Continued from yesterday…you can read part 1 of the interview here.
Sarah Mae: Did you have family worship/devotion time? If so, how did you do this?
Sally: We used to do devotions every day as a family when my children were young. We read a children’s story Bible, or from my own Bible, or studied the 24 Family Ways or I would just share from my heart from what the Lord was teaching me. Often, Clay would have to go to work before all the kids were up, and then I would do it. On Sundays, we have a feast for breakfast and then do a Bible time together to make up for those days when we can’t always be together–especially since my older children have moved on to their own schedules and jobs and school. It keeps us all unified. We also had numerous family prayer times when issues would arise. Always prayed with each child before they went to bed. We had these devotionals most days and it was a way of living and talking –as it was the way we were taught to live our own lives. Daily going to the Lord. Building this as a habit is essential to building it into the lives of your children and into the values of their hearts. They will not do what they do not see you do.
SM: Any advice for stay-at-home moms who feel like they have to escape?
Sally: Define for yourself what your felt needs are–to be alone? to be with other friends? to have some adult time? to have some adventure? I learned when I was a missionary that people don’t last unless they manage to have preferences built into their lives that suit their personalities. It is different for different people. I am a restless person and become overwhelmed with the mundane. Consequently, I built trips and fun and doing things with other family friends into my schedule. I learned that this homeschooling/mothering journey is a very long journey and I wanted to be resilient as long as I could. When I feel myself moving towards burn out, I assess what I am feeling and then try to figure out how to be a better manager of my time of plan a break after a very intense season (like birthing babies, or illness or holidays or moves or lots of travel–I need to plan life according to the stress points I am feeling.)
Also, most of us have not been trained to do this very difficult job. So sometimes we are just going to feel like escaping. Sometimes getting away with a friend or husband is possible and sometimes it isn’t. I also see that, after learning to be faithful year after year, even when I felt overwhelmed, that God was increasing my capacity to love and work and endure with grace. Sometimes we just have to trust the Lord, choose to have joy and cultivate life and beauty. Many people live such a rigid life and are so very harsh with their children, that just the environment they create kills their soul. Again, so many issues and so many different answers. But overall, all women should know that feeling like running away from time to time is perfectly normal. Sometimes I would feel like I couldn’t make it without a break–and then when I would get away from my children for a time out with someone or by myself, I would miss my children and want to see how they were doing!
SM: How did you make time for your husband when you were exhausted with little ones?
Sally: Again, planning is everything. My husband didn’t need expensive dates away or have to go out on a date or do something–he just wanted me–we were best friends and companions. When we had one baby, we went out to breakfast every week and put her on a blanket on the floor and talked. Later, we still tried to schedule in an early morning planning/talking time. Sometimes we would do major planning once every six months to plan schedules, vacations, time away as a family, personal time, ministry plans–it helped me to know that we would get time together by sticking to our plans. But, because I didn’t have support systems or babysitting when my children were young, I had to be creative. I mainly needed talk time.
So, often, I would let the kids stay up late and then get up early and make breakfast for Clay and me and talk over a pot of tea. (Since we lived in Europe a long time, we both got used to tea. Even now, we both get up about an hour before anyone else. Often we sit for a few minutes over a cup of tea before we both go our own way to read. This worked for us–others are night people. (Clay stays up until midnight or after every night and I was just too tired!)
You just have to create what works for you the best. However, honestly, we were both so exhausted when our children were young, that we would both fall into bed at night and just try to handle life the best we could. (Had lots of asthma, ear infections, pneumonia issues with our children–all had respiratory problems.) Sometimes, when he would come home from work, I would have saved my Winnie the Pooh video for when he came home from work and I would have a 20 or 30 minute time with him before the evening took over.
SM: What is the greatest thing youʼve learned in how to be a good wife?
Sally: Giving grace and living in grace and unconditional love and respecting my husband as he is–even if he never changes–is the foundation to giving him a safe place to show me his heart. Nagging and criticism never open a man–they just push him further away. Serving my husband with my whole heart is a service of worship to God. I do it because I love the Lord–and then it isn’t about whether Clay has met my needs, but it is about being the best for the Lord that I can be–out of thanksgiving and loyalty to my wonderful savior. It is Him I serve in my marriage. Also,to listen to my husband and try to hear what he is really saying–he needs support, respect and not fixing. Also, I call him every day on the phone and send him appreciation emails and arrange for us to be alone–because it is not his strength to always remember, but he always enjoys it when I take initiative to make my time with him special.
SM: What is your favorite “cheap” date?
Sally: Sending my children to someone else’s house, making a candle light meal that we both love and just relaxing together. Too much fuss exhausts me in the midst of my busy-ness and he likes my cooking the best. I also enjoy going on a long walk together in the national park near our house and ending with a coffee or tea time. Dinner at a favorite restaurant with candle-light–where we split a dinner, is also fun.
SM: If you could only pass on one piece of wisdom for young wives and moms, what would it be?
Sally: Learn to love the Lord and choose to believe in Him every day. Read the word and walk by faith. When you focus on Him and cultivating a love-relationship with Him, all that you need will be added to you. From Him you will receive wisdom, grace, strength, hope, direction, instruction, love, forgiveness, peace.
SM: Sally, thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your wisdom to us!
Read more Lady of Wisdom interviews here.
Sally Clarkson…She who dreams, laughs, and greatly loves her husband, her children and the God who made them all. She lives for strong English tea out of a china cup, passionate ideas, great books, and fine food served with stimulating conversation. Find Sally at her blog, I Take Joy, or through one of her many wonderful books.
Subscribe here to not miss a day!
Read more Lady of Wisdom interviews here.