Last week I posted a blog1 with suggestions for moms who are dealing with cabin fever this winter. I’ve been thinking a lot about being stuck inside and feeling isolated, and how cold, snowy weather makes that struggle even harder. Here are a few more things that may be helpful if you’re inside a lot with your kids and finding you feel down and lonely.
Remember you are not alone.
At the end of his first letter to the church, Peter gives suffering Christians an incredibly important reminder: you are not alone in suffering because your spiritual siblings around the world are dealing with the same sufferings (1 Pet. 5:10). Being with kids 24/7 and running short on adult conversation can feel so isolating. So don’t forget that you are part of a vast group of moms who are facing the same trials and the same temptations to despair or act selfishly or escape or grumble. There are literally thousands of others like you. (Last week’s blog got 11,000 hits the first day—a clear sign that there are a lot of you who resonated with this!) As Peter points out, together you are all under attack from the Devil who wants to turn your trials into reasons to lose hope in God’s love, goodness and purpose for you.
So how do you live like you’re not alone? What if you…
- Pray for other moms you know. Maybe even write a “liturgy” for moms that lifts up the greatest needs and asks for specific grace from God. (If you do, send it to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be very encouraged to see how you are praying!)
- Email, call, or use social media to reach out to one other person who might be struggling and offer a simple word of encouragement.
- Start a rotating play group once a week if you aren’t in one already. Muster up your courage, be that girl, and explicitly ask if you can briefly pray for each other when you meet.
Reaching out and blessing others is a good idea when facing any kind of suffering, because suffering always tries to turn us inward. It is especially important in this struggle since winter confines you to your house (it’s a lot of work to get those kids out the door!). For your own sake—and for the sake of your children who are learning from you how to handle trials—resist narrowing your gaze to yourself and how badly you’re feeling.
So take a meal to someone in your church. Take your kids and go visit some shut-in seniors whose life is confined to one building year round. Give another mom a chance to get out or take a shower by watching her kids or taking your kids to her place. Serving someone despite the fact that you are hurting simply adds to the beauty of the love you are displaying.
It’s going to get better.
Spring is coming…and so is heaven. Spring may bring disappointments and life may not become as easy as you hope. But there is a day coming when you will live in perfect community with all of God’s people.
Does that sound trite? It would to me, I suspect. But if it does, that actually means this experience can help you grow in righteous yearning for the end of all isolation! God loves it when we hunger and thirst for the only experience that can truly satisfy the ache of your heart. Ask God to help you see how the specific hardships you are facing right now point you to specific ways he will fully redeem this world in heaven.
Don’t let winter win.
Perhaps “learn to enjoy the snow” is so obvious that I didn’t even have to include it. But the truth is that if you let yourself simply resent winter then you’re missing out. Take just one image the Bible uses to tell us good news: Isaiah says that though our sins are as foul as blood stains, God washes us white as snow (Isa. 1:18). This means we aim for freshly fallen snow to consciously remind us of Christ’s incredible power to cleanse us. It also means that when the downy flakes have turned into dirt stained snow banks, God is reminding you, by contrast, that your cleansing will never perish, spoil or fade (1 Pet. 1:4).
What is God telling you today through winter? How could you enjoy today as a gift from your heavenly Father? Perhaps the gift is just enjoying your kids enjoy the snow. Maybe it’s taking in the beauty of snow covered trees or people bustling along with scarves, coats and steaming breath. God’s world is amazing and full of messages for eyes and ears that are open. Aim to see, listen, delight and give thanks.
1 See the related blog For the Moms Stuck Inside