Friday, April 4, 2014

Times of Refreshment

"I need regular moments in my life... of refreshment and restoration that refill the spiritual well in my heart, which is too often left dry by the spirit-draining hustle and bustle of contemporary life.  If I don't care to keep it filled, I soon find I have no spiritual refreshment to give to those whom God has put into my life, especially my always-thirsty children.  When I let my well run dry, I am no longer able to be a source of refreshing water to them, or to others in my life.  To say it more simply, I cannot keep giving out without taking in."          
     -Sally Clarkson, Seasons of A Mother's Heart


When I was a teenager in my church youth group I remember many times hearing people say things like, "You don't always need to be taking in, you also need to be giving out."  During that time in my life when others were paying my bills, cooking my meals, I was involved in numerous extracurricular activities, spending lots of time with friends, going on dates, exercising daily, and going to Bible study after Bible study, I had plenty of time to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak up the knowledge and goodness of God.  I had to be intentional about "giving out," whether it be sharing the gospel with someone or serving others.  I also remember a Sunday School teacher describing our lives being like a sponge that is filled up with water.  She taught us that we need to not only soak up God's word but allow ourselves to be squeezed out sometimes and refreshing to others.

I think moms have the opposite problem.  WE ARE DRY!  We give, and give, and give, and then we give some more, and when there is nothing left to give we tear off a piece of the sponge and throw it in as well.  At least that's how I feel sometimes.  

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." -Psalm 42:1

I'm thirsty.  I need life.  I know the source.  But when?  (Said every mom who's ever lived!)

I thought I was busy before I had kids.  That is comical to me now.  I was busy, but I only had myself to carry around, and now I have three little ones attached to me at all times and getting places or accomplishing things is a little more difficult.  Don't get me wrong, I chose to have these three little ones and consider them a blessing and the source of much joy in my life!  My life is a dream come true in so many ways!  But children are hard work!  I have found that the first year of my babies lives are particularly demanding.  I nursed my first two babies for a year, and my third baby for the six months that she has been alive.  There is just something about nursing that drains me.  I literally feel like the life is being sucked out of me sometimes, and that continues after the first month of pain and mastitis and everything getting regulated.  Add that to the crazy hormones, irregular sleep, diaper changing, spoon feeding, and carrying around and that first year is just a doozy!

Times of spiritual refreshment have changed for me over the years.  My husband is a pastor which means we have countless opportunities to serve and minister to others.  Although Sundays shouldn't be our only time in the word or singing or praying, in the past, I always looked forward to the refreshment that I knew would come as I "didn't forsake the assembling together with other believers."  Sundays and Wednesdays for me now (and for the last 5 years), have involved being a single mom, pastor's wife, working in the children's ministry, or teaching a small child (or 3) how to sit still, be quiet, and listen to their father's sermon.  Not the most refreshing of times!  My plan is to get up before the children each morning and spend time reading my Bible and praying, and that happens some, but reality with three young children looks a little different than my plans many times.  So, sitting in my comfy chair with a cup of hot cocoa (I'm not a coffee drinker) having my quiet time OR being refreshed at church, is more like a fond memory in this season of my life.  I have had to find soul nourishment in more creative ways.

Everyone's situation is different, but the point is we all have to carve out time to "take in," especially when we are in a season of "giving out" so much.

In the midst of a lot of good things, I want to choose the best things.  I know that when I say "yes" to something I need to say "no" to other things.  That's the problem, I've always had a hard time saying "no."  I recently said "yes" to homeschooling.  Add that to my already FULL life (including that baby that I'm nursing) and I am exhausted!  I've been thinking for a while now that I need to SLOW DOWN.  And once again I have reached that point where I have no other choice.  I can always feel it coming.  When I get sick because my body is worn out, when I am weepy due to lack of sleep, when I am impatient with my kids, when I can't encourage others, when I have nothing left to give my husband, when I'm in a bad mood all the time and can't enjoy life.  That's when I reevaluate and cut some things out of our schedule and slowly start living again.  

So, if it's you I have to say "no" to in the near future, please don't be offended. 

Since I'm slowing down I thought I would take the time to write this and hopefully encourage others to slow down, evaluate what's most important, and focus on those things.  We can't do it all!  Everyone's situation is different and I'm NOT encouraging anyone to be lazy or selfish or to quit their responsibilities.  I still plan on working hard and being tired at the end of each day.  But I also know...

"I need regular moments in my life... of refreshment and restoration that refill the spiritual well in my heart, which is too often left dry by the spirit-draining hustle and bustle of contemporary life.  If I don't take care to keep it filled, I soon find I have no spiritual refreshment to give to those whom God has put into my life, especially my always thirsty children.  When I let my well run dry, I am no longer able to be a source of refreshing water to them, or to others in my life.  To say it more simply, I cannot keep giving out without taking in."

*What is the refreshment and restoration that the spiritual well in your life needs?
*Has your spirit been drained by the hustle and bustle of life?
*Do you have spiritual refreshment to give to those God has put in your life?  especially your children?
*Are you giving out more than you are taking in?


Banana Oat Waffles



There's nothing like a good, healthy waffle to start your morning off right.  Although, breakfast for dinner is a favorite around here as well.  We recently tried these waffles made with bananas, oats, and wheat flour.  This recipe is sweetened with applesauce instead of sugar, so I can feel good about making it for my family.  

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1.  Preheat waffle iron
2.  Mash the bananas in a bowl until they are smooth.
3.  Add the applesauce and eggs and whisk to combine.
4.  Stir in milk.
5.  Add the oats, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Stir until well combined.
6.  Pour batter in waffle iron and cook.

*Serve with syrup, bananas, or honey.