A Lot

“My day! You have no idea! One kid woke up from his nap in a worse mood than when he went down, another kid outright refused to nap, another one blew out his diaper, and another one refused to listen to me. And all of them were crying. At the same time!”

I had picked up my husband from work and was telling him about my day.

“All of them?” he asked. “How many kids do we have?”

“A lot. When they’re all crying, it feels like a lot.”

That sums motherhood up pretty well. A lot. This job feels like a lot. These kids are a lot to handle. No matter how many kids are running around the house, it feels like a lot.

I fill my day with exasperated statements. “These kids!” “This day!” The unsaid frustrations sit stale in the air following each thought. “…are driving me nuts!”; “…is too much to handle!” 

And even though I am already dealing with a lot, I find myself wishing for more. More time. More rest. More quiet.

And then I read this:

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him .
Psalm 127:3

and this:

The sons of Obed-edom… were [names 8 children]. God had richly blessed Obed-edom.
1 Chronicles 26:5 

Apparently children are a blessing. Who knew?

People who ache for lost children know that children are a blessing. People who don’t understand why their bodies won’t create or sustain babies to term know that children are a blessing. And every night, when I sneak into my children’s bedrooms and gaze at their sleeping faces, I know this too.

My two boys

But in the middle of the parenting trenches, blessing is usually the last word on my mind.

How can my heart be so ungrateful? How, when these boys were so desired and prayed for?

This week, when I have felt my temper rising, when my patience has become non-existent, and when my tone of voice has reached unkind levels, I have reminded myself about how my boys are a blessing. And when I haven’t been able to shift my perspective because my anger is getting in my way, I’ve asked God to remind me. They bless my life, daily. And even when all of them are crying, they are still, always, a blessing. My gifts.

What have I learned this week? I have learned to be a better Mom. I have learned to love my boys better. I have learned to be thankful for my children, not just when they’re behaving, but in all circumstances. (1 Thes 5:16-18).

I love these kids. A lot.

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My Time

We were sitting around a living room, drinking coffee and nibbling on fresh baked goods. A few kids were in the basement, while mine ran up and down the stairs hoping for just one more bite of blueberry loaf. We were women, together to pray, to learn, and to fellowship. On the video screen was a well known evangelical Christian minister, giving tips on how to study the bible.

“Wake up every morning to spend time with God. Make it a habit. Do it every day until it becomes normal. Never miss a day. Do it for the rest of your life.”*

I sighed. There was no way, NO WAY I can wake up before the rest of my family these days. Normally my husband is prying me out of bed five minutes before he rushes out the door for work. He’s already fed the toddler and I am trying to nab a few more minutes of rest while my newborn lies beside me, suckling.

This is the life of a newborn Mama. Before having Gavin and once Cameron was sleeping through the night, I was up early most mornings in prayer or running (sometimes both). I could wake up an hour before the rest of my household when I was going to bed early and sleeping through the night. But, no matter how good my intentions are, I simply cannot get out of bed before my children when I’ve only had a few hours of sleep the night before. Doing so might result in a pious morning, but would leave me unfit to parent these incredible boys for the rest of the day.

But I take this pastor’s point. Even if waking up early isn’t manageable, it is important to carve out time each day to spend in prayer and scripture. And doing it at the same time every day will create a habit that is harder to break.

It is a lovely thought.

One that is clearly conceived by a man.

I don’t say that maliciously. I just mean that the goal of setting aside one distinct time each day is much more conducive to a typical man’s day than a typical woman’s, especially if that woman is a mother.

Many women, but especially wives and mothers, build their lives around other people. They prioritize the needs of their family above their own. Even our bodies are directly affected by other people as we grow children through pregnancy and nurse them through infancy. Our needs change as we go through each phase of life. Sometimes we need more sleep, sometimes less. Sometimes we can manage exercise, sometimes our bodies are working hard enough as it is. Sometimes our hours in the day are completely engulfed by needy children and needy spouses. Sometimes kids sleep. Sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes finding a minute in the madness isn’t even possible.

This is womanhood. This is motherhood.

This is where I have been this past week. My days have been filled with To-Dos and Should-Have-Dones. My children have gotten on my last nerve and have ridden it all the way past the end of my patience and kept going. I have been staying up long past midnight just to get a few things done and my exhaustion levels are at an all time high.

And my Bible, which had been becoming so alive to me lately, is now collecting dust.

Bible

“Wake up every morning to spend time with God. Make it a habit. Do it every day until it becomes normal. Never miss a day. Do it for the rest of your life.”

Those words from that well known evangelical minister have been haunting me.

But they shouldn’t. Because they’re not Godly.

This is how I’ve been created. I have been given the gift of motherhood and I have embraced it to the best of my human ability (which is so, so flawed). Right now, God is calling me to be a mother; to be a servant to my family by placing my children and my husband (ouch, conviction!) ahead of myself. And sometimes that means that at the end of my day, the time I selfishly wanted for myself, even if that time was meant to be focussed all on God, hasn’t happened. I can add it to the list of stuff to feel guilty about, or I can realize that I am doing what God has called me to do, and sometimes that just requires all of me, every one of my minutes.

As I was feeling guilty and discouraged because my time with God this week has been lacking, I realized that this guilt was misdirected. I should instead be taking those few moments every day when everything is quiet and peaceful, to turn to Him. When I’m nursing, I can put down my iPhone and lift up my heart. When I’m snuggling the toddler, I can stop trying to memorize every single line of Cars 2 and instead bring to mind verses that are stored in my heart.

I’m trying to hold onto my time, and I am doing a lousy job at it. Mothering a toddler and a newborn is pretty much impossible and it takes all I have to just finish off the day feeling proud of how I handled myself (it rarely happens). But this mothering thing, what I try so hard to only fail at, is what God has called me to do. So I don’t have to do it all alone. I don’t have to put all I have into it only to feel wasted at the end of my day.

I can just give it to God. My time. My mothering. My day. My children. I can make that my worship. And I can trust that He will know how to best manage what I am currently managing so poorly. And at the end of my day, if I have done all that and still haven’t found the time to sit down for an hour with him, I don’t have to feel the guilt. Because every moment of my day has happened by being dependant on Him.

*Not a true quote.

SheShares

Looking for an iPhone/iPad background for this week’s Weekly Truth? Look no further!

Edited to add: Tonight, as I snuck away from the house to spend some alone time in a less distracting, hopefully quieter environment, my daily bible reading led me to 1 Chronicles 28:20. It can be totally read as if God came right to this blog and left a comment.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, YOUR God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work [that he called you to do] is finished correctly.

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Second Corinthians Twelve Nine

2 Corinthians 12:9 Lock Screen

I made a lock screen for your iPhone! What better way to memorize scripture than to see it every time you pick up your phone?

To install, visit this page on your mobile device, click on the image and save it to your phone. Go into your Photo library, select this photo, use the arrow in the square button to open the menu and click “Use as Wallpaper”.

SheReadsTruth

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