Category Archives: Series

Stress Busters – Part 4

As we wrap up the stress busters series, I would like to consider a stress buster that ties in with stress buster 1, which was using a schedule. Have you ever had a nightmare that involved being back in school? Maybe it went a little like this: It was time for a test, but with a pounding heart you suddenly realized that you hadn’t studied for it. Maybe it wasn’t a dream. Perhaps that is what really happened when you were in school. Stress comes when we are unprepared or not keeping up. What is the antidote for that stress? Being consistent!

If you have consistent study habits—a set time and a set place and you actually study—you will be prepared for the test without feeling stressed. However, if you allow other activities and interruptions to steal away that study time, you will likely feel stress not only as you approach the test but also when you take it.

A Surprising Stress-Buster

Consistency eliminates stress by preparing us for what is ahead and keeping us from falling behind. That was one key to the success of Roald Amundsen, the famous explorer of arctic regions in the early 1900s, who was the first to reach the South Pole. Amundsen was consistent as he prepared for his expedition. In addition, while trekking overland toward the pole, he kept a consistent pace on good days. On bad days, if there was any possibility at all of forward movement, he started out and went whatever distance he could go, even if it wasn’t far.

In contrast, Robert Scott, Amundsen’s English competitor who was also trying to reach the South Pole, took cover in the bad weather and pushed too hard when the weather allowed travel, wearing his crew out. Amundsen’s commitment to covering at least a few miles on bad days and keeping to a reasonable pace for a reasonable distance on good days—consistency—added up over the course of his journey. It is a little like the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

Pretty much universally, moms like a clean, organized, well-managed home. As busy moms, we will find that being consistent in our housework means that we aren’t falling behind, we have a livable environment, and if guests drop by, we aren’t embarrassed—definite stress busters!

Chore consistency is demonstrated by a master chore list, chore assignments, and a chore schedule that is being utilized. Then we know what should be done, who will do it, and when it will be accomplished. If this is an area of need for you, we would recommend Managers of Their Chores, where we give you direction for setting up and implementing a successful chore plan.

Consistency in Homeschooling

Consider consistency in homeschooling for those who are homeschool moms. It is the mom who consistently tackles schoolwork day by day who reaches the end of the school year with school books completed and children who have progressed educationally, prepared for their standardized tests should those be required. It is the mom who isn’t consistent in her school time who will experience the stress involved in getting behind in school. That stress is a great discourager.

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). We see ants busily going about their acquisition of food and building their homes. They are consistently working away day by day, and even though they are very small, their consistency enables their survival.

There are many interruptions in our days—interruptions that can cause stress. However, if we see the importance of consistency, we continue to tackle those tasks that are before us, not allowing the interruptions to sidetrack us, or at least not to pull us away for long. When they do pull us off track, we aren’t stressed because we have had steady accomplishment and know we will be right back on track soon.

Consistency in sleep gives us one of the most important ingredients for stress resistance—energy! Something as simple as going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time every day allows you to get the sleep you need and to accomplish necessary tasks each morning without falling behind. If you don’t go to bed in time, then the morning arrives and you don’t want to get up, and you’re sluggish when you do. Instantly stress is a part of your day, before you even put your feet on the ground.

You might ask, What if the children are awake in the night, and I am up with them? I would suggest that for consistency at those times, you go ahead and get up at the usual time. Then plan to take a nap in the afternoon to make up for the lost nighttime sleep.

“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild it, he set his people to work. They tenaciously tackled first one part of the wall and then another because the people were willing to work. It is quite possible that consistency is closely tied to work. Perhaps most, if not all, consistency requires work.

What about us? Are we willing to work, or are we looking for ways to avoid it? Chores are work. Making meals is work. Laundry is work. Homeschooling is work. Even going to bed and getting up on time is a form of work—the work of self-discipline.

In the priorities the Lord has given to me, I want to be like Nehemiah or Amundsen—consistent. I am sure that consistency will be part of eliminating stress for me, and it will move me forward toward the goals I have. I like that idea, and I believe it is worth investing in consistency.

