I asked other special-needs moms what their New Year's resolutions are. Here's what they said.
- Potty training my son.
- Hearing my boys speak.
- Having hope.
- Decreasing my anxiety.
- Losing weight.
- Going back to school.
- Embracing my reality.
- Working out each day.
- Having more motivation.
- Getting a new job that pays more.
- Finding respite care.
- Praying more.
- Finding a church we can attend as a family.
- Eating better.
- Having a better relationship with extended family members.
- Understanding my child's needs better.
- Staying in good health.
- Helping my daughter find friends.
- Getting more sleep (if my son lets me!)
- Joining a gym.
So many moms, so many resolutions. Over a year ago, I had a lot of these goals too.
In the fall of 2015, I was juggling meeting the needs of my eight-year-old son who has autism, homeschooling my ten-year-old son with dyslexia, opening our home every week for Bible study, and working as a writer and editor. I found myself at a point of exhaustion. It was all too much. I wasn’t eating well, sleeping well, feeling well, or even loving others well. So I devoted a month to better self-care. I took time to find out what made me feel my best and then put those habits into practice. I realized quickly just adding “be in bed by 9:00 pm” wasn’t going to transform my life. I needed to get to the root of my issues. And what I found at the root was the sin of pride—thinking I could do it all on my own.
But Jesus’s words in John remind me I can’t do it on my own. I shouldn’t even try.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.
Like Jesus gently reminded Martha, she was anxious about many things, but only one thing was necessary.
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
What should our resolution be? To abide in Him.
I must admit my dependence on Him each day, for apart from Him I can do nothing. But “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness ...” (1 Peter 1:3a) and that includes taking better care of ourselves.
Better self-care starts with the realization we need God’s help. The patterns we’ve fallen into aren’t working for us. We’re tired, unhealthy, disorganized, stressed, and depressed. We cannot keep running on empty. Accepting your dependence on Him helps you be aware that the burden you’ve been carrying around wasn’t meant for you: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
I put everything I learned into a book for you—other moms who rely on extra cups of coffee, under-eye concealer, and containers of take-out to get through the day. It's especially important for special-needs moms to take care of ourselves so we can care for the children God has given us.