Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Becky Harling (00:01.487)
Welcome to the Connected Mom Podcast where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child.
I am Becky Harling, your host, and I am flying solo today without my amazing co-host, Sarah Wildman. So anyway, we hope that Sarah will be back with us next week, and I'm sure she will be. You know, as I talk with moms all around the world, really, I hear that many of them are weary, tired, and exhausted. And-
Really life has been a little exhausting over the last few years and we need to practice self-care. And yet so many moms I know wonder, is that okay to practice self-care? How does a mom really practice self-care? I mean, especially if she's in the thick of raising kids, trying to get people to soccer or up all night with babies or maybe trying to do a job and keep up with everything at home.
What does self-care even look like? And yet our guest today is gonna talk to us about that. And I gotta tell you, I'm so excited about our guest today. Edie Melson is a dear friend of mine. She's amazing. She's one of the sweetest, most compassionate people I know. And God has brought her through a lot of hard things. But Edie is an author of several books. She's a blogger, she's a speaker. She is the...
director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Writers Conference. And she is just amazing. On top of that, Edie is quite the photographer. I follow her on Instagram and I love her photographs. She has, well, we'll clarify with her what her title is there. I think it's Stop to Pray. But anyway, Edie takes these amazing photographs.
Becky Harling (02:05.323)
And they're so beautiful. And you know, beauty is a form of self care for us. Anyway, I am thrilled to introduce you today to my friend, Edie Nelson. Welcome, Edie.
Edie Melson (02:17.474)
Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here and I appreciate your plug for my Instagram. It is stop number two, pray.
Becky Harling (02:29.579)
Okay, we'll make sure that is in this show notes for you, but I just love your pictures. You know, Edy, during COVID, way back in the day, I used to do some artwork, like in college and stuff. And then, you know, I got busy having kids and writing books and all the things. And I stopped doing a lot of that. But I have really enjoyed my iPhone lately and taking beautiful pictures.
think that beauty is a way that we take care of ourselves. Would you agree with that?
Edie Melson (03:04.674)
Definitely, definitely. I think recognizing God's beauty, God's creation, it kind of gives us a reset. And I use photography as a way to sort of fill me up and take me out of the mundane of the day and get a perspective of what God is doing around me.
Becky Harling (03:25.775)
Yeah. And the cool thing about that is like back in the day, um, I guess I say that a lot it's cause I'm getting older now, but back in the day you had to have all this fancy equipment for your camera. And now you really can enjoy your camera and taking beautiful pictures with your iPhone if you have them. Do you, so I'm curious before we really get into the questions I have for you, do you use an iPhone to take your pictures or are you using like a high-end camera?
Edie Melson (03:53.398)
I use both actually. My dad was a, his first career was as a professional, classically trained musician. His second career was as a landscape photographer. And so he had galleries all over the nation. And the cell phones that we have right now, the lowest end cell phone that you have, smartphone, has way more powerful.
Becky Harling (04:06.297)
Edie Melson (04:21.91)
than almost anything he ever used or ever imagined using. And so I think we have this wealth at our fingertips and we don't even realize it. But yes, I use my iPhone. I have a special lens that I use for macro close-up photography. And then I also use a Sony mirrorless camera.
Becky Harling (04:46.027)
Wow. Well, your photographs are beautiful and I love scrolling through them when I need a little reset myself. So, okay, you have written a book called Soul Care When You're Weary. And in light of all the weariness that's out there, in light of all the moms out there who are probably weary, in fact,
you know, as we're recording this school has just started. And I've seen a lot of moms saying, how did the beginning of school go for you? Cause it went awful for me. You know, the kids were crying and there was a lot to do and parents were running around like crazy trying to get the epic list of school supplies. Anyway, why, what prompted you to write this book, Gigi?
Edie Melson (05:34.818)
Well, this book came from a difficult time in my life and our family's life. My dad had been battling Alzheimer's for 10 years and my parents live about 20 minutes from us and about 20 minutes from my sister. And so my sister and I were helping mother care for daddy and it had been a long 10 years and about the last four months I hit a wall and I just, I had a book due. You know, I, I just.
