Saturday, March 24, 2007

Filling up

I love that the law of breast feeding goes like this: "The more one gives, the more one has to give--like milk in the breast."~Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It's a perfect introduction to motherhood. It's a perfect introduction to living as how Christ would have us live.

However, we givers can suffer burnout. There is no doubt. Like the mother nourishes herself to put quality milk in the breast, we must nourish our own selves to be able to give the ultimate spirtual and physical nourishment to our children.

I am not talking about the kind of mother who demands her "me time" in order to fill herself up. Demanding it will not bring satisfaction, only the unsatiable appetite for it.

Lindbergh, in Gift From The Sea questions, "If it is woman's function to give, she must be replenished too. But how?" Her answer is "Solitude". "Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day. That may seem out of reach to many women, including me, but I think it should remind us that we need to be filled up.

What fills you up? For me? Solitude, no interupptions for a time, time to think, time to write, time to read. A break from everyday schedules. If you can make time for it, do it. However, remember these are all fleeting. True filling comes in Christ.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1


Susanne said...

Excellent post Andrea! I love the sentence: "Demanding it will not bring satisfaction, only the unsatialble appetitie for it." That is so true.

And also so true that ultimately out true filling needs to come from Christ. Thanks for that reminder.

Tracy said...

Well said. My husband has traditionally taken our four children for an overnight away from home the week before we start homeschooling in the late summer. That didn't happen last year. I feel it, too. Amazig what just a little alone time can do for you!

But, also, as you say, it is Christ that fills us, and I am GLAD that I have my children to surround me every day.

Anna said...

Beautifully written Andrea...I love that you take time to write and share your thoughts here!

Katie said...

Hi, Andrea! I found your blog through Holly, I've been a closet reader for a short time, and I just had to comment on this post. I'm 22, been married a year and a half and we have a 5 month old daughter. My husband is so amazing. Since the day we brought our little girl home, he's gotten up in the middle of the nights with me (and often times even without me!), he takes her on short trips to see his mom in IN, while I stay home and "catch-up" or relax, he shares the baby duties pretty equally with me: feeding, changing, bathing, etc. He's so incredible and it makes my job as a wife and mom so much easier and more enjoyable! I encourage all husbands and wives to do this for one another, this game of give and take, even early in marriage, it's a blessing.

Amy Jane said...

A single mom I knew used the image of two pitchers-- she said her MO had been to "run to God" and fill them up, then run over and dump them out (ministry).

Her revelation came when she felt God telling her to pour with one while "catching" with the other, so she never ended up totally dry.

As to being alone a bit of every day-- I think that is not just for the benefit of the mother; I think it is also a skill that the children need to learn (i.e., being without Mother for a time).

Elise said...

Gosh - I think I need to read this book. It's been inspiring me - through you - lately!

What a picture of nourishment - it makes me want to be ever mindful of what I put in - not just food, either.

And thank you for the reminder that *me time* is not as necessary as *we time*, God and I.

Christine said...

So true. I learned this law when nursing my first. My milk production waned and I realized it was because I wasn't eating and drinking enough. It's the "put your mask on before you help others" idea. God made us that way on purpose! Thanks for your references to Anne Lindbergh. I've read that book but not for a while. (I'm also related to her waaaaayyyy back in my family tree!)

Beverly said...

This is a great post, Andrea. What fills me up? Our 6 month old daughter has been going to bed earlier these days. Just an extra hour with my husband in the evening, time to talk, plan and drink hot cider uninterrupted fills me up.

Thank you for posting this ... wonderful thoughts.

Tammy :):):) said...

Awesome thoughts! So many are feeling pulled between themselves and their families right now.
I'm hosting a new meme... come by and leave your link if you like!

AIMEE said...

I just blogged about the need for "sanctuary" and just read yours that is along the same lines!
I am going to go hunt down that book right now!

L.L. Barkat said...


when somebody else makes them just like I do. (whole wheat and all that jazz).

Okay, how's that for a little self-focused?

Katherine@Raising Five said...

This is so hard - I find myself feeling guilty for the very thing that gives me strength - taking time to be alone to read, pray and write. I needed to hear this and JUST DO IT!

goodlikeamedicine said...

sooo true. What fills me up is when I've had a day where I can rise early to sit at Jesus' feet, use the time wisely and get that day's chores done, and have a bit of energy at night to do something crafty.... and God is teaching me so much lately that he is filling me up by dropping my neighbors by my house who are lost, and in a roundabout way, that truly fills me up to know i am ministering to them through the daily life context

Jennifer said...

This is really lovely--I love the analogy to breastfeeding. However, I'm not sure if I understand the distinction between "demanding me-time" and making sure you get what "fills you up." I think that to an extent they are one and the same. I mean, I guess if one demanded "me time" weekly to shop and get her nails done and see movies, that she will never be satisfied, because I do agree that looking to the needs of self will only cause us to be more self-centered.

But I know that to be a good wife and mother, I DO need me-time. I am filled by making sure that I spend some time with friends, which could be in a playdate setting, or in Bible study when my little guy is in childcare or home with Dad. It could be that 2 hour chunk in the afternoon when I sort of am "alone" because daughter is at school and son is napping, depending on how I spend it. I choose to spend it on myself by reading or writing when I know I need it (sacrificing housework or other things for that chunk of time).

Andrea said...

My point was that demanding your "me time" whether it be getting your nails done or reading, can cause you to start to expect that you "need" that time, when really the one thing that can truly fill you is Christ. When you start relying on those things to fill you up and then they are not fulfilled because of certain circumstances, then you can become very focused on those "Things" that will fill you up, and not Christ. I know--I've done it. :)
thanks for allowing me to clarify--I hope you understand what I am saying.

We should, as mothers, try as best we can to carve out that time for ourselves. I agree, it is neccesary to make us work as a mother the best. But sometimes it is not possible. So, it's always important to realize that that is fleeting, and that Christ can only give true refreshment.

Ann Kroeker said...

I'm a little late jumping in, but I really love this post (you sucked me in right away by quoting from Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Pulling away from everything and everybody to be alone with God is key for me to be filled up. It was such a challenge in the years when the kids were younger, but life has improved in the solitude-department immensely now that we have kids of baby-sitting age.