Stress Busters – Part 3

Stress is all around us. It mocks us when we try to do something on our computers, and it won’t work. It attacks us in difficult relationships. It pressures us when there seems to be too much to do. It confronts us when we face obstacles in life that appear unsolvable. What are we to do about all that stress?

Put Into Practice

In Part 2  we discussed the importance of God’s Word as we deal with stress. However, even if we read our Bibles eight hours a day, if we never practice anything we learn, stress could still be our taskmaster. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).  I can’t help but wonder if being a doer of the Word in regards to stress means being a woman of prayer. Here’s why I think that.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). If I were to put that first part in my own words, I might say, “Don’t let anything stress you. Instead lay those potentially stressful situations before the Lord in prayer!”

The antidote for stress is prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. Prayer is talking to God. Supplication is humbly asking Him for something. Thanksgiving is being grateful.

I had one goal for this week—to write the monthly Mom’s Corner—but here’s what happened. Monday we were preparing for a birthday. Two girls were gone helping a family who just had a baby, leaving me with a much larger portion of the preparation than I usually have. Tuesday I was catching up with e-mail because of Saturday’s Titus 2 prayer and fasting day. Wednesday and Thursday I had two very sick daughters with a stomach virus whom I was nursing while covering their part of the household work. That left Friday as the Mom’s Corner writing day. In the morning I had house cleaning to do, but the afternoon was available

Instead of sitting down at my computer when it was the right time and beginning the Mom’s Corner, I decided to quickly download an e-book Steve and I wanted to read together. When I went to download it, though, I couldn’t get it to work. As I spent more time fiddling with it, I began to feel stressed since I wasn’t moving on to my main goal of writing.

Danger of Avoiding Prayer

I will confess. I didn’t pray. I just kept pushing my efforts through while experiencing those stressful feelings. I wonder what would have happened if I had prayed. It might have gone like this: “Lord Jesus, You know that I really want to write the Mom’s Corner this afternoon, and I also would like to have this book ready for Steve and me to read tonight. I can’t get this book to download, and it is taking longer than I wanted it to take. Thank You, Jesus, for my computer. Thank You that I found the book as a free download. Would You please help me?”

I expect the Lord would have encouraged me to drop the book download and write the Mom’s Corner, going back to the download when the article was completed. After all, the Mom’s Corner was the priority. It is possible He might have directed me to the solution for the computer issue so I would have had the book available at bedtime when Steve and I read together for a little bit. At the least, I would have known that I was doing what He wanted me to do—praying. It would have made a difference in the way I experienced the stress. Instead, though, we often battle through the stress on our own, just like I did in this situation.

The Lord doesn’t want me to carry stress. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Do I really believe that? Do you? If I do, then I will give Him my cares through prayer.

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Did you ever wonder, when you come to that verse, how one prays without ceasing? We have discussed that as a family, and the more we learn about prayer, the more it appears the “praying without ceasing” is an attitude of prayer in everything. It is there when trying to download an e-book or write a Mom’s Corner. It is part of nursing sick loved ones. It undergirds decisions. It cries out for wisdom and grace when interacting with a grumbly, whining child.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Does perfect peace sound like the opposite of stressed to you? It sure does to me. I love that picture of a mom whose heart has perfect peace. I can just see her now. The house is full of children running here and there. She is in the midst of trying to get dinner on the table. The baby begins crying, but she has a sweet smile on her face because her heart has perfect peace. I desire that in my life, and I am sure you do as well. Sadly, in that situation, too often I know I had the furrows of a frown on my face as I stoically accomplished what needed to be done.

We stay our minds on God by praying. We pray because we trust that He cares for us and wants our cares cast on Him. We believe His Word. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

I doubt I will get it right every time, but I sure do like smiles better than frowns, peace better than anxiety, and praying better than stressing. “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Will you call on Him and experience the power that prayer has as a stress buster?

