Finding Strength to Embrace Your Family ‘As-Is’
Looking for balance in motherhood? Today I welcome blogger Sophie Elise to share encouragement from God’s Word to help you find your sweet spot in motherhood. -XO, Ruth
I love being a mom. Really, I do. My four kids are my life. Everything I do revolves around them, including my choices of friends, hobbies and career.
But honestly, some things about pre-kids life were pretty amazing.
Like sleep, for instance.
Like being able to clean a room and have it stay clean for more than five minutes.
Like spontaneity, romance and going out with your husband anytime you want.
Like cooking a meal people actually enjoy eating.
Like a few blessed moments of quiet.
Like not having to explain why we use the toilet, why we don’t smell our dirty diapers—or worse, change them ourselves—every single day.
Like having energy, being fun, feeling sane or thinking a complete thought without interruption.
And, at the same time, I am all too aware of how quickly this stage is passing—the constant reminders from those who have gone before really aren’t necessary. Anyone who has lived with a growing child for ten years must be aware of how definitively time passes.
These energetic, hungry, curious little beings will soon grow up and move out, leaving us with far too much of these things we now long for.
Too much quiet. Too many uninterrupted thoughts. Too little laughter.
Just a clean, empty house through which our voices will echo.
And we will yearn for them and for the days where we were all together, making messes, being silly, having fun and building memories.
We will have long forgotten how exhausted, stressed, and frustrated we were. We will look back and see still frames of the best moments—the air band performances in the living room, their ambitious efforts to make us breakfast in bed, and the days when our daughters still thought it was fun to dress up like mom.
My heart aches just at the thought of this looming loneliness, and it makes me wonder: why can’t I live out each day—each moment—as though I was already that future version of myself, the one who knows the value of the noise, the mess, the boring routines? What if I had been given the chance to look back on these years, go back and make changes? What would I wish I’d have done differently? And how might I set the intention of living like that now?
But that doesn’t make it any easier, does it? Just as we struggle when veteran moms tell us to “enjoy every moment,” keeping our future selves firmly rooted in our consciousness at all times is a battle. Why? Because sometimes the reality of parenting is directly at odds with our needs as human beings.
We were created to need sleep and rest; after all, even Jesus slept in the midst of a storm (Matthew 8:24). We were created with a need for occasional times of quietness. Jesus Himself calls us to come away with Him to a quiet place to rest awhile (Mark 6:31). Not only that, but we are called to be good stewards of our homes (Titus 2:5) and to raise up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
How can we find a balance between our needs for sleep, quiet, and rest, our duties to take care of our homes and raise godly children, and our desire to embrace our family as-is—with all the mess, noise and chaos that come with having young children at home?
It is by His strength alone we can find this sweet spot. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:12-14).
There will be days when we get less sleep than we want, and bigger messes and louder noise than we feel we can handle. There will also be many moments when our kids overwhelm us with their love, their insights, their goodness and joy.
And through Him we can find the strength needed to be content with both.
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