The summer of 2015 I joined with other mothers to encourage each other as we juggle the many different areas of our lives. It was called #WholeMama, The first prompt we wrote about is shalom.
Shalom is a word I have heard often used when saying goodbye, but I discovered 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 that when our kids were younger, we used to have a special meal on Saturday evening. We got the idea from friends who gave us a printout to follow for each part of the meal. It included readings and scripture and was patterned after the Jewish Sabbath meal.
We would prepare the food, set the table with, then clean up and change into nicer clothes. I lit a candle to begin the meal. With bread and wine as symbols of sustenance and the fruit of the vine, we began the meal with a prayer of thanks.
As I lit the first candle I thanked God for sending Jesus as the light of the world. Then we prayed that we would also let our lights shine.
Next, my husband went around the table saying a blessing over each of the children. Then he read a couple of verses from Proverbs 31 as a blessing over me. 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, one by one, we would wish each other a happy or peaceful Sabbath by saying the greeting, Shabbat Shalom.
Later, as our family grew, it became more difficult to fix a big meal, change into nice 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.
What Happened to Shalom?
Many years have passed since then, and our family has had many ups and downs. Being a mother can be difficult at times, though I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there are times we mothers might feel like giving up. I sometimes lost my temper and often became exhausted and frustrated..
Would shalom have shown up more often if I had taken the time to notice the good in each situation? If I had practiced gratitude rather than discontent or complaining, would there have been more calmness? What if I had looked for beauty in the ordinary things right in the middle of life?
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, read a book, create something, but in reality we don’t have time not to do those things. And they don’t have to take very long. If we take just a few minutes from our day, we might find that’s all we need to make a difference.
How Do We Experience Wholeness?
To experience wholeness we need to be true to the person God has made us. We are all uniquely made, created in His image.
God has given each of us talents and desires to use. I don’t think we should forget them as we raise our children.
Let’s take time to refresh ourselves by stopping for a cup of tea or creating art or writing a poem or whatever calls to us. Then we will be better able to fulfill our callings as wives and moms.
My children are all grown. Some have families of their own now and some still live at home. Our oldest son has gone on ahead of us to his heavenly home with Jesus.
We have gone in varying directions, but we all have the underlying knowledge that we love each other dearly. 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.
Finding Shalom Again
These days I am learning to find shalom/wholeness in many ways. When I am following God, doing what calls me to do, those things work together to give me a sense of wholeness. Therefore, I am more fulfilled as a human, a woman, a wife and mother. 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 time 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,
- paint or draw,
- work in my art and gratitude journals,
and generally be open to seeking and finding beauty in unexpected places as I go about my day.
What about you? How do you find shalom or wholeness in your everyday life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.