Becky Harling (05:43.047)
Edie Melson (06:04.754)
everything seemed to hit all at once. And I remember sitting in the parking lot, just crying out to God saying, I know the answer is you. I need more of you or I'm not going to make it through. But I don't have time to get into a Bible study. I barely have time to go to the grocery store, much less spend an hour reading the Bible. I don't have, you know, at night, my prayers don't.
Becky Harling (06:07.151)
Edie Melson (06:31.482)
end in amen, they end with me falling asleep exhausted. And I said, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to get more of you when I can't do anything. And of course, God showed me that it's not about me. It's about Him. And He showed me how to connect with Him in those small bits and pieces of time that we all have, two minutes here, five minutes there, sitting in hospice care, sitting in a doctor's office.
Becky Harling (06:36.086)
Becky Harling (06:45.723)
Edie Melson (07:01.33)
and he used creativity to help reset my mind. I would carry a little notepad in my purse and I had one of those sets of colored pencils that you get for free, you know, it has four colors in it. They're not the same. But they fit in my purse. Yeah, they fit in my purse. So I stuck that in my purse and sometimes I would just write the word faith or fear.
Becky Harling (07:11.39)
Becky Harling (07:18.659)
Yeah, they give them out in restaurants sometimes for kids.
Edie Melson (07:30.354)
or exhaustion and maybe I would color in around it. Or if I was at, my dad was in a wonderful hospice situation and an assisted living and they had a beautiful courtyard and sometimes I would just go out there with my phone and I would look up at the clouds and I would play with trying to take different shots. And you know how when you were a little, you would look at the clouds and you would find things in them? Well, I found God.
Becky Harling (07:57.103)
Edie Melson (07:59.294)
And he used these bits and pieces of time to fill me up, to give me everything that I needed. And when this was all done and daddy had won the battle and I knew he was safe in heaven, my friends started asking me what changed? What changed three months ago? And I was almost embarrassed to answer because playtime with God didn't sound very spiritual.
Becky Harling (08:16.891)
Becky Harling (08:25.575)
Edie Melson (08:26.274)
And so I began researching what had happened and I realized what God had done is He had renewed that rhythm of rest in my life. It didn't look like I thought it would, but He had renewed my Sabbath rest. And renewing that rhythm had given me the strength because He could connect through me to get through what I did. And I thought, well, maybe I ought to answer people.
Becky Harling (08:37.796)
Becky Harling (08:52.743)
Becky Harling (08:56.003)
Yeah, I love that, Edie. I love that. So how would you define soul care? Because I mean, that can sound a little ethereal to women and maybe they're thinking, man, I would love a day of self-care at the spa or getting a massage or, you know, getting whatever. But what do you mean when you talk about soul care?
Edie Melson (08:56.091)
And the book.
Edie Melson (09:20.706)
Well, I think of my soul as a vessel in a lot of ways. I think of it as a place that is either inhabited by angst and worry and stress, or it's inhabited by God. And so what I need to do is empty myself of me and fill up with God. So for me, soul care is filling up with God. That's it.
Becky Harling (09:25.141)
Becky Harling (09:36.021)
Becky Harling (09:46.844)
I love that because I think, you know, life is really pressureful. I mean, I have a lot of young moms around me and I think, and I have moms that are older, you know, who are worried about their kids. But you know, I think about all the doctor's appointments, all the...
uh, tensions over school and what does their child need and special needs kiddos. And some of these scenarios are a little bit exhausting. It's not that we don't enjoy motherhood, right? But it can be really draining and exhausting. And I think soul care is, is essential because we need to be refilled up with God in order to sustain all the pouring out that we do with our kids.
So you talk a lot in this book about sensory involvement and how that helps us really deepen our relationship with God or connect with God. And so talk to us about that. What do you mean by that?
Edie Melson (10:50.158)
Well, one of the things that I have found now, I have to admit, I grew up in a creative family. You know, my dad was a musician, then he was a photographer, my mother is an internationally known watercolorist. I'm convinced if I wasn't creative, they would have kicked me out of the family. Yeah. But I didn't want,
Becky Harling (10:56.037)
Becky Harling (11:06.419)
Oh, that's hilarious. Wow, I didn't know that about your mother. That's incredible.
