You know I do. Sitting in a hospital room for 24 hours a day leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. And while I've caught up on thank you notes, shopped online and addressed our Christmas cards, I've also had a lot of time to think. It's amazing the things you think about when you are alone most of the day without the distractions of kids, work and life in general. At first I found it tedious. Boring even. But then I started to look at it from a different perspective. I would NEVER in my life have this time again. In 14 short days my days of watching movies on Netflix and doing crossword puzzles uninterrupted will be long gone. In there place will be loads of poopy diapers, dance classes and t-ball games. Life is going to be chaotic, to say the least. I will have no more me time. But guess what? I can't wait.
The hardest part of my hospital stay most definetely has been not seeing my kids as much as I would like. They try to come up daily, but some days they just can't. I miss them terribly. Miss hearing about their day at school, doing Keller's homework with him, giving Presley a bath. All those things I took for granted now that I'm the one that can't do them. So I started thinking about time. Specifically the time we spend with our kids.
What distracts us from time with our children? In every family this looks different, but it’s important to take an honest look at our own schedules and to adjust so that we can come alongside our children as they walk through this tricky thing called life.
I would be willing to bet that when you ask your kids when they are older when they felt most loved they would say it was in the unplanned moments sitting around a table and telling stories, or laughing at something silly until milk comes out of their nose, or when mom or dad sits beside their bed at night and asks them about their day–and really listens. Time equals love to a child, even if they don’t tell us in those words.
I’ve got two (almost four) amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not so good. In other words they’re pretty normal. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome – and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome – there aren’t any guarantees.
Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.
And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.
So, what’s a mama to do?
Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves. We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.We get to do all that.And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won’t misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won’t always make me feel good or look good.If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I can’t let their failures send me to bed. And I can’t wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.
Motherhood is tough you know?
It really is.
However, it’s also our only opportunity, our only time to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make. Won't you join me?
Dear Lord, time passes so fast and I feel pressured by so many things. Please take inventory of my life and show me the places where I need to adjust. Look at every area and help me to know how to find balance, and to connect with my beautiful child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen