Monday, January 20, 2020

Goals and Routines: What Works for Sarah

Sarah shares what is working for her in a new season of life. 

This is a relevant subject to me. I’ve been thinking about it lately—our family is entering a new (and wonderful) stage. My “baby” is two years old, and my oldest daughter is becoming a responsible young lady. That means I have more freedom, besides someone who can go ahead with housework even when I’m doing something else. However, the two oldest do youth activities now, so my schedule sometimes needs to become one that accommodates theirs.
Along with a new stage comes a new kind of busyness, new joys, new challenges. I like to think I’m the kind of person whose motto is, “Wherever you are, be all there.” So I try to live in the moment, and I look forward to the unfolding of this new stage in much the same way as I looked forward to watching my firstborn’s developments as he grew. Life is an adventure. I can tell already that I will love this stage. I love the fact that the older children are becoming less like dependents and more like friends. I love not having a tiny baby and a huge diaper bag to haul around wherever I go.
Goals and routines have several specific names to me: personal relationship with God, building quality relationships with each individual personality among my children, and writing life. Hopefully, in that order.
My personal relationship with God, of course, is kept up by regular personal worship. Most of my mothering life, it has worked for me to have my devotions first thing in the morning, unless a baby was unusually uncooperative, in which case I tried to make sure it happened sometime during the  day. I love the verse that says God “will gently lead those that are with young.” He has given us these precious, unpredictable, demanding, marvelous souls, and He understands the demands on a mother’s time. So I know He understood about the days when my personal devotions just didn’t happen. However, I also know that when I skip my devotions, it is I that suffers, not God. What I like about this stage is that I have more freedom and empty arms to keep a notebook with my Bible and copy the Bible as I read it. I have been doing this for several months now, and I love how it forces me to really think about what I’m reading.
As the children grow and change, so do their needs. Right now, my biggest concern is that I’m somehow missing it with connecting to the hearts of my “middle children.” Actually, that has been a niggling fear ever since I got to the stage where we had a “middle child.” The older children become people in their own right, secure in their place as “the oldest ones.” The little ones are dependent and cute, and obviously need Mom. The middle children—well, they’re a part of the family, but they get caught between criticism from the older ones and Mom assuming that they can pretty much take care of themselves. Do I see their needs? Are they important enough to me that I’m willing to be intentional about meeting them?
My writing life is a rather new development for me, and the one I’m still grappling with the most to fit it in in ways that are healthy. In the afternoons when the scholars are gone and the little ones are sleeping, I have a quiet hour or two that I try to use wisely. Sometimes I read, and sometimes I write. Last spring, when I had lots of sewing to do, yet badly wanted to keep my tryst with the computer, plus had a long list of books I wanted to read and too little time to read, besides wanting to shed a few extra pounds, I made it a point to do at least some of each every day. I have a planner, which I use much like a bullet journal, and for several weeks, I had a list—sew, read, write, exercise. I made a check beside each thing for every day when I made it happen, whether it was five minutes or ninety. 
When the children wake up, or arrive home from school, or come in from outside, I try to meet them with eye contact and actually hearing them when they talk. I try not to let computer time compromise our sacred tradition of reading aloud for awhile before they go to bed.
I pray about each of these things a lot. God cares about my relationship with Him, my connections with those closest to my heart, and my writing bringing Him glory without compromising what’s most important.
-Sarah J. Martin - Ontario

1 comment :

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