Celebrating motherhood, I'm excited to share some perspective from my own mom. She is a super hero rock star in her own right, and gave me the best mother's day gift this year by compiling a few stories and advice. Read more about her background here. Part 1 tells the story of nurturing and journeying with your children. Her real life experience blesses me, and I hope encourages you. I'll let her tell you the story herself:
When I was young, a wise mentor taught me some things that affected my thinking. She taught me that children are a blessing, not an inconvenience, not a burden. Believing this has resulted in an attitude of thankfulness in my heart, through days and nights when I didn’t know if I could really do the job I was called to do. This simple truth has filled my heart with joy throughout the seasons (I think joy and happy are different). The overall job of nurturing their little minds, souls & bodies gave me a sense of joy that the trials couldn’t defeat (although attempted).
Kiddos are a lot of work. They come to us 24/7 and are very needy. Through many years of being stretched, sleepless nights, challenging behavior (mine & theirs!), I felt very overwhelmed at times. Sometimes it seemed as though we did the same thing every day, like we weren’t getting anywhere. The responsibilities and trials of life can be daunting at times. Sometimes it was so hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I learned to walk through those hard times, pressing on in the direction my heart was called to. The Lord gave me strength to continue, sometimes just for the next hour. He also gave me a deep conviction of my calling and the gift these precious people were. In this was an underlying joy in my journey. I am so thankful I realized that at a young age.
So, real life is full of messes everywhere, work calling us, projects needing to be tackled, diapers, meals, meals, and more meals, laundry, cleaning, playing (yes, playing is part of our job, yeah!), shoes everywhere (but not where they are supposed to be, and rarely a pair together), teaching, training moments, deep heart discussions late at night (forget that you have to get up early, grasp this, they are the best!) Some homes are orderly, mine is orderly some time, at others, I have no clue what happened!
We can make a purposeful choice to look for joy in the journey. A choice to pause and to see. To gaze upon sweet little face, and smile. To thank the Lord for piles of dirty dishes. We ate, we were full. When the laundry room is full of dirty clothes, I can choose to see God’s provision, or the endless piles. I can make a choice to see the blessings, or the drudgery. (isn’t any career this way?) My work is much easier when I choose to let my heart choose thankfulness. I try to take time to stop and to not only allow, but to treasure reality in my home. It is a fleeting season, full of life and what comes with life.
I think that the most valuable things in life cannot be bought. Some of the sweet, simple things I shared with my children brought joy to my heart, and I hope theirs. Sometimes I had to snatch time from our responsibilities to get them. If I had waited to plan them, few would have come about. I chose to walk away from a messy house, close a door to a messy bedroom, made a simpler supper, let the laundry wait (yes, it does reproduce), etc. It wasn’t always easy for me to take time out in the midst of responsibilities, a big part of me wanted to get them done. But now that I have 4 grown children, I am so glad we did. Choosing to nurture this way is sometimes hard because you can’t check it off your list, the visual accomplishment isn’t there. Our culture tells us we have to accomplish this or that (I do a good job of telling myself this too). Nurturing children is seldom obvious, but one of the most valuable things we can invest in our children, and probably one of their greatest needs.