I don’t know if you’ve ever had a time when you felt panicked, but I have. My youngest son is disabled. With numerous overlapping issues, he’s severe. I was homeschooling him, and I saw intelligence despite his barriers. A series of events led us to seek complete testing. The idea of testing bothered me because I worried how well he could perform with the number of problems he had. In time found a neuro-psychiatrist who came highly recommended. The doctor administered test over a few days.
At last came our final appointment. My husband and I would meet with the doctor for test results and a final diagnosis. That was the scariest day. The diagnosis he received would impact him for the rest of his life.I can recall my heart pounding and my chest tightening at the thought of driving to the office. I survived by praising God. All day I sought the Lord. I praised him for the air conditioning in the car, the blue sky, the car, the fluffy clouds, the dress I had on, my favorite color. Those prayers kept me calm enough to hear what the doctor had to say.
Think about the words Paul wrote in Philippians four: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving make your request known to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Those words are easy to say. Doing it can be much harder.
Today I have Maureen Pratt. She’s written a book called, Don’t Panic, which teaches how to prepare for a crisis.
I raised five children, and I homeschooled all of them through high school. I lived through some very crazy days. With school responsibilities, I tended to put off some things until summer. Repotting my orchids always got bumped, even though I enjoyed the job. It waited.
One morning I worked on my orchids on my screened-in porch. I felt great that afternoon. So relaxed and peaceful. But I needed a tool I’d left inside, so I walked back into the kitchen to find water all over the floor. I looked up at the ceiling where a very large fluorescent light hung. I was one of those with four long bulbs. Water poured out of that light. That concerned me, but I hurried upstairs to the kid’s bathroom that sat just over the kitchen. Someone had closed and locked the door, so I got that little thingie you use to open it. Once inside, I found the water running and sink full of cleaning rags. The plug was closed so water couldn’t go down the drain. Instead, the overflow ran over onto the floor, which was about three inches deep in water.
I unstopped the sink so the water would stop sloshing over and then headed for something to sop up the excess. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang below me, and I went downstairs to investigate. My daughter stood looking up at the place where the kitchen light used to be. Now wires hung out of this big hole and more water poured through. Now I got nervous. Electrical cords and water didn’t work well together, so I wasn’t sure what to do. As I stood there, my son came up from the basement. He announced water was coming through the ceiling into the room we’d just completed down there. Water wouldn’t be good for the carpet, and at that moment, I had tons of water going everywhere.
I sat down and realized I didn’t feel old enough to handle this mess. Whenever I wasn’t sure what to do, I would call my husband. I called him, but he wasn’t there. I made several other phone calls, and I discovered no one stays at home on a Friday afternoon. No one. I knew the water upstairs was no longer running, so I thought we’d make an effort to clean up, but I couldn’t lift this huge light, even with the kids helping.
Now I know that what I needed was chocolate. My guest today is Michelle Medlock Adams. She and her mother shared a piece of chocolate whenever life got hard to handle. Michelle has a book called When Chocolate isn’t’ Enough. Since she’s the expert on when to use chocolate, and we’re going to get her wisdom for those busy days that fall apart.
Mother’s Day sounds like a day to celebrate, but many women don’t. Those who struggle with infertility or someone who just lost her mother or a child may long to ignore the festivities. I’ve even discovered some ladies plan activities, so they keep busy and forget. Maybe your child has strayed. Mother’s day hurts. If that describes you, my heart goes out to you.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help thinking about the importance of the job. The Apostle Paul spoke to Timothy, his son in the faith: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” As caregivers and nurturers, we have a tremendous impact on our children. Our careful mothering can ensure a child’s emotional and spiritual health while poor mothering can damage both. Scripture exhorts us to teach our children with a balance of love and discipline. Our efforts will lay the foundation for the child’s security and confidence. As it says in Deuteronomy, “teach them (God’s precepts) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by the enormity of the job. Each child in your home possesses a complex personality with unique needs. That child expects you to understand him and know his motives. That’s impossible, especially if you have more than one child. Add to that the day to day work of living, meals, overseeing physical growth, and monitoring emotional maturity. As a child grows, you have lessons, ball games, recitals, finals. Life goes by faster and there’s more to do.
I came to motherhood armed to do it right. I’d studied psychology in school and determined to avoid the pitfalls. Whew! I poured myself into the task and gave it my all. Unfortunately, I made plenty of mistakes, and I learned how much I needed God. I’m too small, but my heavenly father gives wisdom when I cry out to him.
Jane Rubietta shares her heart with us. She has just completed Heartbeat of a Mother. Listen in for Mother’s Day encouragement.
I could win an award for worry. Years ago, when I attended nursing school, we studied various diseases while learning how to care for each type patient. As I read over the symptoms, I would swallow hard and remember having all those things happen to me. I’d decide I had that particular disease. After worrying over every malady we studied, I saw the pattern and tried to stop.
But I didn’t stop worrying, especially during those early years of marriage. If my husband was a little late coming home from work, I would imagine him in a smashed up car on the side of the road. He’d be dead every time. And then I’d envision the police coming to my door. At times when he was very late, I would think about what I might wear to his funeral. By that time, my emotions would be so intense, that I’d lose it when he walked in the door. The worry turned to fury, and I wouldn’t want to talk to him.
It took me a long time to understand how my thoughts produced anxiety, but I finally learned to pray about my fears and think about good things. It’s still hard, even today. Like a dog licks his wounds, I want to focus on the part of life that’s not right.
Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Further along in the chapter, it says, “…whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I believe God put those verses there just for me. As I grow older, I’m learning more and more ways to handle stress the right way.
Today I have Debra Coty with me. She’s a delightfully funny lady who has written a book called Too Blessed to be Stressed. She’s going to share her heart with us so we can even chuckle a little as we let go of anxiety.
She has a cookbook, Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. This month her readers are competing in a contest to lose weight. You can learn more about Debora here.
Walking through the neighborhood during December offers a feast for the eyes. Lights twinkle everywhere, nativity sets grace the outdoors, lights sit in windows. Plus this year some people have an entire plastic garden of toys, complete with trains, Santas and moving figures. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even guilty because you don’t put out the energy that your neighbors expended.
I’m sure you all recall the story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. They were close friends of Jesus and he often stayed in their home. On one occasion Mary worked hard to prepare a meal for the master. She became annoyed that her sister wasn’t helping, and she requested Jesus to get her sister involved. His reply probably stunned her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Some of us feel like Mary during the holiday season when we’re supposed to be celebrating the Savior’s birth. Our lives become a mad dash, and we often forget why we’re supposed to be joyful. It’s so easy to be tense and irritable during this season of rejoicing.
Author and speaker, Jennifer Slattery is my guest this week. She had learned to live with chronic illness. and she’s going to give us some great ideas on remaining calm and focused.