A Charge to Young Mothers at Christmas:
I write not to indulge in self-pity or ungratefulness. Nor do I want to bring anyone into condemnation on any account. However, as it often happens at this holiday season, nostalgia sets in, and one thinks about what has been, and what is, and what is to come. And though I have made a firm decision not to mourn overly much what I can not change or bring back, I still can not ignore the emotions of this time. So I write to encourage you to please not let the exhaustion and challenges of this season of mothering the small ones (for it is all too fleeting) rob you of the joys of it! Treasure and openly value these little guys, savor their unfolding personalities. Get to really know them. Don't forget that they are sinners in need of a savior too, and that it is God's design that they will be your main discipleship project for the next few years. The success or the failure of which will be a life-long reward or a life-long regret; our comfort or our torment in old age. And also is much of our preparation for ministry. Do not let the tyranny and urgency of other “good things” eclipse your first priority to raising your Godly Family. Remember it is only a season, and it is a very short one! It goes by very quickly.
My emotions at this time are two-fold. First and foremost I rejoice, (if it sometimes takes a conscious act to do so) in the wonderful family that I have now! The fruit of my labor is beginning to show up; and it is very rich and wonderfully rewarding! However, on the other hand, who knew that I would miss the years of work that got me here? If anyone had told me then, when I was up to my ears in house work, child training, and riding the emotionally charged roller-coaster of postpartum hormones (mixed with perimenopausal symptoms!), that I would actually one day miss it all, I would have thought they were crazy! But I do! I miss my kids being little, and all tucked safely in their beds at the end of the day, knowing their activities, knowing their friends (and the parents of them), and all their likes and dislikes. I miss being asked for help, having them run to me when things are broken, sure that I can fix anything, and going to the park, and meeting Gene for lunch – all of us together. I miss being able to thrill and amaze them.
The time has come, and it came so quickly, that they have realized that I am flawed and have ceased being awed! They are beginning to make all of their own decisions themselves. They are beginning to branch out and develop the beginnings of their own families! Other relationships have slowly eclipsed the family relationships which I have come to treasure so deeply. And instead of wanting my help, they increasingly seem to resent my counsel and knowledge. (My rather impressive track record of being right – a lot - suddenly means nothing to them! Go figure! lol)
This is, of course, all a part of the natural flow of becoming a grown-up, and it is even all good, in its own way. And though I look forward to the new families that God is making, and especially to that mystery of Grand-children; like lots wife, I still can not help looking back. I am thankful for His grace, for without it I would likely be one big salt block! In looking back, I find myself wondering if I did everything I could have, and I also grieve, seeing the mistakes I made. I find myself often seeking reassurance from God that I gave the best of what was in me to give, at every moment. Thankfully, because of the help of the holy Spirit, I can honestly say I have few regrets.
Yet I must remind myself to focus, as I did then, on who they are now. In going through their clothes, books and toys, etc., to get rid of the stuff in storage, I am gripped with a longing that is difficult to repress. It seems especially tender now that Christin has decided to spend the entire Christmas Holiday with the family of this young man that has come into her life only this year.
I have prayed for this young man for 19 years, yes, this very one, I suspect. But, somehow, now that he is here, and though he seems to be all that I prayed for, I am having difficulty liking him, because he is moving in a bit faster than I can comfortably adjust. (And, it doesn't help that my headstrong, love-sick girl is galloping after him at a speed that frightens me!) And since I have no access to brakes of any kind, I have to remind myself daily that it is okay, because God is not taken by shock as I have been, He is, and always will be in complete control! (Besides that, I comfort myself with this knowledge, if I made it, they will be okay. He got me here, straight from hell, He can surely lead them through whatever life hurls at them as well.) These kids are smarter (in that they are less emotionally fraught with distracting emotional challenges!), more secure, more informed, better educated, physically & emotionally healthier, more blessed materially, and they have a wonderful support system. I had none of these advantages, but they also have the one secret weapon that I did have, Jesus the Messiah, and His precious Holy Spirit.
Though I have always known that good parenting means that you eventually “work yourself out of a job”, now that I am facing the realities of it I can not like it. Not that it matters, life goes on despite my likes and dislikes, that is certainly not new! Lol So I guess despite all the many changes that my life currently consists of there are some things that never change. God is Good, but He is not interested in my fleshly comfort one iota. Disappointments can be His divine appointments, if you let patience have her perfect work. Its not over until it is over (so don't draw too many conclusions ahead of time). And I must continue to live in the now, to appreciate who they are now. I do not want to grieve their baby-hood to the point that I miss all the wonders of who they are becoming! These are some awesome people of God growing up around here. I am constantly amazed at how that happened!? There must be a God! Lol I am more sane, not less sane! They lived to grow up! They did grow up and are secure and mostly well adjusted! These are all miracles of Biblical proportions! I really am not kidding. I am very serious. So, honestly, I must say that the young adult stage is my least favorite season of parenting so far. But then again, I think if I didn't have that selective amnesia that comes with parenting, I would have to say that about all the stages when I was in them! And for the same reasons! It was scary, unfamiliar territory!
So my point is, don't let it freak you out, wear you out or take you out. But if you need to, don't hesitate to call out! I am out here in front of most of you, Ken & Kay are up there calling to me! We must just keep walking, keep focused, keep our priorities right, and it is sure to be alright. He leads us (and them) in the paths of righteousness for His names sake! Isn't that our goal too? ~Selah!