Previous posts in the Large Family Logistics series:
- Interview with author Kim Brenneman
- Laying the Foundation: Goals and Self-discipline
- Managing Your Week
- Managing Your Day
Since I’ve been struggling with exhaustion (thank you for your prayers, information and encouragement), these appendices in Large Family Logistics were encouraging and applicable to me. This is where Kim offers some practical tips for keeping on and digging out.
Coping While Exhausted
Kim offers some wonderful and practical tips for keeping on when you don’t feel like it, but honestly it all boils down (and it always boils down) to who you are serving.
If I’m trying to live up to my standards or my goals, being exhausted just isn’t going to work, because serving self never does. I want nice things, nice kids, beauty and order. I want my home to be clean, my children to be well educated (or at least smarter than my neighbor’s kids), delicious and healthy meals, clean laundry and peace and quiet. I don’t want snotty noses, learning difficulties, complaining, dirt, clutter or chaos. If I’m serving myself it will never be enough and I’m going to be disappointed and frustrated no matter how much energy I have. Throw into the mix the fact that I’m tired from the moment that I wake in the morning and we really have a disaster.
Unless I fix my eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of my faith I will fail, I must fail, because my calling isn’t to flail after my shallow, selfish standard. My calling is to serve Jesus with the strength that He gives.
With the strength that He gives.
My gracious God doesn’t ask me to serve Him with something that He hasn’t provided.
For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. 1 Chron. 29:14b
and He doesn’t have a pie in the sky standard which I must attain.
It is not an accident that I’m exhausted. It is not an accident that you are struggling with morning sickness or have four babies under 3. It is for our good (Rom. 8:28). It is in the midst of these circumstances that He is glorified by our obedience (2 Cor. 12:9).
He gives me life, gives me strength and then asks that with that life, with that strength I serve Him.
And me? I complain about dirt and snot.
What is the answer? How do I serve Him with the strength He’s given?
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus.
Pray and turn to Him for strength.
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 1 Chron. 29:12
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13
Be faithful to read His Word every day. When I have too much to do then I know that I must not neglect to read my Bible and take the time to pray. It seems counter-intuitive, but that’s simply because we don’t really believe Matthew 6:33 (quoted above).
Read the Bible every single day. Read it aloud to your children. Read one Psalm and one Proverb to them daily. Memorize verses from both together…read from all over the Bible.
Exemplify Kindness and Love
Did the kid’s spill milk into the computer? Smash play dough into the carpet? My natural reaction is to look at this as a hindrance to achieving my goal, rather than a step toward my goal. This is an opportunity for me to learn the greatest love, to lay down my life (my time, my goal, my computer, my carpet) for my kids.
Little children in particular need so much love. They thrive on praise, they crave physical touch, and they love to do things with Mama. Make sure that your children have plenty of love to balance any chastisement that they receive.
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her moth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness in on her tongue.
Simplify and Streamline
Remember who you are serving, consider the goal and cut out whatever is unnecessary.
We recently simplified our children’s clothing down to three outfits each. Despite some of the critical feedback (Are you kidding me?), my children have each thanked me as I’ve handed them their small pile of clothes. Children thrive on love, time and praise, not on a closet full of name brand clothing.
I love clean, believe me: I think it is a natural God-given womanly attribute to clean. But sometimes we have to let go a bit. Some things in life are more important than clean. Some things in life are more important than organization.
Moving Beyond Survival Mode
In Appendix B, Kim gives step-by-step instructions for moving out of chaos and getting a plan in place. It’s the quick start guide to Large Family Logistics.
Be sure to visit the other Moms of Many to read what they have to say about this last segment of Kim’s book:
Now it’s your turn, I’d love to hear how you keep going when the going gets tough.
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