Keeping Your Soul Refreshed as a Mother

It is very easy to get over taxed and discouraged in the role of mothering when there are so many demands at your feet. Every morning our breakfast meal begins the cycle of madness with three little ones desperately hungry all at the same time. When will they be able to learn a little patience? Kids need to be dressed, fed, and changed multiple times throughout the day. I can easily fall into a spirit of moodiness and depression as I seek to juggle all the cares and needs around our home. When it does seem true that a mother’s work is never done from dawn to dust, how do you keep your soul encouraged and refreshed in this journey? How can we maintain joy in this beautiful journey of motherhood when it only seems like neediness is crying out at every corner?

Here are 10 little keys that I have found valuable to keep my spirits uplifted and strengthened in the Spirit. Even if I can practice just a few of these each week, it goes a long way to keeping me balanced and joyful:

1. Get up early. I know many will say this is impossible, but the value is incalculable. There is certainly grace to adapt as needed, but if all possible, try to get up early. This gives me the ability to spend some time with the Lord, start my day by getting dressed, and plan for the day before the little ones are up. Even just 30 minutes can make the biggest differences on my day. I’ve been through toughs seasons of insomnia, and many mornings when it was extremely difficult to wake up, but when I did, God’s mercy was so amazingly present to sustain me through the day.

2. Read the Word. Find a suitable time to be in the Word of God. Watering your soul is essential for keeping your head up, your spirit encouraged, and the beauty of God’s mission for you foremost. Find time in the morning, during naps, or before bedtime, whatever works best. Making time for spending with the Lord is one of the most important ways you can show love to your children. Why? Because then the Word will be ready on your lips to pour out truth and grace in the training and discipleship of your children. Your enthusiasm for the Word will be contagious.

3. Get outside. Even a quick 15 minutes of fresh air does wonders for the body and constitution. It gives me energy to finish the day well. Take a brisk morning walk before your husband leaves for work, or with the kids after naptime, or after dinner. When I start getting stressed, I try to stop, put the kids in the stroller and get outside as quickly as possible. ;) Use this time to pray, memorize Scripture, get down and observe the beauty of creation with your kids, or simply listen to the Word or sermons on your iPod or other device.

4. Take a regular retreat. Schedule a 2-3 hour block of time on a regular basis for a personal retreat. Find another mom that you could rotate childcare with, or schedule at a time when your husband could be home with the kiddos. Or don’t be afraid to hire a babysitter. For the last few months, during my husband’s crazy work schedule, I have been hiring a babysitter for a 3 hour period once a week. She helps with a little housecleaning and then plays with the kiddos for the remainder of the time. It has been worth every penny as it gives me opportunity to get outside and spend time alone with the Lord and do my intentional planning for the week.

5. Listen to the Word. The more you can get the truth of the gospel in your heart, the easier this daily journey will become. The Word is powerful to energize, encourage, and motivate our souls. It is powerful Sword to fight against the enemy who seeks to discourage us in our work, because he knows how powerful the ministry of a mother is in the growth and develop of these sweet souls entrusted to our care. Get a copy of the Bible on CD, or we love the dramatized Bible for listening to in the car. You can find most translations for free here. I also love to listen to sermons while I clean, do yardwork or gardening. Revive Our Hearts podcast (Biblical encouragement for women) or The Village Church are two of my favorites.

6. Memorize the Word with Your Kids. Memorizing the Bible can be difficult when you have multiple children, but it is a sweet and doable thing when done with your children. Read a Psalms to them every night before bed, recite the Lord’s Prayer or another passage each night at the dinner table, etc. and you will be amazed at how much you can memorize right alongside your kids through basic repetition.

7. Stay Close to Home. I’ve talked about this before, and it surely has been one of the most simple ways of keeping my soul refreshed rather than stressed. Keep those outside activities to once a week, or schedule them all on one day. So much more peaceful.

8. Start and End Your Day By Giving Thanks. Start your own thankfulness journal to record the little blessings that take place throughout your day. It has been a powerful means of keeping my soul joyful in the Lord.

