Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Encouragement note

sus·te·nance noun \ˈsəs-tə-nən(t)s\
1 a : means of support, maintenance, or subsistence : living
   b : food, provisions; also : nourishment
2 a : the act of sustaining : the state of being sustained
   b : a supplying or being supplied with the necessaries of life
3: something that gives support, endurance, or strength

Good nutrition is in-style. In our quest for health, we use natural foods.  Fresh Market© grocery chains abound and organic ingredients are displayed in local stores and on restaurant menus. I ponder the meaning of this trend for life in general...  What about a healthy marriage? a healthy family? a healthy church? or even a healthy mind and soul?  I looked up ‘nutritious’ in Webster’s; it lists ‘sustenance’ as a synonym, so I followed the trail…

‘Sustenance’ Webster’s tells us, is the stuff of life.  I like how both subsistence and maintenance are listed as needed for living and nourishment. Maintenance suggests a regular nutritious diet - ideas are what nourish the mind. They sustain us.  And our mind needs healthy food and exercise as much as our body.  A healthy mind flourishes on nutritious food, needing substance, not just dessert – we wouldn’t feed our family a diet of only brownies; even brownies would get old if that was our only offering!  Sometimes I find my life is filled with extra/unnecessary junk; when this happens, I get frustrated and grumpy!   As busy moms, we can often react, cutting out whatever comes up next on our list rather than considering what really needs to be eliminated.  If we are not careful, we can forget to be joyful in our everyday activities, neglectful of our time with God, and unnoticing of good and beautiful things. This is where a habit of using our mind and dwelling on the truth of Scripture shows us our real “support, endurance, AND strength” (3 Tim. 3:16, Psalm 105:4).  That is what sustains us.  If we haven’t established a habit or pattern of studying the Bible and relying on the Lord, we shouldn’t expect it to come naturally.  We must be deliberate.  That’s how habits work; they are consistently practiced until it becomes the natural response. 

Beautiful thoughts do not abound when we have no ideas to foster them – dwell on whatever is good and excellent… (Phil. 4:8 & Proverbs 4).  Enjoy a poem, read a Psalm, listen to classical music while you pick up toys, take a short nature walk & study a flower; you can do these things on your own or with your kiddos. And amazingly, these same subjects and venues are for children AND adults.  

Our mind needs space to think and beauty to appreciate, a right focus. Begin by getting outside; seeing the beauty of creation all around us - understanding our smallness in a big world, yet still seeing the intricate details of nature helps us remember our God knows us intimately too - all the intricate details of who we are.  Most importantly, spend some time studying about God and who He is; it helps us know more about who we are and what we want to be. 

The mind each of us possesses is gifted to us and created by God for purpose and meaning.  Moms dealing with everyday life have great purpose and meaning.  You don’t have to think small thoughts just because you have small people, and really they don’t either – little guys are deep thinkers!

Our thoughts are important in keeping us healthy in mind; the ideas we receive and think about are important sustenance in caring for our soul.  We can be malnourished through neglect (lacking ideas/nothing to consider) or wasted “calories” (unworthy pursuits/fluff/twaddle). Or we can deliberately choose to nourish our lives and reflect Christ in our actions, words, and thoughts (Col. 1:9-13).