The elderly lady gingerly walked towards me where I stood supervising my two, four, and six-year-old sons at the church playground. Her bent back forced her to crane her neck upwards to look into my face and when our eyes met, I saw a sparkle there.
“Oh, look at those beautiful boys” she smiled. “Enjoy them, they grow up so fast!” she implored.
Haven’t we all heard that 10,000 times? We mustn’t blink lest they shoot up like weeds and drive away from us tomorrow when we thought we had at least another 10 years. I haven’t even figured out how to teach my oldest to tie his shoes himself yet, and I begin to think that I may never get this motherhood thing down in time.
I’ve heard moms complain about those kinds of comments. Moms whose feet are bare, their hair hasn’t been combed in three days, and they are so caught up in the momentum of needs from their little ones that the early years seem a veritable vortex of time and energy.
Forever lingers minute by minute as time escapes to get everything done that never gets done.
We love our children but we often feel like we take one step forward, two leaps back. The stages of motherhood can ravage us when we fix our eyes on the performance and spiritual growth or lack thereof in our children. Time stands still when we wipe up spilled milk every day-but knowing that time flies makes us feel inadequate to train them well before they grow up!
We start wishing there was a book titled, Motherhood For Dummies so we could figure out how to be better moms.
The idea of our nursing baby heading off to college seems impossible. I too get caught up in the continual rhythm of motherhood.And it makes my world small, and my focus even smaller.
I begin to think that my entire life is about finding a way to prevent my kids from calling one another names when they get angry, or that it’s about being a good housekeeper or washing clothes.
When life as a mother looks a lot like teaching my sons to share their toys, speak kindly to their brothers, and obey mom and dad, I begin to think that motherhood is about my kids.
But motherhood is not simply about being a mom and whether we are successful in teaching them to use a fork or memorize Bible verses for AWANA. Motherhood is about another relationship entirely.
Motherhood is about me and God. Motherhood is about my relationship with Jesus. And motherhood is about my refinement.
I believe that God wants me to train my children to take turns, but in the midst of that, His bigger goal is to remind ME that I need to take turns too-to let my friend have the spotlight, to yield on the freeway, and to offer the best slice of cake to my husband.
In the heat of the moment, I want to lose my lid and shout at my child, and the main issue here is not teaching my son to obey, it’s about training me to have self-control and to speak life and Truth.
It’s the moment in the toy aisle when my boy wants a new truck though he knows we are shopping for his friend’s birthday gift. I say “not today”, and as hard as he tries, he dissolves into tears and protest. I’m tempted to think that this teachable moment is all about him learning contentment instead of realizing that this test is for me-will I have empathy for him knowing I did the same thing that morning when I viewed my friend’s pictures of her new car? Or will I stomp my foot down and tell him he is being selfish, ignoring my own hypocrisy? The log in my eye starts to irritate me more than his public meltdown.
Guide and lead our kids in righteousness, we must. But thinking that motherhood is all about raising our kids to be Godly is only secondary to God’s plan for me as a mother. In a few brief years, those little toddlers of mine will indeed find homes of their own, but this chapter of parenting them is preparing me for the next chapter of my own life and my own spiritual growth as much as it is theirs.
The beauty of this realization is that it takes the results-based pressure off my kids’ performance-whether they do what I say or not does not define my success as a parent. I don’t need to read Motherhood For Dummies because my life is more than raising Godly kids. I’m in tune with the One who wrote the Book of Life and He prompts me to be a Godly kid myself.
YOUR TURN! What quality do you feel God is trying to refine in YOU most as a mother?
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