Guest Post: Abbey Cooler: Finding Balance

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Christmastime is a little frazzled isn’t it?  Lines are longer, traffic is more congested, seems like everyone is a little crankier, money is tighter (oh, but the credit cards)…my friend Abbey Cooler wrote a blog post about balance: especially for wives and mothers, but you can take the principles and use them no matter what stage of life you are in.  Be encouraged, friends.

Finding Balance

Laundry, dishes, meals, playgroups, date nights and time with family and do we maintain the balance? Who in scripture can we look to for direction and instruction?

Like many Christian women, I grew up in the church and grew up hearing about the great Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31:10-31). This seeming perfect woman has been drilled into my head. . I grew up going to Sunday School, choir, GA’s, Wednesday night supers and youth retreats. I was saved at the age of eight but I have been a Baptist since birth. Every year on Mother’s Day I heard messages on “her”. Every youth trip and college retreat I ever attended would have a “girls only” session, and we were given instruction on how to become the Proverbs 31 women. During my single days in my twenties I read every book that Lifeway or the Family Christian Bookstore carried on becoming the Proverbs 31 women. Then in 2006 I became a wife and in 2008 I became a mother. Then all my knowledge I had and all the plans I had made about being the perfect woman went out the window!

Before I had my daughter I always said that when I become a mother, my house will stay spotless, my child will follow every word of Babywise and I will NEVER leave the house without looking like I just walked out of an Ann Taylor catalogue. I was never going to be one of those “frumpy, stay at home moms”. Then I actually had a baby, who was premature, on a three hour feeding schedule, and who had gas, constipation and reflux! One afternoon I realized we were out of diapers and formula and I needed to run up to the local grocery store. I got dressed, got my daughter ready, and headed to Kroger! I took my time in the store, bought the formula and diapers, and went back out to my car. As I was about to pull out of the parking space, I looked in my review mirror. That is when I notice the dried sweet potato in my eye brow! So much for being the perfect, Proverbs 31 woman who has her life balanced and figured out!

After that embarrassing but funny incident at the local Kroger, I thought to myself, “It’s time to regroup”. How can I can I complete everything on my “to do list”, spend time with my friends, family, husband and child, and maintain a dynamic walk with the Lord. As I thought about and prayed about my “regroup”, three “P’s” came to my mind. Even though it has been eight years since I finished seminary I have a hard time giving an explanation without using three points (or four points in this case) and alliteration!

1. Plan: Plan meals, plan your grocery list, plan your days, plan when you will do housework, put plans on your calendar and plan ahead for all things unexpected. By making plans you can take the seemingly endless to do list that we all have in our lives, and break it down into smaller chunks of times, so we do not get overwhelmed. Like my mother always told me, “Plan your work and work your plan”!

2. People: It is so very important to maintain the relationships with those special people in your life. They are your family, friends, husband and children. Make time in your daily, weekly and monthly life in order to grow, nurture and invest in to these relationships. This can be a playgroup with friends, date night with your husband, or celebrating special occasions with family members.

3. Perspective: At the end of the day, have the right perspective. When your child is eighteen, graduates from high school and moves from under your roof, what will they remember? Will they remember your house being spotless, eating organic, homemade food for every meal, and their clothes always being perfectly pressed or will they remember that you loved them unconditionally and invested in their lives?

4. Pray: Above all, cover your family, friends, household, spouse, children, with prayer. God has commanded us to pray without ceasing. You can pray at each red light, over your children while they sleep, at mealtime with your family, and all throughout the day. By seeking God and His will first, everything else in your life will fall into place.

So while you and I continue to try and strive to become a well balance woman, like the the Proverbs 31 women, we need to give ourselves a break. It is okay to stop and have a cup of coffee and read a book during naptime instead of making, cleaning or picking up something. It is okay after a difficult day, to run by Little Caesars and pick up at $5 pizza. You and I need to remember that God’s grace is sufficient and we need to give ourselves some, each and every day!