Rest in the Season of Babies – I Cannot Do It All

As I write this, I have two sleeping babies. Both of my kids have gone down for naps, and for a brief moment (ten minutes? thirty? AN HOUR?) I have two sleeping children and the house is peaceful and quiet. I am both excited and overwhelmed by this time. Most of my brain is yelling: “GO! GO! GO! Get things done! Be productive! Move!” I stand still and my heart pounds, my mind racing, my hands trembling and I am OVERWHELMED by the to-do list – all the things I’m desperate to get done, jobs to finish, projects to start. So often, when I get this moment of peace I don’t use it as a moment of peace. I panic. Rushing around, trying to do ten things at once, inevitably being mid-task when someone wakes up and I wind up hungry, tired, and overwhelmed and another step behind with unfinished tasks behind me, and rested kids in front of me who are ready to go and who want Mama to go with them.

I was very sick during both of my pregnancies, which provided a humbling season of learning both to be taken care of by others, and to develop self care. So I try to remember to slow down. Eat something. Take a twenty minute (thirty minute? hour long?) nap. Shower. Brush my teeth. When someone wakes up, I might be mid-meal, mid-shampoo, mid-dream. I can stop and meet my body’s demands (nursing two means I need a lot of snacks!) but then what about my mental to-do list? I’m often left feeling overwhelmed by the undone tasks, the interruptions, the constant needs of my children, my home, my husband, my community, myself. I cannot do it all.

And that’s the crux of it. I cannot do it all. I want to, oh so badly! The mental picture I have of my perfect life doesn’t even come close to the reality some days. There is always some task undone, some need unmet. I cannot do it all.

When I sit for a minute, in that place, acknowledging that I cannot do it all, I hear the still small voice of God, the whisper in my heart that says ‘Peace’. I cannot do it all transforms from a criticism and condemnation to a blessing and benediction. ‘You cannot do it all.’ The words become freeing as I turn to the God who can do it all, who gives me the strength to do all I can do.

428 words later and I have two crying babies. I have not eaten or showered, picked up the toys or planned the meals for the week. All I have done is sat for a moment, written these words and pondered about the peace in the reality that I cannot do it all. As my husband soothes one child and I rock the other, our lunch growing cold on the table, I am more refreshed than if I had showered and more soothed than if I had crossed ten things off my list. Words of encouragement are whispered to me. Jehovah Jireh, my provider. My God is sufficient to meet all my needs. I can do all things through Christ, who is my strength. There is rest, even in the season of babies.

Where do you find peace, when you are overwhelmed? How do you hear the still small voice of God?

About Anne Grace Glenn

Anne Grace Glenn is wife to Rev. Coleman Glenn (a priest in the General Church of the New Jerusalem) and a mom of two. Raised in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, she spent her university years with Catholics and seriously considered becoming a nun and joining the Sisters of Life. She met Coleman at her brother’s wedding (he married a Swedenborgian (New Church) girl), and they spent their courtship 12,516 km/7,777 miles apart, which gave them lots of time to talk. Long theological discussions led Anne to investigate the claims of the New Church and the Writings for herself, and she has embraced them with her whole being. Anne Grace occasionally refers to herself as ‘denominationally challenged’ (she both enjoys the challenges of denominations and is challenged by them), and she has a heart for ecumenism. Her parents are missionaries with OMF (formerly CIM) serving in Singapore. Anne Grace has a BFA from York University with a double major in dance and East Asian history. She spent several years dancing professionally in Toronto, and a year volunteering for OMF in Singapore. In 2012 Anne Grace and Coleman were married in Canada and she moved to Dawson Creek, BC, where they served for 18 months before moving to Westville, South Africa. She has lived in Ontario, British Columbia, Japan, Singapore and South Africa, and embraces both being a TCK (Third-Culture-Kid) and raising TCKs.

4 thoughts on “Rest in the Season of Babies – I Cannot Do It All

  1. Thank you dear Anne. I feel as if I know you from Facebook and this post makes me love you still more. I wish I could come fold laundry or hold a baby for you as my season for babies is gone.

    1. Thank you, Lori. Facebook and your Marriage Moats help me feel I know you, too, and your Moats are often the source of moments of rest and peace in my days.

  2. I love the ways that you phrased those last paragraphs especially. It is amazing the peace that can come when the focus is right. When I can focus with gratitude on the wonder of getting to sit with my child or children – even if they are screaming – I do not have to be unhappy or impatient. I can be peaceful and loving. Not that I always get that, but when I can be in the right head space there is rest even in the chaos.

  3. I needed this. Thank you. Peace is a beautiful thing and it is so easy to drown it out with the to dos. Sometimes when I manage to do something fun, productive, and/or relaxing, I enjoy it in the moment but then feel guilty afterward, thinking that I should have done something even more productive or peaceful, like sleep. And then I have trouble sleeping because I am overwhelmed by the fact that I didn’t go to sleep sooner. Such a nasty cycle. Nice to be reminded about being at peace moment by moment. The hell can keep their pesky “should haves.”

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