Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dear DILs- Give yourself a break!

To My Dear Daughter-in-Laws,

This week the message I have for you is one of grace, one of giving yourself a break.  I am writing this letter to you, much in part, to convince myself of this message as much as you since it an be a difficult one to accept for ourselves. 

Let me elaborate.  This week has been a long one. My husband (your father-in-law) has been out of town, I had to attend the memorial service for a friend's newborn baby who didn't make it, I had to host preschool co-op at my house yesterday, my car has been having strange issues all week (which of course has to happen when my husband is out of town), and to top it all off I found out last night that I have raging ear and sinus infections that make my head feel as though it is about to explode!  The boys (who are currently almost 4 and 10 months) have been waking up for all sorts of random reasons at night and I have been left utterly exhausted.

This morning by the time that we were already late for Friday School, no one was even dressed yet, and I walked into my room to find that R-Man had stripped my bed of all the bedding and pillows (again) to "help" me since he thought he had wet the bed (when in reality he had only peed in his diaper), I completely lost it!  Any semblance of reason I once possessed vanished, and I managed to exhibit every ungodly, unself-controlled characteristic that I have been working so hard to rid myself of.

It was a sad, sad moment that I came out of feeling like the worst mom and Christian in the world.  Especially after R-Man looked into my tear-streaked face, gave me a hug and said, "I'm sorry for taking all the covers off the bed mommy.  I love you."  Ugh- my heart broke.  He didn't mean to be bad, moreover, he was trying to be helpful.  Beyond even that he had (and seems to always have) a measure of grace I rarely have for people- including myself.  He is so quick to forgive.  Oh how I wish that I had his childlike grace!

The grace continued when I finally managed to arrive at Friday School (which is just at a generous friend's house, luckily, and not in a more structured environment) and each mama (a couple in particular) expressed their love and sympathy to me.  As I cried and recounted my week, and morning in particular, they hugged me and told me how much they could relate, and after some sweet time just hanging out with them and watching our children play, they insisted that I leave the boys and go have some time to myself (which didn't last long due to car problems, but the thought was there!).

So what is the point of all this?  What am I trying to tell you?  Having young kids is hard.  There will be times when things pile up so high and your responsibilities feel so insurmountable that you will feel like giving up, yet even that isn't an option because little people are depending on you for the simplest of needs.  There will be times that you scream and cry and feel like a total failure... but God is faithful.  He will give you the strength to do what is set before you, and if you don't have the strength He will place people around you to help you.  Look around you because you are sure to find family and friends (especially other moms, and of course, there's me!) who will be happy to help you- if you let them (which is often the hardest part).

Be kind to yourself.

Be gentle with yourself.

Give yourself a break, if from nothing else, than at least from expectations- yours and other people's (even if they are just perceived!).  I am sure we will talk about this much more over the years that I am writing to you, just promise me that you won't ever let what you think I think of you cause you any more stress because I obviously haven't always had it all together... and most likely still won't when you meet me (although hopefully it will be a bit more calm)!

Now, I just need to follow my own advice.  First though, I want to say a little prayer for you.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you so much for having my son's future wives in your mind even now.  I pray that you would prepare each them in particularly wonderful and unique ways to well suite each other in your perfect timing.
And Lord, I pray that when my daughter-in-laws are stressed and exhausted and have their hands full with little ones, that you would give them an extra measure of grace.  I pray that you would surround them with wonderful women who are close to you and would be an encouragement to their very soul.
Help me to be a help and not a hindrance to them.  Give me wisdom to encourage and assist them without giving them a heavier burden.  Help me to remember what these times are like so that I can be empathetic and compassionate.
And Lord, please help me prepare my sons to be sensitive to their wives in these times as well.  Please guide them to become the kind of men who take pride in helping their wives when they see their burden becoming overwhelming.  Help them be gentle and kind with them.  And please give all of them the time and the desire to sit at your feet often so that they can be fully equipped to do that which you have called them to. 
In Jesus Precious Name,

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