Edie Melson (11:15.314)
sort of shied away from following in their footsteps. I wanted to be my own kind of creative. And so that came about in words. But even with words, that's creativity. And this sensory involvement, one of the things that so exhausted me about caregiving or about any of these situations, I wrote a later book called Soul Care When You're Grieving, and grief is exhausting.
Becky Harling (11:41.754)
Edie Melson (11:43.094)
But the thing that exhausted me was the fact that my world was so narrow. You know, I was so busy doing the minutia, I lost God's perspective. And I found that when I do sensory things, if I color in a coloring book, you know, it's mindless and it sort of breaks that cycle of what do I have to do next? If I walk outside and take a walk and enjoy nature.
Becky Harling (11:53.947)
Edie Melson (12:12.25)
If I listen to music, if I find creativity in planning meals, in rearranging my den, in trying to decorate for Christmas, creativity is not arts and crafts. I mean, God is all that I'm creating.
Becky Harling (12:30.051)
Good, good. Cause let me just interrupt you a second because I can hear moms out there like, oh my word, she's going to tell us to do arts and crafts and we can't stand the mess. I have one daughter who always tells her kids, okay, if you want to do arts and crafts, you need to go to Mimi's house. Cause I don't want to hear her. And I'm not that good at arts and crafts, but you know, I like the way you describe creativity as having...
many different forms, you know? So what part is the sensory part of creativity? How does that interface?
Edie Melson (13:02.614)
The sensory part would be using your ears or using sense of touch, crocheting. I love to crochet, I love to knit. That sensory involvement, I like really simple patterns because I just like the process, the movement, the rhythm. Anything that can take me out of my situation and give my mind time.
Becky Harling (13:20.155)
Edie Melson (13:30.242)
to sort of take a deep breath and whisper a prayer or just ask God a question and listen, not just talking constantly, but these things help you listen. And that connection is what brings us the soul care. Soul care isn't a spa day. The world has preempted that and made it into self care. But the fact is you can't pour water out of an empty jug.
You know, we have to be filled out to be able to minister to our families, to be able to do the work that God has called us. But if it's not His filling and His strength, it's all in vain.
Becky Harling (14:01.051)
Becky Harling (14:13.967)
Yeah, you know, I think a lot of times too, people think, oh, I need to rest or relax or give my brain a break. But what they do is they grab their phone and they just scroll mindlessly, right? And yet what you are suggesting really gives us the space to actually listen to God and not to be comparing ourselves with other people thinking, you know, well,
they're doing a better job at this than I am. I think that's probably another whole conversation, but I like the idea of the soul care that you're talking about where we're being creative in our need to refill our soul, going out for a walk, observing beauty, or listening to music, or knitting, or crocheting. I was reading this morning in Mark, the first chapter, and-
I love that story where Jesus very early gets up in the morning when it's still dark outside and he goes off by himself to just be alone with the father, you know, and he's just sitting there.
enjoying his time with the father. Now, the rest of the story is all the disciples come looking for him and they're a little bit wiggy, like, well, what are you doing out here? But I think it's such a beautiful example of the type of soul care we need. And I think especially in motherhood, where the demands are always constant. No matter how old your kids are, someone will usually need you. And so...
The idea of refilling our souls so that we can continue to pour out is just a beautiful way to describe soul care. So in your book, and I personally love this, but I want you to explain it for our audience, you talk about play, but you're not talking about necessarily playing with your kids. So what does that look like and what do you mean by that?
Edie Melson (16:19.438)
Well, I think playtime is spending time doing things with God. That's the context I'm talking about. Let me give you an example. As I told you, it hasn't been long ago, I guess it was March, we built and moved into a new house. And in the process, I was traveling, I was speaking, all of these different things. And I thought I was doing great. Until one day I was fixing myself a soda.
Becky Harling (16:34.407)
Edie Melson (16:45.918)
and I had set the glass on there, it had ice in it, I had poured the Coke, and I turned around to put everything back in the refrigerator, and I knocked the glass off the counter, and instead of it being a plastic glass, I had gotten a glass one out, and of course it shattered, and Coke and everything went everywhere, and instead of me going, oh, I can't believe it happened, I burst into tears. And my husband came running, and he took one look, and he said, that's it.
