So, today was a fairly odd day for me.
My youngest daughter is in half –day Kindergarten, but she went to a friend’s house afterschool today. So I have been alone… in my house… for the last 6 hours.
I picked up this morning… and everything is still picked up. I lit some candles… and no one blew them out. I made myself some lunch… and no one complained or tried to eat off my plate.
I started thinking about next year when all my kids will be in school all day long and I almost broke out in song. Or some kind of Jericho March.
And then my mind immediately began thinking about the last 13 years that I have had small children at home, filling my days and hours with toys, naps, Cheerios on the floor, crying, cleaning, spilling, picky eating, playdates and potty training. I remember the sleeplessness and the weariness. I recall wearing the same sweatshirt for days and practically accosting the Fed Ex guy at the door so I could engage him in adult conversation. (To which he said, “Uhm… nice sweatshirt.”)
A season is ending for me.
And as my “mom of little ones” time is ending, I’m thinking today of my sweet friends who are in the midst of this incredibly wonderful and challenging season.
I just want to tell you something. This time of your life is precious, glorious, life changing… and sweet Mama… it is HARD.
It is relentless and the pressure cooker of all pressure cookers.
My body ached constantly because I spent days on end wresting a toddler in one arm (much like wrestling a wild elephant in my opinion) while carrying an infant in my other arm. (Just so you know, all that Mommy-wrestling is pretty good for the physique… I have discovered a saggy arm situation that I am directly connecting to the fact that I’m not carrying any little people around anymore. Sigh…to the gym I go.)
My emotions consistently ran from extreme exhaustion to extreme boredom. I treasured the moments I had with my children and simultaneously could not wait to get away from them so I could hear myself think. I loved my husband immensely but had to resist the urge to only look at him as “the guy who shows up so that I can go take a shower.”
My spirit longed for time with the Lord… and every sermon that challenged me to spend hours waiting quietly in his presence left me with tears of disappointment. Because my reality was not quiet. Ev-er.
But, I learned to make space where I could make space. My Bible is filled with little hearts drawn by little hands because my children sat with me and we read together. I resisted the urge to believe it only “counted” if I read a certain quantity of scripture. I learned to pray while I did dishes and realized that Bible studies with daily homework were just going to have to wait until a different time of my life.
I invited Jesus into my season and He met me there. In that crazy, chaotic chapter of my life… I look back and see the sweet presence of my God… revealed in whispers of wisdom when I didn’t know how to discipline a child. Revealed in quiet conviction when I knew I had spoken harshly and needed to apologize. Revealed in moments of complete and utter exhaustion where I felt the breath of heaven fill me up to face another day.
And revealed in the way he completely re-shaped this very selfish heart by making me swallow the daily pursuit of my own comfort by deferring to the needs of these four precious babes. Man, did my flesh fight it. I’m slightly embarrassed at the number of moments I threw a baby girl fit because I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.
And yet, 13 years later, I like to think I’m less self-absorbed. I like to think that this pressure cooker refined some things in me that can only be refined by daily dying to yourself and choosing to serve another person… no matter how big or small that person might be.
So, yes… my friend… these years are hard. But they are incredibly special. Resist the urge to put Jesus on the shelf until your life feels more settled. Don’t fall for the lie that Jesus only arrives in the stillness. In my experience, He comes in the thick of it all.
And when you look back… you will see His fingerprints all over it.