Enjoying the season

When I woke up this morning, the thermometer read “8 degrees”.  Knowing that I was going to be taking kids to church so that I could practice organ (and that the heat wouldn’t be on), I was dreading that uncomfortable cold feeling we’d all be having soon.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t finding much to rejoice about in winter.

Though I’m not exactly referring to the different seasons of the year in my post title, it does fit the theme.  It’s a matter of contentment!

So often, it can be easy for a mom to lament what “season” of life she is in.  Yesterday I was struck by such strong pangs to hold and care for my own baby again that I could only cry.  Then I looked at the sweet little three year old beside me and allowed my mind to wander back to a time in life when I was cradling him, so new and tiny.  I’ve been blessed to walk that season of life three times, and for that I am extremely grateful.  I see my growing children, getting thinner in their faces, losing that baby pudge more by the year.  I see their personalities growing stronger.  When they’re being stubborn and willful, it can be hard to see the blessings of this season of life, but the truth is that there are many.

Yes, it is so sweet to lean over a baby and feel the satiny softness of their whispy hair and breathe in that lovely scent that only a baby has.  A brand-new life holds such exciting promise.  Do they ever grow up fast!

Before you know it, those baby days are behind you.  You look back and realize that you spent too many of those moments bemoaning your short nights and sleep-induced brain lapses.  You want it all back to do better the next time.

But, even if you could do it all over again, you wouldn’t do it better.  Oh, sure, maybe some things would be different, but at the end of the day, you’re the same old sinner, and each of those sins is equally as bad as the next.  We’re not capable of “doing better”.  We can pray that the Lord would use our mistakes to teach us, but we’re not here on earth to continually gain a higher level of goodness.  We’re just not equipped.

I’m not saying these things to be Debbie Downer.  I think it’s important to stay grounded and remember what we are without Jesus!  If Christ had not been raised, we would still be in our sins.  Hallelujah, however, because he WAS!  He IS alive and is waiting beside your place in heaven!

Our thankfulness will motivate us to want to do better–and that is important.  God takes note when we praise him.  Of course, he doesn’t miss a beat,  no matter how sweet (or sour) the accompanying notes may be!

Will we ever be the parents we want to be?  Not on this side of eternity.  After all, who doesn’t want to be perfect?  When you care about something so much (like you do about your kids), you don’t want to accept imperfection–but you have to.  Anyway, you in all your imperfections were good enough for Jesus to take the time and make the sacrifice.

Did I lose track of my preface?  Not really, but I am going a roundabout way to wrap this all together.  I’m just trying to get to the heart of how so many moms feel.

I am pretty hard on myself–to the point that when I was student teaching, my supervising teachers didn’t really even want to bring up anything negative because they were confident that I was already aware, was problem solving how I could do better, and was disappointed in myself enough, as it was.  Hearing them say so to me was a bit hard to swallow, because I know that I’m overlooking one important thing.  Jesus died for me, too.  If he could forgive me, then I need to, also.  If I can’t even forgive myself, what sort of example does that set?  It’s just plain hypocritical, when I expect that my kids will forgive one another.

Just as it is the gospel which motivates us rather than the law, nothing good can possibly come from me when it’s coming from my feelings of guilt.  I am trying very hard to accept the fact that I’ve made mistakes and that I will again tomorrow.  I’m trying to see myself the way God does.  He has the power to bring forth fruits of the Spirit in me: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness…I’m going from memory here so I may be overlooking some or adding new ones.  Forgive me.

Forgive me.

Forgive yourself, self!

I may have messed up in certain ways when the kids were babies (and still do today), but looking back I can also see so many blessings.  Oh, such sweet memories…

God has tucked away what lies ahead for me (and you), and how he must chuckle over the treasures he has in store while I’m down here wondering.  Will there be more moments with a downy head under my chin?  Will there be other opportunities for me to fight away the temptation to grieve night-wakings?  Will I spend my last days on earth with all three of my little blessings that I’m now walking through life with?

Sometimes I feel short of breath and my heart starts racing when I realize that  Little One has only one more year at home before he heads off to kindergarten.  How could I have gone back to teaching and stolen away some of that potential time with him?  How could I do that again next year?  My oldest two are gone most hours of the day, and my time with them is limited and precious.  It’s too often easier to grieve that fact than it is to be thankful for the precious moments that we do have!  Shame on me.

God calls each of us to himself every time we see our sinfulness.  It stings to see the messes we’ve made, but it turns our hearts to him.  Every single one of those sweet blessings was heaven-sent.  Every good thing came from him.  And, those less-than-ideal ones?  He’s worked those out for our eternal good, despite ourselves.  It’s mind-boggling, God’s grace!

So, dear heavenly Father, my prayer for myself and all my colleagues out there in the world (you mommies, that is) is to please keep our hearts and minds on YOU.  May our actions stem from our joy in the forgiveness you lavish upon us–our motivation from that which awaits us beyond these days on earth.  Then, may we find ourselves grateful for each bit of our days, trusting that even the bad parts are made good by your power and grace.  May our children see our love and appreciation for who they are today, as we embrace whatever season of life you’ve place us in, even though we know not where the next season will take us!  Keep us at peace and trusting in you, I plead.  You will provide.  Matthew 6:33!

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