A couple of years ago, Joy had Sarah and me in stitches one afternoon when we picked her up after a morning spent working at our local MOPS group. She had just been assigned to the two-year-olds, a more challenging group than those she'd worked with previously.There were stories about all sorts of body fluids--specifically one little boy whose mom said he was being potty trained and who had been sent with no diapers--only underwear--and eventually cried, sobbed, screamed twice when he had accidents, and soused his clothes again and again, with Joy to clean it up. Joy was wondering if this was what most moms called "potty training." There were other stories about nose junk, bottom junk. sucking junk; kids sneezing on her, hitting each other, hitting her, screaming--and by the time we picked her up, she was exhausted!
"Did you go through all of this with us?" she asked, incredulous. "How did you make it???"
Told her I'm not really sure how I made it, but somehow muddled through. Also advised her just to be sure not to have ten two-year olds at once!
Life as a woman, mom, and wife can sometimes be gross, stressful, overwhelming, exhausting, boring and demanding on many levels. Sometimes moms feel guilty admitting the variety of feelings they have. Feelings are neutral--they neither define who we are or take away from our righteousness. They are just a reaction to the situation we are in.
I remember so many years when I just obeyed what I was supposed to do without feeling like doing it. Because I loved my children, I made decisions to cultivate what was best for them. Because I was committed to loving Clay (and God) I acted, as a choice of my will, in the best interest of Clay, by faith, not by feelings. As I look back, I am so glad that I learned to put one foot in front of the other, because usually my feelings would follow. I am grateful the Lord kept me going in the right direction by the convictions I held and followed. If I had followed all of my feelings, the results would have been disastrous.
But there are just times in life or parenting or mothering or marriage that seem overwhelming and too depleting to handle. A few years ago, Clay and I decided that when we got to this point, we needed to call a SOBeR Club meeting. It stands for:
SOBeR-Sick Of Being Responsible
There are times that we all just have to take a break! On our sober club nights, we always do something that we want to do that is just for us--sometimes we even ask friends to join us--go to dinner, a movie, a walk in the mountains, take a drive to see the city lights--music blaring, windows down--just cruising and trying to relax. We do something different--go away from the stress, from the kids. We do not talk about any of the problems or money or stress or ministry. We just relax, have fun, get away and lighten up.
With friends or my girls, SOBeR Club nights can include going to some fun cafe, buying something little or fun that I enjoy. Joy prepared a small package with a Warm Vanilla Sugar candle, lotion and perfume for me this week on the day of our meeting! Sarah bought me a piece of dark chocolate with almonds and suggested going somewhere for a massage, by stealing a few dollars from our little drawer where we put away dollar bills each month to have on "rainy" days.
The principle is similar to that of the Sabbath. Get away from the responsibilities. Go to a park when your kids are driving you nuts. Stop having school and go do something fun. Take a nap. Watch a movie instead of doing one more chore, buy some flowers when it is snowing for ten days straight--just shake things up a little. Life is still there tomorrow after the SOBeR club meeting, and after we've all blown off a little steam, we can then can face the responsibilities with a little bit fresher outlook.
SOBeR club met today after the flurry of the conferences. Tomorrow I will get back to responsibility--but tonight I am just going to go to sleep and snuggle up in my covers.