9. Take 15 Minutes to Plan. Taking 15 minutes to plan at the beginning of your day or the night before can save you so much time and energy throughout the day. Make a simple list: one housecleaning task each day, one way to bless your kids, one way to serve or encourage your hubby, and 2-3 other miscellaneous tasks.

10. Get Rid of A Little Clutter Every Day. If you can move out a small pile of clutter each day it will keep your load more simple and give you sweet freedom from unnecessary burdens. Yes, throw it or add it to the goodwill pile. It’s worth it. It’s just a way to keep your home simple and clutter free which has a huge impact on your spirit. Declutter one drawer. One shelf. Or one mail pile. Ahh…

Are you feeling stretched beyond capacity? Remember that God’s grace is readily available to those who ask. May the Lord bless and encourage your sweet souls today! Know that He is the Lord and treasures the work that you do in your home. Let it be your worship to him today sisters! Depend upon His grace that is freely offered to you to sustain and lift you up. He is the giver of joy. He is the upholder of all things. He will be with you. Stay strong for your work is beautiful!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

41 Responses to Keeping Your Soul Refreshed as a Mother

  1. Allie July 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Whew. I needed to read this!! My hubby has been working long hours so, it his stay at home momma is exhausted. Spending time in gods presence has been one of the only ways for me to feel true rest, thanks again.,

    Allie

  2. Leah June 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Lindsay, love this post! Thank you for your suggestion about Revive Our Hearts! I have been devouring their archives of radio shows and have been so blessed! I had never heard of that ministry before and am so glad to have that resource!

  3. Noël McNeil June 13, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    This is a wonderful post and thank you for taking the time to write it. I already do a couple of the things on the list, but it is a wonderful reminder. Being a mother is a wonderful and tiring job, and it is so easy (too easy) to get bogged down and side tracked, and forget to step back and look at the big picture. Love your blog!

  4. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com June 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    These are such wonderful suggestions! Getting up early was always my stumbling block when my children were very young, and it wasn’t long before I noticed how much more stressful my days were if I didn’t make it a point to get out of bed and spend some time with my Bible on the deck. (Guess I was multi-tasking?)

    Although it’s certainly not anywhere near the priority of spending time in prayer and with the Bible, I’ve also learned that I absolutely MUST make my bed in the morning. It helps me accept that sleep time is over, and sets the tone for the rest of my day to thoughtfully care for our home.

  5. Jennifer Lyon June 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Thanks for Sharing! Your site is a blessing to me on a regular basis!!

  6. Tara June 11, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    So true. Great list.

  7. Julia June 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    This encouraged my mama heart very much this morning. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Becky June 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    I love this! I know it will be so helpful for me in the next few weeks/months as I figure out how to do this thing called mommyhood.

    Practically, how much getting up early will I be doing for the first few weeks that we are home from the hospital with our new member of our family??

    • Allegra June 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      As Lindsay says all the time, there is grace!!! Don’t feel like you have to be perfect. I know for me, I am a person who likes to be productive. I multi-task. I like to get things done. Becoming a mom forced me to stop and learn how to relax. Once I realized that I couldn’t go on even if I wanted to, I gave myself permission to rest. So especially during those first couple months… ENJOY your baby! Sleep whenever you can! Let the housework go. Only do what NEEDS to be done. That was the best advice I was given. I tried to do it all, and I ended up being stressed and grouchy :) As you get used to being a mom, you will start creating your routine.

    • Lindsay June 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Becky, the first two to three months after baby are months to simply enjoy the journey of adjusting into motherhood. You will spend a lot of time at time feeding baby, and you will have a lot of time in the day feeding baby. During this time, read your Bible while you nurse is a wonderful way to redeem the time. But yes, there is grace to adjust and relax and enjoy the process as well because there are a lot of hormones that kind of go crazy. Its most important to rest and bond with your baby during this time. But since you are sitting quite a bit, this is beautiful time to redeem in strengthening your soul.

      • Becky June 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

        thank you so much for the words of advice and encouragement. So needed!!