Becky Harling (17:10.852)
Edie Melson (17:15.394)
Grab your journal, go on the back porch, I will clean this up and I will bring you a Coke. And I think that what he realized is I needed some play time. And so I needed some time away with God. I think instead of play time, so often we put ourselves in time out and we say we have to do better, we have to do this, we have to fix this, when really what we need to do is just get away.
Becky Harling (17:21.173)
Becky Harling (17:28.079)
Becky Harling (17:37.741)
Edie Melson (17:44.762)
and maybe you have a coloring book. Maybe you don't like any of that stuff. Maybe what you need to do is go take a walk. I mean, I guarantee you, I have all three of my sons love to hike and run, and that is a creative endeavor. It's just, where are we focusing when we're doing it? If I pick up my phone and I'm playing a mindless game, it's not really mindless because my mind is engaged with my phone. It's not engaged with God.
Becky Harling (17:51.547)
Edie Melson (18:13.59)
And so I look for ways to engage with God.
Becky Harling (18:13.722)
Becky Harling (18:18.167)
I love that. You know, I once heard a speaker and he was crying out to God, like, I need to connect with you more. I need to connect with you more. And the way that God answered him was like, let's just go throw rocks in the river. I just want to be with you, you know. And this speaker was saying, he realized that, you know, just by walking by a river and trying to skim rocks, that he could experience the presence of God there.
we don't give ourselves permission for that. It's like, you mentioned going on the back porch with your journal and some moms are thinking, oh, I hate journaling. And so then they feel a should in there. And you talk about shoulds in your book too and why they're not helpful. Do you want to explain that for us?
Edie Melson (19:03.578)
Edie Melson (19:07.834)
Yeah, I have a saying that I use which came from a friend of mine which is don't should on me uh because the fact is when I get into shoulds I'm getting into other people's or even my own expectations and I need to come to God and look for his expectations look for his presence even more than that and so I really think um
Becky Harling (19:14.716)
Becky Harling (19:27.941)
Edie Melson (19:32.198)
I was in this meeting with this friend of mine back when I was at work and she had asked for some help brainstorming some ideas to solve a problem she had at work. And it went from creative ideas to you should do this and you should do that and you need to do this. She stood up and she said, don't should on me. And we all sat there for a minute and then we woke up laughing because we realized we had gone from being helpful to being burdensome.
Becky Harling (19:48.103)
Becky Harling (19:55.926)
Edie Melson (20:01.943)
and I think have a burden attached.
Becky Harling (20:02.033)
They do. You know, one of the things that we say here on the Connect to Mom podcast is we don't want moms who tune in and listen to us to feel guilty because so many moms end up feeling guilty like, oh, I can't, you know, do this like her, or I don't school my children this way, or I need to be having family devotions more or whatever. Listen, you can connect with God.
without all the guilt. You know, and God wants you to really just enjoy him. And, and I think there's a huge switch in our connection with God when we stop shoulding ourselves, when we stop saying, Oh, I should pray more. As soon as you say, I should pray more, you're not going to want to, or I should read my Bible more. Then you're not going to want to just.
Take that out of it and enjoy his presence, you know, and connect with him. One of the things I love about your book, Edie, is that you give us all these creative ways to connect with God. What are some of those ways? You've mentioned some of them, taking a walk, taking photos. What are some other ways?
Edie Melson (21:18.946)
Well, one of the things, one of the exercises I have people do, I talk about the woman who's caught in adultery. And I ask you to imagine what it might be from her perspective. You know, she's there, she's expecting everything, she's heard the accusation, she's got to be all tensed up and ready for that first stone to hit. And Jesus bends down and writes something. And instead of that, she hears the stones dropping.
