Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
September is the beginning of a new school year, a new season in life, yet it always comes with such mixed emotions. And this year in particular we find ourselves in such turmoil within our hearts, our cities, our country, our world. Apocalypse-esque floods in Houston, monsoon floods in South Asia, continued hurricanes and fires throughout our country; all in addition to all we see unravel in our personal lives and that of our family’s. Not to mention the financial burden of back-to-school supplies, clothes shopping and tuition for some. Or maybe being confronted with the new season of teenage changes and the teenage blues that come with it. No wonder it feels so overwhelming when we add the back-to-school schedules and activities.
Some of you might even find yourselves in the back-to-work reality for the first time since giving birth to your new baby. It all leaves very little room for dealing with our own emotions as we and our children enter a new season of life. Maybe your child is off to kindergarten or entering a graduation year and you've just dropped them off for their last first day of school.
They say children don't come with a manual and neither does motherhood. I received a lot of advice when my kids were born and into their preschool years. Sometimes even unsolicited advice from strangers at grocery stores. But no one ever told me how hard September would be. I find that every year I forget about the previous Fall and then find myself in this reality of complete exhaustion - still recovering from the summer months with my kids at home.
But not this year! I finally learned my lesson - oh the hard way. So today, sweet mom, I hope that these words might encourage you and lift you up wherever you find yourself on this spectrum of motherhood. Maybe you're the “I can't stop smiling mama” because your kids are in school or maybe you're the “I can't get into a groove right now” mama. But I bet one things for certain for all of us, we’re all feeling a little spiritually parched. Most Bible Studies and groups take a break in the summer and unfortunately so does our spiritual well-being. But there is hope!
When I vacation from reading His Word I realize that it is no vacation at all. Because true rest and peace comes from being in His Word, no matter where you are. Because even if you find yourself in the middle of the storm, your heart can be at peace because you are walking and talking with your Savior. Because even if you find yourself in the depths of disaster, when you rest your soul on His Truth, you can get up each morning and thank Him. Thank Him even in the loss.
So as this year's first day of school approached, this forgetful mama finally remembered what she already knew: remain in Him. Only then was I able, for the first time, to embrace the moment and be present for my kids not letting the otherwise crazy running around and scrambling to complete the "back-to-school to do" list saga get the best of me. I want God to get the best of me because then my kids and husband get the best "me." Not an anxious mama who doesn't know how to handle the moment she walks back into the house and reality strikes. Or the moment she walks back into the office and the painstaking reality that she dropped off her son or daughter at college hits her like a thousand needles piercing her heart. Then the regrets of what she failed to do.
So… pray, and pray some more. Become a prayerful mom who knows that she knows that she knows, that He will sustain her. Read Scripture. Read a verse, a chapter, a book in the Bible. Study His Word. The Bible is a mine with all kinds of goodness waiting for you to read to be replenished. And surround yourself with women who will encourage you when you need it most.
In His Hand,
Damaris Urizar Avila
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)
Open your home to women in need of encouragement, just like you. Walk alongside one another and pray for each other. Start a TEA Time (Totally Encouraging all the Time) Group where you lead women in a time of Biblically-based inspiration and encouraging words and facilitate open conversation about life and personal struggles. There’s something so powerful about women encouraging women and then praying for one another throughout the week. I’d be happy to share more with you. Just send me a message on the contact page.
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."