There is something about this time of the year that no matter where I find myself in life the days resemble a freight train, all fast, big, and loud. While in school there were deadlines, papers, end of the year presentations, recitals, and programs. In my career there was much of the same except I was on the other side of the desk as a classroom teacher. Now as a mom of littles, there is homeschooling, church activities, performances, with birthdays, appointments, diaper changes, dirty laundry, and basic house maintenance to manage. The train keeps moving, and will move move faster, bigger, and louder as my kids get older and life gets even fuller.
I find it easy to allow my days to dictate my demeanor. If everything feels easy breezy, then my tone, attitude, and words are gentle and soft. I act less hurried when I feel at ease in my soul. But when I begin to feel overwhelmed, outnumbered (as I am), and depleted, especially at the end of a school year, I tend to be short-tempered, impatient, and unmotivated. And then I wonder where the peace went from my home.
It is often said that the mother sets the tone for her home. I think this is so, because I am living it. The days go by and even if the kids are moody, irritable, or misbehaving in some way, how I respond to the situation I am dealt on any given day sets the temperature for how the day will end. I’ve heard somewhere recently that the mother is in a way like a thermostat, gauging and changing the temperature in her home. I was reminded of this even this morning when I read in James that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). If we want peace in our homes, even in the midst of busyness, disciplinary issues, sickness, and personal life issues- when things don’t always feel peaceful, we must sow peace. We set the thermostat.
But how do we do this? I think it comes down to the heart of the mother. Sometimes managing the home seems like both a blessing and a burden. There are days when I say, “Wow, God, you did this! Thank you for my wonderful husband and children!” Then there are days when I say, “Can someone else be wife and mom today?” I have to step back and evaluate what is going on in my heart. Because in order to sow peace, I must be at peace.
How to Find Peace
- Daily Spiritual Filling. God’s Word and prayer are essential in the life of the believer, and are as much in the life of the Christian mother. Ephesians 2:14 reminds us that Christ, ” He himself is our peace.” The hymn, “The Solid Rock” comes to mind as well that “when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”
- Rest. We never seem to get enough sleep, but we need as much as we can muster. A nap, or a break in the afternoon with a good book, a cup of tea, a favorite podcast or a phone call with a friend may help to provide rest in the middle of a hectic day. Even 15 minutes is better than none. As a teacher I cherished that “planning period” when it was quiet and I could actually think, send an email, or finish grading papers. A natural break in the day is beneficial for all of us- moms are no exception!
- Fun. I think sometimes us moms play the martyr where we try to plan experiences for our kids, but forget ourselves. Just like the play dates, excursions, movie nights, and such that we calendar and organize for our kids, moms can plan fun for themselves too! Travis and I enjoy our date nights, and I try and meet up with a girlfriend once or twice a month as well. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or a terrible expense. A personal hobby like crafting, writing, running, or hiking can also be renewing in the daily grind of managing a home.
How to Sow Peace
- Rely on the God of Peace. Paul wrote, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Peace comes in the practicing. And the practicing is charged by the wisdom and work of the Spirit. When we rely on the God of peace in our stress, He comes in and fills our souls with His goodness and is a refuge for us.
- Change the temperature. Begin reading a fun picture book to a fussy toddler, play some favorite music, go outside, play a game, or get everyone busy with something that will occupy their time and energy so mom can get dinner made, make a phone call, or have a few moments of quiet. I used to resort to yelling (I still struggle with this), but I found that all I did was contribute to the noise instead of change the thermostat. I think I yell most when I feel out of control, but that always backfires on me because I lose control of my temper and the situation. So, moms have more say in the atmosphere of our homes than we may realize, we just have to acknowledge our place and find creative solutions to sow peace in those volatile moments.
- Make heart connections. One of my favorite times of the day is when I tuck the kids into bed and spend about 5 minutes reading and talking together. When the lights are off, I pray over them and get to hear their little hearts. Judson (2 yrs.) and I have little games we play like “Mr. Wormy” or we sing silly songs I make up as well as songs he requests like “My God is so Great” or “Down in my Heart.” He usually says “Night Mommy” as I walk out of the room- he’s the only one who does that. It’s sweet. One of my girls shares her fears about getting shots, or why she doesn’t want to do gymnastics anymore because she is afraid of pullovers. And I listen and tell her she is brave and being scared is normal. We giggle about silly stuff too and then pray and I tuck her in leaving with the door cracked halfway open- not closed, because that is her way. My other daughter and I have talks about events coming up, the details, what to wear, who will be there, and what is on the agenda for tomorrow. She is a planner and wants to be prepared. I pray with her and then tuck her in leaving the door almost shut because she likes it dark and quiet. I am not sure just yet because we are early in this gig, but I trust that if anything peace is being sown in their hearts in knowing that they have a mommy who loves them uniquely and equally who wants to hear their hearts without interruption or judgment. I pray to continually cultivate these connections in the years to come as they approach adolescence when the talks will become more complex in nature.
Regardless of how fast this season seems or what circumstances we may find ourselves in, peace is possible. It may not feel this way with the deadlines, meetings, programs, exams, and projects, but busyness does not have to steal our joy. We can be filled with God’s peace and sow His peace as we rely on Him in the midst of the battle. He is able to deliver and sustain us if we only surrender ourselves to His Spirit. We won’t do this perfectly, and He knows this about us- His grace is sufficient for us- but it’s in turning to Him time and again, day after day, that we will one day look back at a harvest of righteousness that was sown in peace as only God can give.