A mother who has a list of priorities and keeps them in order can save a family much grief, especially in times of great stress such as:
- A new baby or other addition to the family
- Job changes
- Family emergencies, such as fire, flood, death or illness
- Vacation and travel
- Schedule changes
Some of the things I do each day are unnecessary, others are essential. While changes and stresses can put a wrench in the best-laid plans, there are some areas that must not be neglected such as:
- Keeping in fellowship with God—Prayer, the Word and things like praise and worship are more important to me than eating!
- Keeping in touch with one’s spouse—No matter how many children I have, my relationship with my husband is still my most intimate, and it needs daily watering in order to stay healthy.
- Keeping in touch with one’s children—Even during times of rebellion or disobedience, my children need positive, personal input from their mother.
- Keeping everyone fed—While family members contribute from time-to time, the ultimate responsibility for feeding everyone is mine.
- Keeping everyone clean in a clean environment—Disorder and filth breeds depression, chaos, and disease.
- Dealing with health issues—Nutrition, remedies, medical attention and medicines must all be attended to.
- Taking care of business—Paying bills, maintaining appliances and household furnishings, maintaining communication with neighbors and relatives are all things that are important to the functioning of a family.
- Encouraging beauty and culture—Believe it or not, my family relies on me to add that little bit of “special” to each day, whether it be wildflowers in a vase, some classical music in the background, or a bit of sweetness at the end of a meal. Especially in times of distress, mothers need to keep a little bit of “sparkle” in the home. Of course, creating and atmosphere of praise and worship by playing and singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs making melody in your hearts unto the Lord,” Ephesians 5:19, makes all the difference!
A real-life example:
There are those emergencies that crop up suddenly, and this is where a good manager must think quickly and clearly.
A number of years ago one of our children was seriously injured in our house before it was completely built. She had stepped into an open heater vent and managed to shave the flesh from the back of her foot!
While the situation was shocking and potentially dire, I had to keep my wits about me; becoming hysterical would have only added stress to the situation and caused the injured child more harm. I had to think fast, I had to have a plan. The children were upset, of course, and they looked to me for direction. There was, blessedly, a certain order with which I had learned over the years to tackle situations like these. Here it is in a nutshell:
Assess the situation.
Of course the first we heard of the incident was screaming, so there was no way of knowing what had actually taken place without gathering more information. After calming everyone down, I began to ask questions, and then I examined my daughter. Seeing the extent of the injury struck fear in my heart, but I did not react, I prayed, we all prayed at that moment and all along the rest of the way…I am certain that without walking daily with God I would not have been able to handle the situation with such reserve.
Formulate a plan.
With prayer and a clear mind, I was able to begin to have a plan of action; stop the bleeding, wrap the wound (the house was empty and it was summertime, so there was nothing to wrap the injured foot in but my slip, just like in an old-fashioned cowboy movie), get everyone calmed down and informed, and put everyone into the van so that we could head to the emergency room.
Gather resources and put the plan into place.
While on the way to the ER I started ordering how the situation would be handled; I assigned older children to younger children, decided who would be with me in the ER, decided what would be prepared for dinner and designated who would be cooking and cleaning.
At the time I had a five month old infant whom I was nursing and a toddler and other small children at home, which meant the situation was quite complicated; the infant was with me throughout the ordeal at the hospital, so it was vital that an older sibling stay with me to help with many of the logistical details there, and Daddy needed helpers at home so that things could go on smoothly for the other younger children. Everyone, even the older children with jobs and outside plans, was more than willing to drop everything and help.
After the long wait and subsequent surgery, our little girl only needed an overnight stay in the hospital for observation until she could return home. Thankfully, our oldest daughter (19 at the time) lovingly volunteered, and so the younger child was comforted and watched after so that I could return home to care for the other smaller children and keep the household going.
This happened during a time when we were trying to sell our house and were dealing with chickenpox—oh, and we had 12 children living with us at the time–can you imagine?
Believe it or not, our lives did not fall apart. By God’s grace everything went smoothly; our daughter healed, our old house sold, and within two months we moved into the home of our prayers, with twice the living space, bedrooms, and bathrooms as before!
Our daughter today
Throughout the whole ordeal ordering our lives according to priorities kept chaos and stress to a minimum and helped us to not only survive, but thrive as a family.
What sorts of testimonies of God’s help with priorities have you experienced?