups and spoons to spill, enthusiasm trumped only by sugar. I sit and watch the wise work, too – laughing, telling stories while they bake with wrinkled hands, forearms strong from years of kneading dough. I ought to say that sharing is the best part – breaking loaf and offering steaming slice in love. But secretly I like to chew in silence: taste alone the crunch of crust, sink of teeth in softer middle’s heart. Because creation’s sweetest in still morning before the rest wake round me greeting day with yawn and groan. I love to feed their bellies, but I need to rise alone.