A Prayer for the Mama with Two Under Two

DD turns two today. It’s a bittersweet thing to be leaving the two-under-two club, though I think that it’s a club where once you’re a member, you’re always a member. For all those Mama’s who still have days or months left with two under two, you are in my prayers. You have a special place in my heart because I feel your joy and know so well the challenges you face day in and day out. I’ve been there and the struggle is real; but it’s also a beautiful place. This is my prayer for you:

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Lord, please bless this Mama who is raising two, beautiful babies for You.

You have deemed her worthy of such a role; You have gifted her these two blessings and therefore You will also give her the grace necessary to face each waking moment.

Fill her with your joy.

Fill her with your peace.

Fill her with your patience.

Grant her the love, kindness, gentleness and understanding she needs, both for her babies and also for herself.

Strengthen her, energize her and help her see the beauty in each day with her little ones.

Bless her with the sleep she needs.

Bless her with quiet waking moments to rest, to care for herself and to recharge.

Bless her and her family with good health always, but especially during this season.

Even though her life is moving so fast and is passing in a blur, help her to slow down and notice each baby smile, to appreciate each little giggle because as hard as it might be to remember in this season, babies don’t keep.

Help her to enjoy her two under two; if that is hard for her, teach her how to enjoy this season.

You are her help, Lord.  Send her family, friends and babysitters to support her and encourage her.

Bless her marriage and her spouse; help them to cleave to one another during this time, to support one another and to meet each others needs.  Protect them from evil influences and temptations always, but especially during this season.

Pour out Your love and help on this Mama, Lord, so that she is full of every necessary grace and can therefore turn and pour out all good things on her family.  Amen.

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Mama, this prayer is my parting gift to you. May it bless you and strengthen you. You are in my heart, you are in God’s heart and you are fulfilling His divine work. I marvel at the generous love you pour out on your family each day. You are a true warrior, a hero to your babies. And don’t you ever forget that.

SELF-CARE SELF-ASSESSMENT FOR BUSY MOMS

Before becoming a mom of two under two, I had never even heard of the term “self-care.”

Before babies, I also never had to be intentional about looking after my own needs—I just got around to them when I got around to them.  No big deal. But when you have a baby (or two) it’s easy to keep putting your needs aside over and over again…and never getting around to addressing them. This became a serious problem for me when I had two back-to-back babies, especially because I suffered from postpartum depression. For me self-care has become an essential part of being a good mom—it’s what’s keeps me energized and happy.

In Matthew Kelly’s book Building Better Families(pg. 77), Kelly addresses four legitimate needs that we all have.  These needs are essential to any person being able to thrive in life. I have used these needs as a roadmap to assess and address my wellbeing each day.

Your turn for a self-assessment. For each of the categories below, ask yourself: “Am I getting…?

Physical Needs

√ Regular Exercise

√ Balanced Diet

√ Sufficient Sleep

Emotional Needs

√ Opportunities to love and be loved

√ Carefree time with children and spouse (playtime)

Intellectual Needs

√ Opportunities to stimulate and nourish your mind

Spiritual Needs

√ Silence and Solitude

The way you meet these needs might be slightly different from the way I meet my needs.  For example, to meet my Spiritual Needs I make time to read the Bible and my daily devotional every morning before the kiddos wake up.

My husband and I have also had to work together to find ways for me to have my Intellectual Needs met. In this season, unless I make time to read and write (which often is only possible when someone else is babysitting) it doesn’t happen.

How are you doing? In which areas are you struggling? Is there a way you can be more intentional with your time, so that you can be sure these essential needs of yours are being met?

Finding Hope in the Midst of Postpartum Depression

ppd_hopeFor the past few days I’ve felt like I have been slipping back down into the deep, black pit of postpartum depression.  That’s how it always goes for me: I slowly start loosing more and more of my joy, of my hope.  In the place of joy and hope, my heart begins to fill with pain (literally, I can press a hand on my chest and ease the ache).  Next comes the feeling of being weighted down, as if my blood has been replaced by lead.  My thoughts get lost in mental fog, and every task—down to changing the last dirty diaper—becomes so. incredibly. difficult. to. accomplish.

Yesterday morning I began my prayer time by writing a note in my prayer journal begging Jesus to “remove this cup [of depression] from Me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus responded to me right away in my readings, first in my daily devotional: “If you have hope, this will make you cheerful.” (J. Escriva, Friends of God, 76).

Yes, I thought to myself, this is true: I have experienced this for myself recently.  We are moving back to my hometown next year and will live near family again (currently we live on the other side of the country from family).  I have been so excited about this move, about buying a house and about settling down.  I have had so much HOPE lately for the future, but yesterday morning that hope was not enough to make my soul cheerful.

That is when Jesus gently directed my thoughts to this verse: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” (Heb 6:19).

I struggled to find the meaning of what the Lord was telling me.  The hope in our new home that had buoyed me just days before had faded and my soul did not feel anchored.

Finally, the Lord gently reprimanded me, saying “set your HOPE on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col 3:2).

A light turned on for me: I realized that the excitement—the hope—I had been feeling about our future house was good, but that it had blinded me. If I was so hopeful for my future earth house, how much more hope I should have for an eternal home with God in Heaven!  How much more glorious will my Heavenly home be than any home I could ever find on Earth!

I realized I have been placing my hope in earthly things; I have idolized these things and that is why hope has not been a sturdy anchor for me.  I do believe that my depression is a mental illness that needs to be medicated; however, I also believe that focusing my hope on things above—God & Heaven—will provide me with that steadfast anchor.

peace-be-with-youlove