Time, slow down. It is a common phrase whispered in the hearts of mothers as they look upon their children and see the many years quickly going by, as if being played on fast-forward. Little years of discovery, growth and love are somehow disappearing just as quickly as when they first arrived.
Sometimes, though, that phrase is not the one always being echoed in the heart of a mother. Rather, it is almost as if time could slow down no more, because you feel like it has been put on pause. The pause? It can feel long and tiring. You feel drained and you feel like you need a constant stream of caffeine being pumped into your system just to make it through the day.
There are many times when I feel like the pause button has been pressed and the machine has malfunctioned – and here in this moment life will forever remain. The cycle of dirty clothes in the washing machine from an unwilling potty-training participant is forever going, the one-year-old whose anger is in constant need of being prayed over and soothed is wearing, and the tending of the heart for the child struggling with obedience can seem almost useless. These moments are hard. These moments wear. These moments are when I find myself desperate to reach out for that play button, so as to get through these hard times.
Three children, each with their own beautiful and unique personalities; three children, each with their own personal struggles. Navigating their individual needs and their individual brokenness and pointing them to the only One who can change them and breathe redemption into them…can be so challenging. Where in every way I try, I often feel like I also fail. This work of parenting, of intentional parenting – it is hard.
“Parenting is holy work and holy work is hard.” – Ann Voskamp
Then yesterday I see a group of students. Students who have just finished their last year of high school, students who have now stepped into a new realm. They are stepping out of that which signifies youth and into a place which represents the beginning of adulthood. I think of their mothers. I think of the hard moments that were had in their own homes. I think of the times those mothers felt what I am feeling. I think about these mothers who sacrificially poured themselves into these once young children, now turned new adults. I think about the many prayers prayed from the souls of these mothers over their child. I think about how these mothers who have watched the beautiful gift of transformation occur in their child. Do they feel like the pause button was somehow released without them knowing?
I sat in my seat and watched each graduate being presented. My eyes felt the sting of moisture as I thought of my own children. I looked upon these young men and young women and I saw the strength that is within them. I saw the result of a lifetime of love being poured into them; I saw the result of a lifetime of Jesus being poured into them. I looked over at the mothers and my heart felt encouraged. These days I am in are hard. The days to come, will be hard. I can only hope, pray and trust in He who is sovereign. I can only trust and pray that at the end of all these hard days, my children will rise up and be ready to step out into the world with the strength of their rescuer coursing through their veins. I pray every hard moment spent in the trenches will be redeemed for His glory and my children will be refined through all those moments. I pray that I not take my work lightly; This parenting thing, it is among the holiest work I can do for the kingdom.
In these long and weary days I am in – I pray that my strength will come from Him, I pray that my soul stays in constant connection to Him and I pray that my decisions come from the wisdom found in Him. In these days of raising children, may I rejoice in the holy work I get to be a part of in my children’s lives. For our good and His glory, may these days (even those difficult) produce arrows strong and arrows sharp.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Psalm 127:4