It’s been about eighteen months since I had a double hernia surgery. After surgery, the surgeon said he was surprised at how fragile my skin was inside – like an older person’s skin. To prevent my skin from being frail like this he said I need to work on my core strength. This lit a fire in me to get stronger. First I had to be patient with my body and give it time to heal from the surgery. Finally, about six months after surgery, I was disciplined enough to start exercising with my kids. In the second week of working out I hurt my shoulder. That set me back and I didn’t start exercising after my shoulder healed. I wanted to, but didn’t make time for it like I should have.
A couple of months ago I woke up to pain in my lower back. It hurt to sit, I couldn’t walk well. Even putting on my socks was painful for me. There’s only one other time I remember back pain that bad. After much prayer for healing and taking pain medicine for about two weeks, I decided I to go to the chiropractor. I asked her what I could do to keep my back from getting injured like this. Her answer – good core strength. Immediately I flashed back to when the surgeon had said the same thing. I took this as a second warning to take better care of my body and especially work on my core strength. I was motivated again but, just like last time, I had to give my body time to heal properly first. The doctor gave me stretches to do to help my lower back. I tried to do them but at first the pain was too much. With each visit the pain would lessen. I tested my body every few days to see if I could start stretching. Finally, after about five visits I was feeling like myself again. This time however, I’ve been staying faithful with exercising.
I wasn’t sure how to workout with the kids around then I found a way to include them. I figured they could use the workout too. Plus, if they learn the routine of taking care of their body now, they’re just that much better off for the future. A few weeks before I started stretching with the kids, I took my youngest daughter to the doctor because she had been complaining that her knees were hurting. The physician suspected juvenile arthritis and ran some blood tests. It seemed like forever for those test results to come back. So many people were praying for that little girl. I love that even in the children’s room at church the kids and the teacher laid hands on her to pray for her healing. The test results came back negative. Praise the Lord! A trusted friend of ours, who is also a pediatrician, was able to pinpoint that her thigh muscles need to be stronger to keep her kneecap from moving side to side. Again, exercise was what the doctor ordered.
This put the icing on the cake. It was now more important to me than ever to strengthen my body and show my kids how to strengthen theirs. It’s not that I was sitting around before this. Raising four kids, taking care of the house and homeschooling does not allow you to do much sitting. But I can’t just expect to stay healthy. This has to be something I’m intentional about. I have to train my body. I have to be purposeful about what area of my body I’m strengthening because just living life will not get all the systems in shape.
I want to take a minute and speak directly to moms of young children. You need to make the time to take care of yourself. You need to get those core muscles back in shape to have good health. It’s so easy to get focused on the kids. Taking time out to take care of yourself gives your kids a happier, healthier mom who can keep up with the physical demands of mothering. For so long I’ve been focused on taking care of the kids and the house and have neglected working out. I want my family and I to be healthy. We’ve made some pretty major changes on our eating habits in the last two years and it has really helped. However, diet alone won’t fix it. It’s easy to say you don’t have time but when something is really important to you, you make time. Make it a family exercise time. There are videos specifically for kids to get fit. Even just a few minutes will help. If you don’t get fit now, it will effect you later.
I love God’s Word. I love digging into it and finding all the different treasures hidden there. I love learning about the many faucets of God. I picture it like picking up a jewel and discovering the beauty on every side. I realized digging into God’s Word is for our spirit like exercising is for our body. The Lord has given us new life and put His Holy Spirit inside us but it is up to us to determine if we are going to strengthen our spirit with reading His Word and letting it transform us. Just like the surgeon gave me a chance the live a healthy life through the surgery he performed, yet it’s not his job to be sure I get healthy and strong. That’s up to me by how well I care for myself. Did I rest when I needed to? Do I exercise? Am I taking in the proper nutrition? Am I walking away from things that are not God’s best for me? You can look at this in the physical aspect or a spiritual one. I think we need to look at both. Both our body and spirit need to be taken care of.
I’m not wanting to get fit to have good looks. I am wanting to be strong so the Lord can use me whenever and wherever He wants. I want to go when He tells me to go and do what He tells me to do. I want to be healthy to prevent sickness and injury that would slow me down from doing anything the Lord calls me to. Also, I want to be an example for my kids so they too can live a healthy life.