You can’t nurture from an empty well. You can’t home school running on fumes.

Sometimes I am running on empty so much that when one of my precious children or my precious husband comes to me for nurturing, they reach their hand into Mom’s well and all I can give them is sand.

Mothering is a matter of the heart. So is home schooling. If our hearts are full, we can love and nurture others. If our hearts are running low, and people just keep trying to take and take and take, then our hearts are going to feel shrunken and dried out because we haven’t filled them. God has recently taught me many lessons about this matter of the heart, both physically and emotionally.

I am one of those idealistic mothers who thought parenting and home schooling would all be bliss. I figured if I had the right curriculum, the right techniques, cheery chore charts, appropriate skill lists, Godly discipline, and good health care support, that my life style would be a breeze. I wanted to learn from books and experts all the things that the Lord can only teach us from the heart.

I am in my early 40s and I was living my life with such intensity, trying to be the perfect mom and the perfect home schooler, and trying to meet everyone’s needs that the Lord had to get my attention to teach me.

I am very stubborn. I often have to be whacked upside the head before I will heed the error of my ways. This time that whack came in the form of a heart challenge. I was having some irregular heartbeats and went to see the doctor. I figured I needed an adjustment to my thyroid medication, which I have taken since my teens. Or perhaps I needed to give up caffeine once and for all. I was totally ignoring the fact that for years I had been meeting everyone else’s needs and totally ignoring my own. My spiritual life had slipped and my health had deteriorated.

After a bunch of testing that summer, the doctors determined that my right coronary artery had substantial calcium deposits. I have a terrible family history of cardiac problems, but I never thought it would happen to me. I was the happy Christian one in the family. Certainly, I wasn’t going to have heart problems.

I have heard it said time and again that at the heart of every problem is a matter of the heart. I needed to change my lifestyle, reduce my stress, and focus some attention on myself. The cardiologist put it bluntly when he said, “Do you want to live to see your grandchildren?”

You don’t want to hear that at the age of 43. The past few years have been ones of major changes for us. My health has improved. My weight is down. My cholesterol is actually low. I praise the Lord for getting my attention and forcing me to confront myself.

When God looked at my physical heart, He would have seen calcium deposits and hardening. In my emotional heart, He would have seen emptiness and dryness. I had lived this lifestyle too long by hanging on by my fingernails.

A lady in my church went on cruise a few years ago with a couple of other ladies. Their tan, relaxed faces were in sharp contrast to my baggy eyes, pinched expression and shallow complexion. For a fleeting moment, I felt envy. I used to think I had to get away to recharge and fill my well. But life isn’t like that. We often can’t get away. But God is there. He’s there to catch us when we fall. He’s there when we blow it with our children. He’s there in the struggles of our marriages. He’s there during our own illness and depressions and the illnesses in our families.