• Author Kim Patton

Pouring from an Empty Cup

*In response to a post by Bethany McDonald found here:


I’m not too often the “deep thinker” friend, or the “ponderer” in any given group of people. Women I regard as wise and patient are more deserving of that title. I make decisions quickly and move on. I am not one to wait and think about something for a while.


But when I saw this photo and an accompanying essay, I paused. I didn’t know what to think. Her words were clear but confusing, kind but contrary to what I have often heard. She challenged me and I had to chew on her words for days, weeks.


As a new mama, I have navigated through the other side of the mountain of self-care than I had in the past. Pre-kids, taking care of my health and wellness had been a priority to prevent panic and anxiety attacks. Because I hadn’t had a demanding job since the end of 2017, I could take care of my physical and mental health fairly well.


Becoming a mother awakened me to a new set of problems. How do I care for a child 24/7 and also care for myself? How do I take breaks when I am the primary caregiver? What is the line between self-care and the definition of motherhood?


It all blurred together and made me feel very, very selfish.


So when I read that “You can pour from an empty cup”, I resisted because I didn’t WANT TO. I wanted to live my life on my own terms. But the way the writer explained it drew me in. She offered me something else, something bigger than just a day off. She dangled the peace and presence of God in front of my face, tempting me with a deeper relationship with Him. She introduced the concept of abiding in Him through this season of littles.


Again, I am still resistant. I face moments where I want what I want and Kevin better get home quick to give me a break. I push and pull against the whininess of my daughter, who doesn’t use words yet.


In the empty cup moments, God cares for me. He helps me care for myself, my body, my soul, my mind. He gives me what I need. He prods me toward gratitude, good books, and delightful friendships.


He really is enough.


That doesn't mean I have to swear off "self-care", but it does mean that I am evaluating the tension between sacrificing my own desires, and truly taking care of my soul and body. I am trying to learn to do both.


So... check in with me in a year or two?

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