Stress Busters – Part 2

Stress manages to worm its way into our lives stealthily through daily living or by force when major events hit us. Either way, stress takes a toll—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My desire is to learn better and better how to eliminate, and properly respond to, potential stress. I think that’s your goal as well. The next stress buster I would like to consider is daily time reading the Bible.

Stress Answers for Moms

Do you believe that the answers and godly responses to the stressors in our lives come from God’s Word? “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). If this is true, why is it that we have such trouble being in the Word each day? I have struggled to be faithful in reading my Bible at times.

When Steve and I were saved just a couple of years after being married, we became solid church attenders—Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. We read our Bibles regularly, but we didn’t have a daily Bible-reading habit established in our lives.

I remember a few years later hearing a preacher teach on the importance of being in God’s Word every day. It was convicting, and I agreed with the Scriptures he used and the truth he presented. I desired that for my life. At the end of the message, with every head bowed and every eye closed, he wanted us to make a vow to read our Bibles every day for at least five minutes and then testify to that by raising our hands. I was not willing to make a vow because I thought I might not keep it. As the invitation lingered, I felt a bit of guilt that I wouldn’t make the vow and raise my hand, but I stuck with my decision.

Daily Time in God’s Word

Now, thirty years later, I can tell you that by God’s grace I have not missed a personal daily Bible time for twenty-five years. It wasn’t a vow that allowed that to happen but the reality of the vital connection the Word gives us with our Savior. First, I found that I simply desired fellowship with my Lord Jesus. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). Then I realized that if I were to become the woman God wanted me to be, I needed to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ. I had to crave the Word of God just as a baby craves milk. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Finally, Steve and I knew that we had to make up our minds to be in the Word every day. It had to become a non-negotiable part of our day. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Hit and miss didn’t work because it was simply too easy to make excuses to put it off to another day. Each day became a ping-pong debate of “Will I or won’t I?” with the resulting negative consequences of a day without spiritual feeding if the decision was that I wouldn’t.

In my busiest times of homeschooling plus being pregnant and having babies, it would have seemed reasonable not to have had personal, daily time in the Word. I found, though, that during those seasons I needed daily spiritual nourishment even more than at other times. It almost seemed a necessity for me to figure out ways to make daily Bible time a reality, and as I cried out to the Lord, He helped me.

It might not surprise you to know that we like using schedules at our house. We have a set time to get up in the morning that allows us thirty minutes of personal Bible-reading time. Sometimes life interferes with those normal schedules, but we still make a wake-up plan in order to have our time in the Word. If we get up later, time in the Word comes first and other parts of the day are skipped. Even if we have an extra-early event, we get up that much earlier to be able to be in the Word. For example, when we are in Colorado in the summer, we will usually climb a 14,000-foot peak or two. To be able to summit and get back down in the trees before the afternoon thunderstorms hit, we often have to be on the trail at 4:00 a.m. Since the trailhead generally isn’t close to our lodging, we might have an hour-long, or more, drive to it. That means we set our alarms to get up as early as 1:30 a.m. in order to have time in the Word and be ready for our hike before we leave.

Time Management Almost Creates Times

If you want to have time reading your Bible, but you really aren’t sure where to read or how to make that time practical and applicable to your life, then I would suggest reading Sweet Journey.

If you struggle with a schedule that will let you have Bible-reading time, I recommend Managers of Their Homes. Almost universally, when a mom puts together a schedule she carves out time to be in the Word. That schedule not only sets aside the time she needs but gives her accountablility and routine to make it sustainable.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). As I face my stressors, I need God’s blessing, strength, and grace. Do you?

Stress Busters – Part 1

Stress is a terrible taskmaster. Sometimes it can feel like it is crushing us, and we not only have an emotional response to it but also a physical response. I can’t help but wonder if those feelings aren’t triggers to remind us that the Lord doesn’t want us to bear burdens alone.

