Hello there, and welcome to Magda Row....

A Mother's Retreat

I will start out by saying this: Thank you, Chad, for giving me this time alone...for silence and my own thoughts and just plain old rest. 

I've already told him "Thank you" multiple times, but I thought I'd say it again. :)

The past 2 weeks have been awful at home and I was on the edge of meltdown. Between Maddox trying to be a parent to his sister and Magdalen climbing everything, destroying everything, and thinking she's already 12 years old...I was at the end of my rope. Part of that has been due to Chad's schedule. He normally works more than the average person, but the last little bit has meant seeing him very few hours at home, and most of those have been while I was sleeping. I think it's funny when I say he works late and people say "Oh...wow. Does he get home around 8 or 9 at night?" Ummmmmmm, no. That would be EARLY for him. People have no clue. 

I'm not complaining here. Don't think that. I'm very happy for his job and that he loves his work and thankful that he's willing to work so hard while I am able to be with the kids all the time. But I'm not going to lie, it makes for a tough job for me at home. 

So..........Chad gifted me with 24 hours to retreat from our home. He told me Thursday night after I had texted him an SOS saying I didn't think I could do it anymore. Less than 24 hours later, I was GONE. Haha! At first I didn't even know what to do as I was planning. Where was I supposed to sleep?? Then I remembered our points we save on our credit card. FREE hotel room. Yippee! I first thought I would stay downtown in the Leow's Hotel or something similar, but then you add in valet charges, wi-fi charges, and more tipping, it adds up. I just wanted some rest. :) So, I chose a 3-star hotel in my same little town which includes free parking, free wi-fi, and no tipping. Much better for a silent retreat.

Here's how my 24 hour gift went:

1. I first went to Hobby Lobby to return some party items I no longer needed. 

2. I then went to Barnes & Noble and looked at books for probably 2 hours. (That's not very long for me in a book store.) 

3. While there, I had dinner. Spinach and artichoke pesto quiche and a lemon-raspberry tart. See photo below. Definitely recommend! I couldn't believe I was eating this deliciousness at a book store! (All pics taken with my phone, by the way.)

4. I walked over to Gap Outlet, Francesca's Collections, and then hopped in the car to go to the hotel. But first....a second dinner. ; ) I had to stop by Dairy Queen and get my beloved Oreo Blizzard. I did buy a banana and a side salad there just to balance out the goodness with the badness. I enjoyed it in my silent hotel room. Aaaaaaah.

5. I looked through the books I had purchased for each child for Easter morning. For Maddox, I bought The First Easter: The story of why we celebrate Easter and for Magdalen, My Big Little Golden Book about God. I feel like I had this book as a child, but I can't quite tell yet. I'll have to ask my parents. 

The pictures in this book are so special to me. I grew up reading many, many Golden Books and all the little children are drawn the same. I still remember their dimpled knees, round faces, and always a haircut with bangs. It's funny the things that stay with you from childhood. The picture below reminds me of Maddox and Magdalen. 

6. I read excerpts of books, prayed off and on for parental wisdom, and then rested for the night. 

7. This morning, I stayed in bed until the last minute and went down for the free breakfast. I brought my food back, ate in silence while I read my magazine and just enjoyed the quiet. 

8. I read some more. Since my time away was mostly during the Sabbath hours, I didn't watch any TV, which truly did make this a silent retreat. One thing that has surprised even myself while being a parent, is the roots I keep going back to. The picture below shows a page out of a book that I brought with me. I know a lot of people would be surprised, but with the trouble I've been having at home I suddenly felt as if I might find some insight in this little book, along with lots of prayer. 

The Adventist Home by Ellen G. White. I grew up seeing this little book sitting on our shelves at home, but never paid attention to it. Back in those days, I was too young and then as I grew I thought old E. G. White was a stuffy little lady that didn't know how to have any fun. And I can't judge her. I haven't read enough of her stuff to know really! I was just going on what we were being told in church school and the parts that were being picked out to share with us as students. (For the record, I do believe she was a writer inspired by God. I just got turned off by the people who tend to quote her more than they even can quote the Bible. Seriously. The Bible is The Word and E. G. White is just another person saying "Hey! God is right. Here's what I have to say, but go read His Word first.")

So then I prayed last night and then this morning I was flipping through the book on my bed and I randomly opened it up to the chapter titled....

Influence of Mother. 

Yep. That's where I landed. Jesus heard my prayers and the prayers of my husband, and my mother, and all my Bible study girls who knew I was having trouble. 

My trouble has been my impatience, my yelling, my dark & cloudy disposition towards my children because they are getting in MY way. I knew this was my problem, not theirs. They just don't make it any easier on me. I knew I needed some insight onto something out there. And here's the passage that God knew I needed today, so I could reflect on it before I headed back to my family. The subtitle of this portion of the chapter is called....

The Wholesome Influence of a PATIENT MOTHER. 

I know. Crazy, huh? Oh God in Heaven, how I needed this. Read the first 2 paragraphs and see what I mean. The whole chapter has such solid, sound advice on my job in my life right now. Wow. I honestly can't wait to read more!

The words that really made me realize what was happening with my own children and me were these: 

"She almost forgets herself time and again, but a silent prayer to her pitying Redeemer calms her nerves, and she is enabled to hold the reins of self-control with quiet dignity. She speaks with calm voice, but it has cost her an effort to restrain harsh words and subdue angry feelings which, if expressed, would have destroyed her influence, which it would have taken time to regain."

WHOA. I'm now realizing that it's possible that my children are losing respect for me because I'm not respecting them with patience like I should. And I know my shortcomings. They are there and I'm the first person to realize it. 

I realize that Yes! I need time for myself, but even more so I need to not be impatient with them when they are messing up MY plans for myself. They are my job. They are my loves. They are what God has entrusted me to take care of and I need to honor that. Everything else should be put aside as I make them feel like wonderful beings that I always love no matter what. Because they are.....and I do. 

This morning, after I had my 30 minute long, hot shower (unheard of at home. ha!) I somehow came across this video. It was a performance from last night and I clicked on it because of the title. I love a good old Christian song from my childhood, and this is one of those. 

Something about this song just moves me every time I hear it, but add Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill doing harmony and playing that guitar and I'm just a sobbing mess. 

So, there I was sitting on my hotel bed with tears streaming from my eyes as I listened to this. It was a beautiful ending to my Mother's Retreat. I hope you enjoy this performance as much as I did! : )

How Great Thou Art

Happy Sabbath and Happy Easter Weekend! I'm excited to be heading home to my family. : )


Anonymous said...

That's wonderful Amanda!!! I am so glad you did that for yourself. You needed it. And the words on the blog you wrote about it inspired me in many ways. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

this performance made me cry as well...loved it!!! so happy you had a relaxing time

christy black

Lisa721 said...

At the Hyatt Place I see! It's our favorite affordable hotel! Glad you got away for some time to hear God speak to your heart!

Tina said...

What a beautiful post. We all have these realizations sooner or later I think, and I'm right in the middle of this too. So glad to know I'm not the only one. So glad you got the time away! What a blessing from Chad!

Gary said...

It is a shame how it just so happens that dads are building their careers at the same time that their wives are facing the overwhelming challenges of young children at home. You are not alone, you have friends, family, God, and most importantly, Chad. You are a gifted writer and your ability to share your story is helping others. Just wait till Magadalen is a teenager, you might find yourself missing her at this age.

Kelly Paul said...

Fantastic! Spoke to my soul, you are not alone! You went to the right source for strength, He always hears!

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