Lessons from an Overworked Mom of Teenagers

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Being a single mom for many years, I prayed for the day my children would grow up.  I thought it meant I wouldn’t be needed anymore.  However, as I threw myself into my career over the last year and a half I look back and realize how much I missed just in the last 3 years with my daughter and all my children.

The other day we filled my middle child’s application to Texas A&M PATHS program.  Now, I have known since this child was born that this day would come.  However, since I have slowed down I realize how out of touch with my children I have become.  I have missed so many important moments in their lives.  She brought home her cap and gown order form.  This next weekend we do Sr. Pictures and I ask myself one question “Where did all our time go?”.

I look back and realize somewhere I was misinformed.  I thought once my children were old enough to care for themselves I wasn’t needed anymore.  Also, as the mother to a special needs child in the back of my mind I knew that raising a special needs child never stops. However, there comes a time I had to stop.  I had to stop because I was tired.  I was weary.  I could not do it by myself anymore.

Although I had relationships in the 14 years Lee and I were separated from one another, they were not fruitful relationships.  I still took care of me and mine all on my own.  However, as I look back now I realize where I didn’t take care of me.  Because I was alone I did everything for all three of my children 24/7.  I did not set boundaries.  I turned my back on God because of a disagreement and I was not fulfilled.  I thought things would fulfill me.  I thought this man who came into my life 3 years ago was the answer.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

But honestly, if I had looked up to God instead of around me for things I would have found my solace.  As parents we struggle with balance.  As a special needs parent, that balance is even harder to maintain.  You run and run and run.  You worry and you run some more.  You go from Dr. appt to dr. appt to therapy appts.  You are up late at night cleaning up messes.  You are up early in the morning fixing special meals.  You are given this precious special gift that God created for you and as much as you love him or her you get tired.  However, I now know it is okay to be tired!    I now know God is my refuge.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Psalms 46:1

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”  Psalm 18:32-36

For years, I felt guilty leaving my oldest and youngest however leaving my middle child was harder.  But because I did not take care of me I ran away.  I hid in my career for the last one and a half years.  It was my escape from dealing with life at home.  I ran away from the most important years in my daughter’s life and I am ashamed of what I did to her.  I abandoned all my children this last year. I am ashamed of what I had become running and hiding from my home and what I needed to deal with.

Two to three days a week I was in DFW.  Weekends I was in DFW.  Two to three days a week I was in Waco, Temple and/or Austin.  I left home at 5 or 6 am and got home anywhere from 2 -3 am or even 2-3 days.  I wore myself out to the point that over the last 3 weeks as I began to slow down I have been battling walking pneumonia.   All because I was too selfish to give it to God and let Him guide my ways.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

However, I have talked to many friends and we have all done this at some point.  We have to find the balance between being a parent, a child, a spouse, and being yourself.  It is not easy.  However, I am finding peace now as I transition to a more family friendly schedule.  I am finding this peace because of one simple fact–I give it all to God now.  He guides my ways not me or my children.

God has shown me that no matter how old my children are I am still mom.  I will never stop being mom no matter how old my children grow up to be in this life.  My 24 year old still needs me as much as my 13 year old needs me.  The needs are different, but I am still parenting.   I am sharing my faith more with them.  I am enjoying conversations with each child on their lives.  I actually talk to my middle daughter now about her day and it has made a significant much needed change in her life.

This weekend I did nothing.  I am tired.  I am weak. I am this way because I did it to myself.  I overbooked my schedule. I wore myself out!  I made my job my priority instead of God and family.  Learn from my mistakes.  God is first and your family is second and everything else follows.  This is why your quiet time is so important.  I know my best days start in the word with God.   If you are too busy for God and your family, you are too busy for anything else!

I am blessed with a family who forgives me for my mistakes.  I am blessed with a mom and dad who love me and help me and my children through anything we need.  I am blessed with three beautiful children and a very loving and supportive man.  And going forward, I will make sure they know how important they are to me.

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:5-8

Goodnight and God Bless,

A Blessed Woman

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