Pics of my kids over the years are in the post.. :)
One of the struggles I remember so well over the years of raising kids is that I was asked a lot to do things for groups I belonged to, church activities, family, and more. I hated saying 'no' to anyone. So I would say, “yes”, often.
Sometimes this was just fine. I enjoyed helping out in any way I could. But often times the reality was that I was so busy in my life just raising my children, homeschooling, animals, home chores to do, baking, cooking, etc... that when I would say yes, I found that someone or something always suffered at home.
At one point I had a house full of little ones, I was pregnant with baby #5 or #6 and I was asked to teach a year of Sunday School. I hesitated, but not wanting to say no, I said yes. Oh my.. that was a hard year in my life. I was exhausted all the time as it was and had lessons for my own children to plan and now I had lessons for SS to plan as well and be there each Sunday to teach. I fulfilled my commitment but I also learned something for this.
I needed to understand my priorities. I needed to put my husband, children, home first. Then, take on other commitments as I was able to. There was a reality for me that I was at a time of my life that I just might not be able to take on much more than I had right in my own home.
I had to learn to say no. It was very hard. I felt I had to explain, I felt I was letting people down. I felt I was not doing my part. But thank the Lord that He showed me something so important. He had already given me my ministry. It was there right in front of my face every single day. It was an amazing hardworking husband, a house full of beautiful children that He had led us to homeschool. It was a lifestyle that required a lot of work and time and that was my priority.
I began to really consider what I was asked to do and would ask myself, can I do this and still put my family first? What I found was that there were small things I could do. I could make a meal for a new mama because it was no extra work for me to make a bigger batch of something that I was already doing. I could work in the nursery on Sunday morning when someone was sick, I did not have to make a commitment to this. I could write a card to someone sick, I could be on a prayer chain.
Learning my priorities, keeping my family first, and helping as it worked in my life and being confident in this gave me the ability to say, “No” when I could see I was asked to do something that did not fit this criteria.
Nowadays, my life is not what it was and the ability to say yes can certainly happen more than it use to. It is good to remember that we can't do everything, be everything for everyone. We have to have boundaries. We have to have priorities and know that it is ok to say 'no' if it does not work for the season of life we are in.