Becky Harling (21:25.937)
Becky Harling (21:40.997)
Becky Harling (21:48.498)
Edie Melson (21:48.818)
and suddenly it's just her and Jesus. And I said, we need to drop the stones that we throw at ourselves. So the exercise is to take two rocks or take two pieces of paper shaped like rocks. I don't care. And write one of them, the lie that you want to shame yourself or should yourself or attack yourself about. Like I'm a bad mother. You write that on there. And
Becky Harling (22:10.926)
Edie Melson (22:16.354)
Then on the other stone, you write what God says, which is, I'm always here. My word never returns void. You are precious. I chose you. I didn't make any mistakes. So you write that on the other rock and on the rock that has the lie, you take it somewhere and you throw it away. And then the other one you put up on your desk.
Becky Harling (22:20.199)
Becky Harling (22:30.92)
Becky Harling (22:37.467)
Edie Melson (22:40.818)
or on your kitchen cabinet or the window sill or something so that you're reminded. That's a creative exercise because you used either a paint pen or a Sharpie or whatever, but that tactile process of doing that is going to make the lesson be internalized more effectively.
Becky Harling (23:05.539)
Yeah, I love that. You know, one of the things that I often suggest when I'm teaching the Word of God, particularly to women, is that they write out scripture verses, you know, because again, our brains are wired such that way, when the more senses are involved, the more you're going to remember it, right? So if you're...
writing and you're using your tactile sense and you're seeing the verse, you're using your sight and then if you're saying it while you're doing it, that just gives the Holy Spirit a whole lot to work with as far as you remembering the scriptures. And you know, for me, I know there have been times where I've written out scriptures and I just try to make them really pretty, you know, and that's another way to, to release creativity. But all of these
are forms of soul care. And what I know is that your soul needs attention, right? I mean, we can't neglect our souls. So, you know, how have you used prayer times as a form of soul care, Edie?
Edie Melson (24:17.238)
Well, I love to do prayer walks, not necessarily with the purpose of praying over a particular place, but as a way to get away and talk to God. Especially as a mom, sometimes it's hard to find a moment. The bathroom is no longer sacred. I remember when my kids were little and my husband was home, I remember locking myself in my minivan in the car, just so I could have five minutes.
Becky Harling (24:26.988)
Becky Harling (24:36.803)
Edie Melson (24:46.822)
It was just, and so, you know, I use prayer that way. And I had to remind myself that prayer is not always me talking at God. And it's not always him delivering a lecture either. It's a conversation. I mean, think about it. Think if the only way we talk to our kids was in formal settings and formal language.
Becky Harling (25:03.044)
Edie Melson (25:12.002)
What a sad relationship that would be. Instead, we want them to share with us. We want to participate with them. We want to be involved. And God's the same way. And so I try to approach my prayers to Him the way I would like my conversations with my kids to go.
Becky Harling (25:32.335)
Yeah, I love that. I think if we could reshape prayer for our listeners, you know, some of them have grown up probably in church settings where they were told, you know, you need to spend an hour a day in prayer, or this is the prayer you need to say, or, you know, this is what prayer always looks like, or this is the posture for prayer all the time. But prayer,
really is just a conversation with God. And if you think of prayer as just enjoying God and spending time with Him, you know, and talking to Him throughout the day, it takes a lot of the pressure out of that, you know, I got to do this, I got to do prayer this way, I got to do prayer this way. Instead, you know,
Uh, just use your car time maybe, you know, moms are always in the car nowadays, you know, and, you know, just use your car time to talk to the Lord or go out and take a walk when the stress gets too much, you know, for those of you that have littles, you know, that hour before suppertime is often awful. And if you can escape for a little while and just take a little walk and breathe and
just talk to the Lord, that's going to reset your soul, you know? Or maybe, you know, I know of one mom who hides in her pantry and she needs prayer time, you know, because she can get away from her kids that way. But, you know, it's just, it's to be an ongoing conversation. I think as I learned that as a mom of four very active, very verbal kids,
That really changes the whole nature of how you connect with God, you know, cause you're just talking to him all day long and you're listening for him all day long. And it's, you know, it can be as simple as Lord, I don't know what to do right now. I need your wisdom or
Becky Harling (27:34.179)
Lord, show me how to love this child in a way that meets their need. And so that idea of conversation throughout the day, I think is key. And I love the idea that you shared, Edie, of going out for a walk, get outside. You know, it's interesting, my husband and I both like to hike and we still do that. In the evenings when he's home or where we're not traveling, we'll go out for a hike together and our family has grown like yours.
four married kids. So we have four kids, four kids in love. Then we have 14 grandkids and it's a lot of people to pray through. But if you're hiking in the woods, you can go through everybody and just have a wonderful conversation with God. You know, um, you talk in the book a little bit about prayer play. What's the difference between having a conversation with God and prayer play?
