I’m right in the middle of this sanctifying, exasperating, exhilarating job of raising children.
I don’t quite qualify as a Titus 2 “older woman,” so I’m not going to tell you what you’re doing wrong (smile).
But now that I’m past the preschool years and diving into the teens, I’m seeing some fruit of my early-motherhood days...
The good and the bad.
As I think out loud about what I wish I could adjust, I pray you’ll find encouragement. And if the Holy Spirit nudges you to make any changes... well, my advice is listen, so you can look back on these years with joy rather than regret.
The first change I'd make?
I'd welcome more wisdom from those Titus 2 women.
But in the thick of mothering five little ones, I wasn’t in the mood for advice; I just wanted to survive.
Besides, constructive criticism, no matter how sweetly given hurt. I was doing my best. I just wanted to be told I was amazing for getting out of bed and keeping those kids alive another how-could-these-minutes-possibly-feel-any-longer day!
But today, a decade later, I see some of the gold I pridefully missed. If I could slip back to those wild, exhausting days, I'd heed a little more of that unsolicited, but desperately needed counsel.
Secondly, I’d make firm, loving discipline a top priority. (Which was, of course, part of that counsel.)
I did better with my oldest — my twins, but let things slide with the next three. I know... who doesn't?
But really... the toddler screaming fits? The demands for the snack food they wanted? The delayed obedience?
I've got to say it: I wish I'd put lunch on hold… hung up the phone… stopped cleaning long enough to fully deal with the issue.
I've learned those formative moments create a foundation for the rest of our kids’ lives. If we want them to obey Jesus on His terms, not theirs, it’s our job to teach obedience during nap time, meal time, and clean-up time. It's inconvenient, but the lessons are life-long.
Yes, I did a fair amount "right" back then, by God’s grace, just as you are. But if I can step a little closer to that Titus 2 "older woman" line, let me just tell you, you don’t want to make this mistake.
Your adorable toddlers and preschoolers need you to be brave and bold and loving and teach obedience even when it hurts you more than it hurts them.
Don't grow weary in doing what's right. You will reap the reward in the days ahead.
Thirdly, I’d hold on to Jesus with a deeper confidence.
If I could somehow at least talk with my decade-younger self, struggling to keep her head above the waves, I’d tell her to just trust.
I’d let her know every problem so insurmountable was completely in His hands.
God was bottling every tear, moving in every detail, every circumstance.
He would be faithful, and she would come out on the other side of pain and fatigue better, knowing how good He really is.
But of course, as I write this, I realize it’s not too late. Not really. Not for me, nor for you.
I can still listen to godly counsel. I can seek it out, sift it through, and apply all that is true gold.
I have a choice, even today to put my agenda on hold to teach this growing, stretching brood in my care what joyful obedience is.
And for the rest of my days, I can trust. Be it sunny, foggy, or black as midnight, I can rest in His goodness.
How about you?
What would you change? What would you tell your younger self? What can you do today?
We can learn from our mistakes, definitely. But praise Jesus, His grace and mercies are fresh every morning.
Let's fix our eyes on Him and press on in this holy calling!