Moms, I get it. I really do. Our plates are full with diapers and car pools, baby food and homework help, cleaning toilets and going to the grocery store (or is that just me?). These are the Really Important Things that must be done for our families to survive. This is what we signed on for when we began dreaming of booties and cribs, and we can’t let everyone down. And you know what? You’re right. This is what we signed on for – this messy, less-than-perfect, sticky, mostly beautiful life. But can I share a little truth with you? One that I hope will put your crazy, sleepless nights into perspective? This life that you are living? The one that doesn’t look like anything in the magazines and sometimes seems to suck all of the energy right out of your bones? This is your real life now, the one that God has given to you for this season, and He wants you to live in its fullness. I don’t know about you, but I find that difficult to remember in the day-to-dayness of my life. I do the same things day after day, week after week. The laundry never stops, bellies never get full, and dust always seems to settle right back onto the furniture. When my son was born, it seemed like many of my personal dreams had to slide into the background for a while. I thought about all the writing I wasn’t doing, and I missed playing the piano, but I couldn’t find the time or the energy. But I learned something. That was just a season. For the past two years, we’ve been in the preschool season, which means I do have a few hours each week that I can do some things without being interrupted. And somehow, my to-do list still exceeds the number of hours that I have. But this, too, is just a season. Next year, he’ll be in kindergarten, and I’ll have even more hours. And then homework will start, and sports will start, and piano lessons will start, and we’ll be busy in a different way. But that will just be for a season. Life is full of seasons, and just like in nature, seasons of life will change. The challenge to us as moms is to embrace each season that God gives us and live fully as His beloved children in each one. So how do we do that? 1) Embrace the season where you are. In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon tells us that “there’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (The Message). Every season is not for doing everything. Living in such a global world, with opportunities literally right at the tips of our fingers (and on the surface of our screens), we can experience and do and live so many more things than our grandparents and even our parents could have imagined. But that doesn’t mean that God intends for us to do all those things all at once. We have to use godly discernment, found in the Word of God and through the wise counsel that He places in our lives, to decide what choices are best for our families in our situations today. No two lives are the same, and what God gives to my friend may not be the same as His best for my life. Which leads me to this… 2) Make first things first. Regardless of what your life looks like today, there are some things that should remain constant, especially making time for reading God’s Word daily, talking to Him in prayer, and keeping your mind focused on Him. While you may not have an hour each day of uninterrupted time for Bible study and prayer, and you may not be able to muster up the energy for an in-depth study, taking at least five minutes each day to read a passage and ask for God’s wisdom for the day needs to be our first priority. For some of us, that may mean setting the alarm a few minutes earlier. For others, it may mean waiting until the kids are on the bus or are in bed for the night. Whenever you can squeeze it in, do so. Moms, we can’t do this in our own strength. Being a godly woman is too hard and too overwhelming if we don’t go to the source of that godliness – the Lord Himself. Ask for His wisdom and guidance in ordering your steps for the day. Susanna Wesley, mom to famous theologians Charles and John and 17 other children, was known to cover her head with her apron to find quiet moments to spend in prayer. Some of my best prayer time happens in the shower. Whatever you need to do to make it happen, put first things first and make time each day to spend with God. 3) Set realistic goals. I have a small black notebook where I keep ideas, quotes, lists, goals, prayers, and anything else that pops into my head and needs to be written down. From this notebook, I occasionally take a morning to weed through what I’ve written down and set some goals for myself for a couple of months at a time. Other dreams stay in the notebook, and I recognize God may fulfill them in a different season, but not right now. I also keep two calendars – a very detailed calendar on my phone (which syncs to my computer) that is with me at all times and a general calendar in the kitchen. The kitchen calendar can be consulted by any family member at any time. If it’s not on the calendars, it probably won’t happen. Setting goals and planning a calendar certainly do not guarantee that everything will run smoothly, but it gives me a place to begin. 4) Keep things in perspective. Kids will get sick. Cars break down, grocery prices rise, bones break, and milk spills. Our best laid plans are derailed almost every day. And yet, if we really believe that God orders our days and has our best in mind, then we can rest assured that even when life is messy (and the counters have something sticky all over them that just won’t come off), He is in control. God is not surprised by anything that comes into our lives. His perspective is all of eternity – the big picture – while we can only see what is right in front of us today. God measured the earth, shut up the sea, and put the sun in the sky (Job 38). If He has done all of these great and mighty works of creation, He can surely order our days better than we can. Questions for thought:
- Where do you find yourself today? Are you content with the season in which God has placed you? What is one way you can embrace your life today?
- Are you spending daily time with God in Bible study and prayer? What one improvement do you need to make in this area?
- Are you setting goals or just wandering through life? Make one short-term goal that you can accomplish within the week (for example, catch up on laundry or organize the kids’ school papers).
- Plan for the unexpected. Stay flexible and be ready to just go with whatever God sends your way today, knowing that you can rely on His strength to help you adapt.