Edie Melson (28:32.398)
I think for me, it was, it was, prayer play is a lot more active. Sometimes it involves singing. I am not a singer. I'm not gifted musically at all. It's just for me and God. Believe me, nobody else wants to hear me sing. But it might be making up rhymes. It might be any number of things. I've been known to walk and skip. Or, you know, it's just...
It's more of the idea of being with him and talking at the same time. I'm like you are, I had to get past the expectations of what prayer should look like in my life. And I was really excited one day when somebody asked me, how long is your prayer time in the morning? And I went.
Becky Harling (29:14.447)
Edie Melson (29:24.638)
I don't know, because it doesn't end. I talk to God all day. I no longer look at the clock and think, I have to be here for 20 minutes, or I have to be here for 10 minutes, or I have to be here for an hour. I don't measure my spirituality by what I do. I'm just looking to get closer to God. And like I said, we play with our kids. We talk to our kids.
Becky Harling (29:27.099)
Becky Harling (29:35.696)
Edie Melson (29:53.659)
All of that is an aspect of talking to God.
Becky Harling (29:57.315)
Yeah, I love that. You know, one of the ways that I love to pray is by listening to music because music really ministers to me, you know, and when I'm there in God's presence and I'm listening to worship music, I do talk to God, but during part of that time, I'm just listening for him to talk to me and it becomes this beautiful orchestrated conversation and it feeds my soul, you know. And so
I think we here at the Connected Mom podcast, we really want you to connect with God because that's the place where you're going to feel you're loved most deeply. That's the place where you're going to feel like you're treasured, where you're most secure. And so figuring out...
how to do this soul care thing is huge in that way. And so we are out of time, Edie. This has gone so quickly. I love having you here with me. And I just want to ask you to pray over all of our mamas. Some of them have littles at home.
Some of them have school kids, some of them maybe have teenagers and they feel like they need soul care. Some of them maybe have grown children and they're like, yeah, my soul is really dry. So would you just pray for them?
Edie Melson (31:16.43)
Absolutely, what an honor. Most gracious Heavenly Father, how I thank you for each mother listening to this, Father. I pray that first and foremost, you would remove the expectations and the shoulds and that burden that each one is carrying and that you would give them a reset and that you would begin to show them what soul care looks like for each individual.
Lord, we thank you that we are each unique and that I don't process exactly like Becky does and that she doesn't process like I do, but we process the way you created us to do that. Father, I pray that you will fill us up in the bits and pieces of time that sometimes seems so rare in the mothering season, Lord. I pray for glimpses of how our children
are being affected and blessed by having us as mothers, Lord. Everywhere we see all the things we are doing wrong. I pray Father that as you minister to our souls, that you will show us what we're doing right. And I pray Father for the joy to either return or be magnified Father. I pray for this feeling of I can't wait to get alone and have play time with God.
to just fill each of us up. And Father, I pray also that as we go through this process as mothers, that we will be a living example to our children of how to make sure that we stay full of you and connected, and that then we are able at any time you ask us to pour out your Spirit on any situation that we face. Father.
We just ask all of this with the knowledge that you are going to fulfill it beyond our expectation. And Father, I ask this in your son's most holy and precious name, amen.
Becky Harling (33:19.323)
Amen. Hey friends, thank you for joining us today on the Connected Mom podcast. And I hope you're going to join us again next week where we'll have another real conversation that will help you connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms and more intentionally with your child. And hey, would you go to your favorite podcast spot and would you like us there?
and then maybe share it with a friend because we wanna get the word out about the Connected Mom podcast. Thanks for joining us this week and we'll tune in with you again next week.