One doctor and stress lecturer has said that the most overstressed person in our society is the mother of small children. Our counseling experience, our family experience, and our conversations with many women confirm this. The woman who is mother and wife doesn’t simply live with her own stress. She carries the weight of secondhand stress, inherited from her husband and children. Whether they work outside the home or not, it’s no wonder today’s women are under stress.
Consider a study done on what are called the “11 high-stress jobs.” The list in order is: Doctor/Nurse, Farmer, Teacher, Firefighter, Combat Soldier, Air Traffic Controller, Restaurant Manager, Stockbroker,Probation Officer, Accountant, and Salesperson.
An article called “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2012” featured these: Enlisted Soldier, Firefighter, Airline Pilot, Military General, Police Officer, Event Coordinator, Public Relations Executive, Corporate Executive, Photojournalist, and Taxi Driver.
Don’t the jobs on both those lists, cumulatively, sound remarkably like the job of a mom? She is health worker and nurse to her children, and often her husband. She is teacher, restaurant manager, waitress, taxi driver, police officer, accountant, and yes, sometimes combat soldier.
But at the end of the day, who is there to take on a woman’s struggles, to fight her battles, heal her wounds, listen to her cries? We’ve found that many women aren’t fortunate enough to have sensitive and supportive husbands, or appreciative and helpful children. Even those who do sometimes find themselves feeling misunderstood, alone, afraid, and exhausted.
Then who can shoulder the stress of today’s woman? The answer cuts to the very heart of Help for Women Under Stress, the very heart of coping with stress. It is an answer secular books on stress inevitably ignore.
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Who is this “he” who cares for you? God. The God who cared enough to go to the cross for you, who has seen you at your worst and still loves you. The God for whom you need not perform or achieve, just be. The God who knows all, governs all, and weaves all together for your good.
He is the architect, engineer, and builder of all that is you: “Your hands shaped me and made me…. Remember that you molded me like clay” (Job 10:8–9). As your designer He knows you as well as a potter knows his vase or an author his book. He knows you thoroughly and intimately. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
How does all this relate to stress?
Nanci’s father was a structural engineer. He understood how much stress a beam can take, and made sure that he never gave it a load that exceeded its capacity.
God is our structural engineer. He knows our needs. He knows our load-bearing capacity, our limits. He allows us to live under stress, yes, but never lays upon us a load greater than what He made us to bear.
We encourage women under stress to learn to pace their race, and throughout their days, all the seasons of their lives, to look to God as their Creator and Redeemer. Jesus came that we might have abundant life, not just in Heaven but on earth. This is not prosperity theology; it’s simply believing that in the midst of a world under the Curse God is serious when He commands us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
So it’s fair for a woman to ask how rich and rewarding her life is, and how much joy she’s experiencing day to day. It’s fair to ask how much richer and more rewarding life could be with a daily maintenance plan for the body, soul, and spirit God has entrusted to her care. God made only one of each of us. We should budget ourselves and spend ourselves wisely, for God’s glory.
Help for Women Under Stress by Randy and Nanci Alcorn is available from Eternal Perspective Ministries in paperback and as an ebook.
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Randy Alcorn is a New York Times bestselling author of over forty books (including Heaven, The Treasurem Principle and Safely Home) and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching the principles of God's Word and assisting the church in ministering to people around the world.
Randy and Nanci were married in 1975. They reside in Gresham, Oregon and have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys biking, tennis, research, and reading. Nanci enjoys reading, exercising their Golden Retriever Maggie, watching pro football, and traveling with Randy. They both love spending time with their family.