Considering that it is Mother's Day weekend, I thought I'd reflect on that wonderful vocation. I'm not a fan of celebrating holidays just because I'm told to. I guess it's the latent rebel in me. I've spent over half of my life as a mother now. I've learned some things, but not nearly as much as I wish I'd learned. I've learned much along the way; more than can fill a brief blog post.
I've learned how selfish I am. If you don't know that before you have children, you will learn it when you do.
I've learned how helpless I am. Toddlers? Teenagers? Sickness? Enough said.
I've learned that true blessing is seen only in contrast to the suffering. And I've learned that in the context of relatively little suffering. There are parents who know this better than I.
I've learned that there is a strange law out there which states that our children will ignore a good example we set, even if we live it out daily, but one evidence of a bad example, and they're hooked on it.
I've learned that toddlers are a blast. I love toddlers. Yes, they are a lot of work, but I love to see how their minds are learning and growing. We have friends with a toddler, and the last time he was here, he did both a Darth Vadar impression and an impression of a Wookie. It was so much fun.
There's more I've learned, but I'm hopeful this post will be under 900 words.
What I wish I'd known:
I wish I had understood the difference between law and grace better.
I wish I'd had a teenager around when the kids were toddlers, so I could be prepared for the hard questions that would come up.
I wish I'd known how mentally exhausting teenagers can be.
I wish I'd known that children rebel, no matter how good your parenting is. It isn't a matter of if they will rebel; it's a matter of degree.
I wish I'd understood better the reality that our children can become idols in our hearts.
There is so much more I have learned. My word of advice to young women everywhere who don't have children yet, but will, is this:
Worry less about decorating your home and more about adorning your heart with biblical truth, because that is where you are going to get the wisdom for parenting your children. Worry less about getting ahead in your career because you think you need to be "fulfilled" before your children come along. That fulfillment is a ruse, and will serve you not one bit when you have children. Worry less about earning enough money before you have children because you think you need a whole pile of "stuff" to raise them. When the days are hard, you haven't showered, and your house is a mess, all the money in the world doesn't make you feel better. Buying yourself something pretty to wear might make you feel good for about an hour, but the same realities are there the next day.
Use the time when you don't have children to know your God. Sit under his teaching. Let it soak in so that you're saturated with it. Feel it rush over you daily, drenching your soul. It's the only thing that ultimately sustains you. When days are hard and you need to remember the promises of God, you have to know what they are. The best piece of parenting advice I was ever given was by someone I was fortunate enough to meet through the internet. I've met her a few times in real life. Her advice to me is always to remember the promises of God.
Now, someone make a Mother's Day card with that on it.