I’m working on a post about mothers’ tendency to discuss issues pertaining to their children while those same kids are present in the room with them… but alas, I’ve not gotten very far. It’s been a bit of a slog these past few days. My husband had outpatient surgery on Monday and is 48 hrs into a painful recovery which has left him with the sole activity of lying on the floor (or bed) on painkillers, and I am recovering from an intense sinus infection that emerged the day prior. As well as being nearly 37 weeks pregnant – with a baby requiring more-than-normal monitoring due to an irregular heartbeat. Suffice it to say that these aren’t our finest hours – not for anyone in our family.
By way of a self pep-talk, I just re-read a post I wrote two years ago for Gifted for Leadership called “The Trouble with Harmony.” The topic is addressing life’s annoyances – especially when they’re piled on top of each other – with godly perspective and a Christ-pleasing attitude. Neither of which I’m doing too well right now.
“Lamenting my irksome misfortunes- really just common, low-grade nuisances- and pondering my response, I started thinking about what I want in life when I’m honest with myself. What I really want is simply for THINGS TO GO WELL. More than being famous or rich, I just want a smooth, satisfying life. Don’t we all? You know the types of things I mean: health for myself and my loved ones, a lack of catastrophes large and small, good weather on my vacation.
In a nutshell, I want harmony. If I could just get harmony in my days, then I wouldn’t need to trouble God for anything else.”
(The comical part about this is that we just returned from a vacation with absolutely terrible weather for nearly two straight weeks, among other challenges. Prophetic?) The post discusses the Israelites’ experience with the ten plagues God sent, and this week I’ve found I’ve been reflecting on those plagues too as the term “drowning party” has frequently come to mind as I survey my family.
At the time I wrote the post, though, my kids were 23 months and 7 weeks old. Now they are 2 and nearly 4 years old. Imagine how challenging it must have been to deal with the onslaught of continual plagues – with preschoolers in tow. Wow – tough to imagine. It’s interesting to see how the presence of kids in trying circumstances seems to elevate everything. Tension. Impatience. Self-pity. Frustration. My children have behaved poorly in the past couple days, and some of this likely relates to their sense of the stress in the household – they are subtly aware of it and reflect it back to us. But some of it, frankly, is probably just their response to me – their cranky, worn-out mom who’s feeling at the end of her rope.
This realization prompted me to reflect on another topic I’ve pondered lately – sanctification by mothering. “Encountering and rightly addressing our children’s sin – without sinning against them in the process – is a task that only God is equal to. In our own strength, we could never hope to be the kind of kind of mothers we are called to be. Again and again we must fall on our faces and confess to God our limitations, shortcomings, lovelessness, lack of wisdom. Again and again, as we come to the end of ourselves in our mothering efforts, we must seek and rely on the one who entrusted these children to us in the first place. Receiving his grace, his direction, his supernatural love, his forgiving spirit, his tenderness. And as we abide in Christ in our mothering, he will gradually use our children to make us more selfless, holy, and loving. More like Christ.”
Helpful to re-read those two posts in a quiet moment here. Now on to the infinitely harder task of living them out…