It is no secret that the move to Saudi has been hard. Prior to going back to the States in November I honestly didn't know how I was going to make it here another six months let alone the five years we wanted to be here. After our time home it is still hard, I still know that my strength and determination alone will not carry us through our time here and that this is all in His hands and we are dependent on Him daily but I feel like the time away from here lifted some big burdens off of me and taught me some important lessons.
One thing I have struggled with tremendously since arriving in Saudi is feeling a sense of uselessness. I felt unfulfilled in my role as a mom and a wife and felt like I wasn't being purposeful. I was discontent. I was a stay at home mom prior to coming so I struggled with understanding why this move all of the sudden made my job less important. For the first six months we were here I struggled with finding joy in folding laundry and making dinners or doing finger painting with Peyton. During our time in the States and being able to be away from the other challenges of living here, have more time to think, gain perspective and through wonderful conversations with different friends, God began to reveal how I needed to adjust my thinking.
Before we moved, although I was a stay at home mom, I was also a group leader for a small group and I served in our church. I felt like I was serving people around me like I was called to do. Then when we moved, I thought that the only way to be "successful" here would be to start a group, pour into my community daily and when that was not happening or when I realized it would take more time that I thought, instead of seeing how I was being used in the moment and how I had the opportunity to succeed differently, I got down.
What I was failing to see (and what I wish I realized long before now) was that my greatest mission, greatest job is serving my family. That this time in my life is to serve, pour into, encourage and teach my family more than I ever have before. We don't have a strong children's church like we did and it is my job to teach, show, demonstrate and engage my children in learning about their Savior. My job is to serve my family by doing all the seemingly unimportant chores. My ministry is my husband and supporting him, encouraging him and serving him so he can succeed at work.
I was starting to be convicted of this before we came back from holidays and then since we have been back it has been affirmed time and time again. I was reading a friends blog and she wrote about and article she wrote about the "Myth of ME Time...."
Me Time is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfying piece of junk psychology. Me Time, by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not who we truly are. It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of the titles of “wife” and “mother.” It accuses precious little ones and God-given spouses for suppressing us. It reduces motherhood to a disease in which little dirty faces and endless monotonous tasks slowly suck the life out of us. It says we can never be refreshed by spending time in the presence of those we care for day in and day out. It points out a perceived hole in our world that needs to be filled, a tank that must be refueled, a monster that will swallow us if we neglect to feed it Me Time.
You can read the full article here. I do think that "Me Time" is much needed whether you are a mom or a dad and it is an important part of doing my job as a mom well. Someone recently said that time away provides you with emotional resilience, it is like the lubricant for the gears and without it things start to grind together or break down. But what challenged me was how much of my focus during the day was on getting that time for myself and how I looked forward only to when John was home and I could get a break. I thought that I could only be fulfilled, recharge is when I was away. I failed to see how much joy and fulfillment can come from serving your kids, your family and your spouse by caring for them, providing meals for them, a clean house, cuddles and focused time on them.
The best way to capture everything that has been going on in my head is in the last couple of paragraphs of the article...
We must cease to see the role of wife and mother as a job we put aside at the end of the day. We must do our daily tasks cheerfully, as unto the Lord. We must learn to enjoy being home with our families. We must find contentment in serving others. We should spend more time drinking in the beauty of our children, searching their eyes, holding their hands, being Mom. When we do feel neglected or overworked, we must immediately seek the Lord to refresh us and keep us from sin.
There will be days when we are afforded opportunities to do things alone or with other women, but if we are content in our God-given role, we will no longer cling so tightly to these moments as the only way to save our sanity. Our need for Me Time will fade as we begin to see motherhood as a blessing not to be escaped, but embraced.