On Monday morning I woke up still feeling exhausted despite eight hours sleep. As many parents of children with special needs will confess, breaks and weekends are not really a time to relax. For those of us with school-age children often Monday morning can’t come soon enough. Before you think me a horrible mom, I want you to know I love both my sons, age 18 and 13, dearly.
It’s just that my 13-year- old, Luke, needs constant supervision and help which is both physically and emotionally taxing.
Ever been like me: running on zero energy and wondering how you will get everything done and keep up with the caregiving your children require?
It’s counterintuitive when our to-do list is running off the page but the first thing I’ve found to do is to put the list aside for even 20 minutes and get outside to decompress and pray. I have a spot I love to go after Luke’s bus comes; even if I only have a few minutes. I live near a river and the sound of the water going over the dam relaxes me and helps me pray.
Secondly, getting by the river provides time to walk. As my twice-a day-working-out husband will tell you, I’m not big on exercise. This drives him a bit nutty! But going for a short walk outside is something I can do.
The other thing which helps is to remember God’s love and care for us.
Psalm 23 is one of my go to places in scripture when I’m tired. I imagine the Lord saying this to each of us who are caretakers:
“I know that you are tired and weary. Being a caretaker is hard work that doesn’t end. But did you know that I am your caretaker? I am the Lord over ALL and I take care of you. I am your good shepherd. My Word says that I make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside quiet waters. Have you been letting Me refresh you and take care of you even as you work to take care of the special one(s) I have given you? Even a couple minutes of being still in My presence will remind you that I love you and that I have your back.”
As we lean on Him and remember verses from the Bible He renews us and helps us take care of our children and check off some of tasks on our to-do list. But more importantly we are reminded that he carries everything on His shoulders so we don’t have to.
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