  9. Carrie June 10, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I would love to get up earlier then my girls but it rarely happens. My youngest wakes up at 5 am and honeslty I just can not see myself getting up at 4:30! My oldest has started sleeping in until 6:00 though. I Have the summer off from teaching and trying very hard to find a part time job but I am going to see if I can try to nap when the girls are napping on some days so I can get up a little earlier. I love being dressed and already for them in the morning!

  10. Olga @ Olga's Flavor Factory June 10, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Lindsay,
    What a great post! There are so many great ideas. Thank you for being so practical and down to earth. It is so important to make sure that my soul is refreshed at all times. In the midst of our very busy lives, it’s so easy to get caught up in the many responsibilities that we have and the never ending to-do lists. It seems like there is no time for a “soul refresher”, however, without it, everything else suffers immensely. Thank you for a great reminder.

  11. His Hands His Feet June 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Wonderful list that every momma should read and reread!

  12. Leesa June 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    @Lindsay- I thought of this when you mentioned the journal part. One thing I’ve done since day one, and I have three kids under the age of 5 so the time flies, is keeping a journal for each kid. It is very simple, it’s a Microsoft Word Document so it’s easy to type up. And if the kdis do something cute or adorable, they go some place special or make something, if they have a sad day or a really good day etc. I jot it down. If I can’t get to the computer, I’ll jot it down and post it on the cabinet.

    Now when I say journal I just type one or two sentences sometimes and it takes one minute that way journaling doesn’t become a burden. Every now and then I will look back to when my 4 1/2 YO son was a baby or a toddler and I will have totally forgotten the things he used to say or do and then that journal (sometimes the 2 or 3 sentences) bring back a room full of memories.

    My mother-in-law kept a journal for some of her 5 kids and she will read some of the stuff to us some days. Love it.

  13. Anja June 9, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you for always keeping it real Lindsay. You have blessed me so much over the last year since finding your website. Know that you have a sister in Christ on the other side of the world (South Africa!!) praying for you and relating to what you are going through! Thank you for portraying motherhood as a mission field and for the beautiful gift that it is. much love xxx

  14. Amy @ Heritage Homemaker June 9, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    What a wonderful post! One of the hardest things for me over the past few years is getting up early. The place we live is so tiny….and my son with autism has hears of a hawk! This has been impossible for me.

    BUT our new manufactured home is built (all custom picked by us…so gorgeous) and we should be in it in a few weeks. Our bedroom is at one end, the kids at the other. It is insulated beyond belief, so keeping noises down and letting him sleep when I am up should no longer be such a tough task.

    Be sure to head over to my blog, I will be posting photos when we move in!

  15. Mary June 9, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Those are great tips. All of my children are grown and have families of their own. I love the way you are including the Lord in all of your daily lives. That is the only way to get through each day. Another thing to do is stand back and watch your family at a distance. These are the things that I remember the most. Weather they are eating, talking to each other or even arguing with each other. Take that time to watch them grow. I hope you are doing well and I really do like reading your post form time to time because I include some of the things you suggest with my grandchildren.

  16. Leisha June 9, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Thank you for thisand so many other helpful, encouraging posts on your blog. I’m a new mom living in a tiny town in Tanzania, and I really appreciate that your advice is simple enough that I can follow it, even with my limited resources and opportunities. Be encouraged that your work is even reaching the other side of the world!

  17. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} June 9, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    As usual, great post, Lindsay! I love reading your posts about motherhood; I find them very encouraging.

  18. Karissa June 9, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    This post really encouraged me. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and life. These are such great and simple ways to “enjoy the journey.” The last month or so I’ve been trying to get in the habit of getting up earlier, and it’s really been a blessing. I was definitely one of those who used to say it was impossible, or at best, undesirable. But that has totally changed, now, and it really refreshes and calms my spirit! Thanks again!

