Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shalom: Finding Wholeness in Life

This summer I am joining with other mothers to encourage each other as we juggle the many different areas of our lives. We call it #WholeMama, and you can find out all about it by checking out Esther Emery's post About #WholeMama. Today is our first linkup and the prompt we are writing about is wholeness or shalom.

(sunset view from my back porch)

Shalom is a word used when saying goodbye, but I found out today that it is also used when greeting someone. Its simple meaning is peace, but it really is so much more. After just a little bit of research I saw that the meaning includes being complete, whole or sound, and has to do with well-being.

As I thought more on this idea of shalom I was reminded of how our family used to have a special meal on Saturday evening. We got the idea from friends and had a printout that we followed for the different parts of the meal which included readings and some scripture. 

It was patterned after the Jewish Sabbath meal.

We would prepare the food, make the table nice, clean up and change into nicer clothes, then begin the meal by lighting a candle. Using bread as a symbol of sustenance and wine as the fruit of the vine also providing nourishment, we would say a prayer thanking God for them. As I lit the first candle I would thank God for sending Jesus as the light of the world. We would pray that we would also let our lights shine.

My husband would go around the table saying a blessing over each of the children. Then he would read a couple of verses from Proverbs 31 as a blessing over me. I remember every time he read it, one of my daughters would just look at me and beam. It was so precious as the light of the candles reflected from her eyes full of so much love and admiration.

It was quite humbling to me and really touched my heart.

At the end of the meal we would one by one wish each other a happy or peaceful Sabbath by saying the greeting, “Shabbat Shalom.” Later, as our family grew, it became more difficult to try to fix a big meal and change clothes, etc., and we finally stopped doing it altogether.

It was a time in our lives that I look back on fondly and realize that it was one way we found shalom in our family life.

(our corn we planted in April)

Many years have passed since then, and there have been many ups and downs in our family life. It is hard being a mother with people who constantly depend on you, and sometimes you just feel like giving up. I remember being exhausted, frustrated and losing my temper at times.

I wonder if shalom would have shown up more often if I had taken the time to notice the good in each situation, if I had practiced more gratitude rather than discontent or complaining, if I had looked for beauty in the ordinary things.

I wonder if shalom would have shown up more often if I had taken the time to properly care for myself instead of pushing to the limit. We think we don't have time to stop to rest, to read a book, to create something, but in reality we don't have time not to do those things.

To experience wholeness we need to be true to the person God has made us.

We are all uniquely made, created in the image of God. He has given each of us talents and desires to use, and I don't think we are meant to forget them as we raise our children. I believe if we take time to be refreshed by stopping for a cup of tea or creating art or writing a poem or whatever calls to us, that we will be better able to fulfill our callings as wives and moms.

My children are all grown and some have families of their own now.

We have gone in varying directions, but we all have the underlying knowledge that we are loved by each other. I believe that is also a way shalom shows up. There is a sense of security and well-being when you know you have people who are always there for you.

These days I am learning to find shalom/wholeness in many ways.

I am more fulfilled as a woman realizing that all the things I am called to do really work together in giving me a sense of wholeness. God has given me desires that I want to pursue. I don't have to be afraid of failing or worry about what others might think. It's okay to fail, because every time we do we learn something. As we keep trying we are able to get better each time. When we have worked hard for something we appreciate it more.

I am finding more joy and peace in life as I:
  • spend with friends and family,
  • write poetry,
  • read my Bible and other books,
  • pray and write out some of my prayers,
  • take walks and enjoy nature,
  • listen to music,
  • write blog posts,
  • learn karate,
and generally be open to seeking and finding beauty in unexpected places as I go about my day.

(view from my driveway)

To read what others have written or to add your own please visit Jamie Bagley or Esther Emery for the linkup!

I'm also linking up with #CoffeeforyourHeart.

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