I remember so clearly one warm sunny day in May. I had seven children at the time, one just two weeks old. The kids were outside playing under the sprinkler, laughing, making up games. God spoke so clearly to my heart that day, saying, “Cherish this day. Bask in this moment.” I did, and I still do now. Today, three of those little boys are married, two have children of their own, and one of the boys is in heaven, which makes that memory even more precious to me. A dear friend of ours, Doug Oldham, sang a song that I have treasured through the years. It goes like this:
My prayer is that God will burn that truth into each of your hearts and cause you to “Number your days, that you may apply your hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Time is not forever. As a young mom, I thought the season of life I was experiencing (an infant, a couple of toddlers, a preschooler, dirty diapers, in-depth training) would last forever. It seemed impossible to imagine anything different. And yes, looking back, it now seems like each season only lasted a short time and I find myself wishing that season back again, even for just one day!
Each season has blessings all its own. It has its own struggles and challenges, but focus on the blessings. For instance, it was definitely more difficult to manage when I had three little ones and all the laundry, chores and meals to do by myself. Yet now I look back on those days as peaceful and sweet in their own way. The little boys all took naps and I had a time of peace and quiet in the afternoon. I set the schedule and actually had control over it. Bedtime was easy. Now, there’s always so much going on that it’s hard for little ones to sleep.
Rick and I always used to have some quiet evening time to talk and plan. Now we have to do that when we go out to eat. Our house is always a busy place, people coming and going, and when you pull in the driveway, you never know who’ll be there. And yet, my girls fix meals, and the kids do the chores, so things are easier on that score. I have plenty of babysitters, so I don’t have to take four little ones with me when I run errands.
I’m not saying that one season is better than another, but that each has its blessings. If we learn to focus on its blessings and not its irritations, we can learn to cooperate with it. Instead of resisting it, embrace it, throw yourself into it. Young mom, don’t feel guilty for not being involved in a lot of church functions and leadership roles. There’s nothing more important you can be doing with your time than investing it in your little ones and leading them to God.
God plans our “life curriculum,” and, as with our children, things work best when we cooperate with His plan. Some seasons are a huge struggle. It’s hard to be pregnant, feeling sick, and still responsible to train other children, but God gives grace. Look for the positives. When you’re feeling really sick, let the older kids have the opportunity to practice their cooking skills and parenting skills sometimes, too. I learned through eleven years of pregnancy that when you’re not feeling well, it’s usually better to be up and functioning as best you can instead of focusing on how rotten you feel.
We have this moment to hold in our hands – some of those moments are wonderful, precious memories. We take lots of pictures. We have lots of occasions – birthdays, special nights out, Bible quiz nights, fun plan-and-fix-a-meal nights, picnics, cookouts, special Sunday night supper get-togethers. Life is precious and God has blessed us so abundantly. Try to give your children some encouragement and motivation along the way, for all these things build good memories.
Family is important. Make it fun to belong to your family. We laugh a lot! It’s good medicine for the soul. We’ve had some guests leave saying their cheeks hurt from laughing so much.
Make the most of your moments today. Loosen up, look for the positive in whatever you’re going through, and make the memories you’ll all be able to sit around and laugh about for years to come!
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