Stress Busters for Homeschool Moms

One of the most important stress-busters that the Lord has given to me is my schedule. Years ago when I was still having babies and homeschooling, the Lord began to teach me about scheduling. That schedule alleviated many stressors I faced on a daily basis. Those stressors are ones that most moms will have in their lives. A schedule is the Lord’s direction for using my time to accomplish the responsibilities He has given to me. When I am doing that, the stressors are disarmed and not effective in their bombardment of my emotions. Let me share with you a few recent examples of how a schedule helped relieve stress for moms.

Consider the stress of a newborn in the family. However, here is what a mom wrote to me when her baby was about 4 weeks old:

“Having a schedule already in place when Joseph was born has proved to be invaluable. Some days have been a struggle, but other days like today have been amazing! Today the house is tidy, the children have been on schedule—it feels great! I have tried to remain on the schedule as much as possible. I know that the benefits will continue to be reaped in the many months and years to come.”

Dealing with Stress and Physical Illness

Then there is the stress than comes when one is struggling with an illness. Another mom recently told me about how her schedule has helped her in the midst of her illness:

“The bedtime/waketime have helped me in so many ways. The main way is how I feel. Even though I still have adrenal fatigue, the tiredness during the day has lessened because my body is getting more regulated sleep and more sleep earlier at night. Also, since I have struggled with self-discipline for a long time, it feels so victorious to get up and go to bed at the same times and know how beneficial that is to have an organized, productive day. It certainly will help my health as well!”

Stress Buster for Being Away from Home

Perhaps you are facing stress from having to be away from home for one reason or another. Can a schedule be a stress-buster for this situation? This mom had pre-surgery appointments on Monday and Wednesday with surgery on Friday. Here is how her schedule relieved stress for her:

“On Monday and Wednesday the family carried on and worked hard and pretty much stayed on task. They knew what to do and did it! We are finally seeing some consistent productivity; I am so very pleased with where we are right now.”

Then there are the normal, everyday stressful events that busy moms face continually. For me, my schedule prevented much of that stress. Here is what one mom told me happened in her home after just four weeks on her schedule.

“Laundry is being kept up—clean clothes and towels every day.

The children have been consistently doing their chores.

The kitchen and kitchen sink are much cleaner more consistently, and I’ve noticed that directly affects my mood :).

We are saving money on house keepers that were coming in once a week.

I feel so much better about ministry as a wife, mother, and homemaker. I feel like I am finally honoring my husband and the Lord with my efforts in our home. I can only explain it as pure joy in my heart. 🙂

There is a peace in our home now.

Even our older children having been responding so well to the schedule.

After being on a schedule now for several weeks, it isn’t intimidating anymore. Before starting this I really felt like it was too big of a task, and I was worried about being too restricted in my life or tied to a schedule but it was just the opposite. I am experiencing so much more freedom by getting our daily tasks done, and one very nice benefit to that is feeling like I am doing the tasks that God has called me to do. It’s a wonderful feeling. 🙂

My husband told me that when he comes home and things are looking so good and dinner is being cooked and the children are NOT running wild, he feels loved, and he feels like I really care about him and our family. He confessed that before when he would walk into our home in complete chaos, he thought I didn’t care or maybe I had given up. I’m not sure if I had already told you this or not. He keeps mentioning things like this to me :). That made me so happy to hear. It also let me know just how much our previous chaotic life hurt him and our marriage.”

Managers of Their Homes

Scheduling Key to Stress-Busting

Isn’t that amazing? All she did was make and implement a schedule! I desire these kinds of outcomes in my home, and I believe you do too

A schedule is the key for many. Our book Managers of Their Homes will help you toward a schedule if you don’t already have one.

We are facing the beginning of a new year soon, and there is no better time to begin a schedule or make revisions to one that isn’t being used effectively. The days between Christmas and New Year’s often provide a few hours for a mom that aren’t as hectic as the earlier part of the holiday season or as full as normal daily life can be.

That would be the perfect opportunity to ask the Lord for His direction for your schedule. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Why battle stressors in your life when you can eliminate them? There are plenty of stressful things that we have no control over. A schedule, however, gives us a great amount of control over some major stressors in home life. Making a schedule is worth the time investment in order to gain the benefits it affords.