Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taking Care of Mom

Sometimes it's hard for moms to fit in time for themselves. I'm very blessed to have a husband who understands my need for a break every once in a while. This weekend I was able to escape for a wonderful ladies retreat, sponsored by another church in our area. It was chaotic trying to get out the door Friday afternoon, and I almost wished I didn't have to go. But once I was there I was so glad I made it. Besides enjoying the fellowship of other Christian women, I heard the most wonderful speaker, Susan Hunt. You may have heard of Susan -- I frequently see this book at homeschool conferences:

She's also well-known for her many books Biblical womanhood, which was the focus of our retreat. The ladies in my church used this book in a Bible study a few years ago:

And this is the book I picked up at the retreat this weekend. She does a marvelous job of explaining how Old Testament passages point to Christ, so I'm excited to use this book with my kids:

Something I'm keenly aware of is that not every mom can take the time to go off on a retreat for 24 hours. For some it might be because of work schedules or financial reasons. But for some it's because of the special needs of their kids. Many kids with autism are much more severely affected than Ryne, making it difficult to find babysitters that can be depended upon if the child has a tantrum or other serious problem. I subscribe to a local email group that includes a whole range of special needs families. In reading their stories, especially the ones who have children with severe physical hardships and medical conditions, I often wonder how they ever get out of the house.

Nevertheless, I believe it can be done. Moms can escape every once in a while. Parents can go out on a date. It is possible through prayer, and I have a personal story to illustrate. A couple of years after Marc and I were married I started attending Bible Study Fellowship, a weekly interdenominational Bible study that has classes for both women and men. BSF became a very important part of my life, especially once I became a leader. But once I started having children it became a challenge to keep attending BSF because they offer no child care for children under two years old. Sadly, many women drop out for this reason. I couldn't stand the thought of not being part of BSF, so Marc and I committed the issue to prayer. And it wasn't just us praying -- for almost 7 years BSF ladies prayed for my child care issues. It was especially difficult finding sitters while we lived in Chicago because we had no friends or family nearby. I needed childcare twice a week for Grace (once for my leader's meeting and once for the class day). On class days a former BSF leader came to my home to watch her (for free), but for leaders meetings I was often working week to week in finding someone. The week Grace turned 2 and was finally old enough to attend BSF, I made a list of all the sitters we used from the time Anna was born until that week. I can no longer find that list (this is one of those times when I really regret that I did not keep a journal), but I'm pretty sure the total number was in the 30's and may have even been in the 40's. The majority of the women I knew to be Christians, and they were all wonderful sitters. Not once in all that time did I have to miss because I couldn't find childcare. I was just floored at the extent of God's provision. It was a reminder that no problem is too big for God, and that He cares about the details of our lives.

If it seems impossible to take some time for yourself, commit it to prayer (I'd be happy to pray for your needs as well). And look to other Christians for help. Talk to your church leaders. In most cases they would love to help, but they are not aware of the need. Many churches are starting to reach out to special needs families, but they need to hear from us to know how to really help. I don't think it's selfish to take care of ourselves -- it's crucial for us to be effective mothers, wives, and daughters of God.


  1. Do you still go to a Day Women's class? Or do you now go to an Evening Women's class?

    Next year Joshua will be to old for the pre-school classes that the children attend. But Samuel will be old enough to go at last and I don't want him (and the girls in between) to miss out on the wonderful benefits. And myself of course! Unless we enrol Joshua in a school, I will need some form of child care for him, I think. I don't know that I can just drop him at a co-op and run off to BSF, although I do have friends who have tried that for a while.

    We have a lot to pray for in our family at the moment, not least this issue. I think we might be putting Joshua and possibly Anna in school next year and it is breaking my heart. I am having nightmares of tidal waves and being caught in mazes and everything! But I need to be submissive to my husband in this as with everything, and consider, as he puts it, myself as a Christian woman, wife and mother and not just Christian homeschooler, especially as he will be moving into church ministry for more days of the week next year. So please pray for me as well!

    Thanks for this encouraging post.

    ~ Sharon from Equip Academy

  2. Sharon,

    Sadly, I've not been in BSF for the last two years. For us, homeschooling meant no more BSF, but that was mostly due to the special needs of my son (I can't just drop him off at a co-op), the distance we'd have to travel to class, and Grace would probably end up on a waiting list anyway since I'm a BSF graduate. I miss it so much, and am very sad that Grace did not get to go through the whole children's program. But I was able to attend for over 10 years, my husband for 9 years, and all 3 of my kids were able to attend at least a little while. BSF has been such a blessing to our family, so I wouldn't be surprised if God draws me (us?) back someday.

    But that is not to say that homeschoolers can't still do BSF -- I know of at least one in the day class who did it for several years. My husband taught in the evening children's program for several years, and many of those kids were homeschooled.

    God will reveal His plans for your family in due time. I will certainly pray for you and your family. I love how you and your husband seem to really be thinking this through, and seeking to do His will. Whatever you decide, He will provide all you need.