  19. Kiki @Choosing to Cherish June 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Hi Lindsay, I’ve been following your blog for a few months and so blessed by your writing. Thank you for sharing. I LOVE this list. I made similar one before titled: when I need a little pick me up: http://chriskiki.blogspot.com/2011/03/when-i-need-little-pick-me-up.html
    taking a warm shower is one thing that I would add to the list :)

  20. Allegra June 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Thanks!! Great advice!

    You are right about getting up early! My baby used to be my alarm clock! I was waking up to the sound of her crying every single morning! But then I started getting up before her and even though I was tired I was less stressed, because I had uninterrupted time with God and I was able to plan my day… and actually get dressed! I also had insomnia. But when I started getting up early (and exercising!) I couldn’t wait to get in bed and by 10:30 pm I was fast asleep. And… a little while ago you wrote about cutting back on trips/play dates. I took your advice and now I only do play dates once or twice a month! I thought I HAD to get out of the house for my sanity and for my daughter, but it actually made me more stressed and it was preventing me from taking care of my home. It is stressfull when you are always out and about!!

  21. rachel g June 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Although, I don’t see myself getting up early. My kids all sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30, and I get to, too! SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. rachel g June 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Thanks, girl. I really needed to read this today! xo

  23. Melissa June 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Thank you, Lindsay – you continue to encourage me by getting me to pause and consider. It’s why yours is one of my “must read” blogs. Thank you.

  24. Alisha M. June 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Decluttering is an excellent point. Having less is really having more, not to mention provides more time. Reducing clutter means less to dust, less to vacuum under, less mess, less stuff to break and fret over, less stuff to keep organized

    It really is good for your mind and anxiety.

    • Allegra June 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      I totally agree!!

  25. Amy June 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I have exactly the same feeling about getting up early. It feels like taking a big, deep breath. And thanks for adding that you do it even when you are suffering from insomnia. That’s the time that I find it most difficult to continue. Did you do anything in particular to get rid of your insomnia? Thanks!

  26. Dana Adams June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Getting rid of clutter is definitely refreshing. I would agree with ‘get up early’ only if mama is getting to bed early. Moms need to be careful not to burn the candle at both ends:)

  27. Jennifer June 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Thank you so much Lindsay! I find so much encouragement and inspiration through your blog! It’s been such a blessing to me and my family!

  28. Katie June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Exactly what I needed…thank-you!

  29. Leesa June 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Lindsay- What dramatized audio version of the bible CD do you use in the car w/ your kids?

  30. Bethany June 8, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Thank you so much for your encouragement. The Lord has really used your blog in my life as a mother. This post has really ministered to me. Thanks!

  31. Emily June 8, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Lindsay, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to minister to women through this blog! I am a mother of 2 little girls that I get the joy to stay home with. Over the past 6 months, we have been moving towards an organic, whole foods household and I felt lost at sea until I discovered your blog! We love almost every recipe in your list and have added many to our monthly rotation. I’ve used several of your links to find out best products and sites to order from. I’ve used ideas with my girls for activities and ministry ideas for our family. I’ve even started making kefir and LOVE it! You have been such an encouragement to me as a mother striving to raise up Godly little girls and minister to my hubby daily. I wish you lived in the midwest because I’m convinced we’d be best friends! Thank you again so much for the effort you put into this blog. You are touching so many women and advancing God’s kindgom in so many ways! Bless you and your family and keep it up!

  32. Amy C. June 8, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Thanks so much for this.

  33. Lisa June 8, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    This refreshed me.. just reading these ideas! You are such an incredible blessing Lindsay! I’ve been asking the Lord for more of His Spirit in my life and less of me (impatient, quick to become frustrated, etc) and I feel like He gave me this verse yesterday as something to strive for. It’s from Galatians 6:7-9

    “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

    It was encouragment for me to sow the things of the Spirit; being in the Word, thinking on Him, memorizing Scripture and it’s all so in line with your post. :-)

  34. Rachel June 8, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Love this! So helpful, and very, very practical. Thanks Lindsay! I’m printing this post out to use as a reminder.

  35. Rachel O'Neill June 8, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Great advice, as always :) . I’ve found many of these tips very useful myself. I love listening to John Piper’s biographies while doing dishes or folding laundry, it is so encouraging to hear how the Lord has worked in the lives of saints in the past. Staying home is wonderful too! I find that I am way more exhausted after a few errands than when I’ve stayed home cleaning house all day. It’s incredible the drain that going out can have on your body and mind!