“Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.”–Ann Voskamp
I have become one of those moms.
The kind who finds herself staring longingly at babies and toddlers with a sweet rush of nostalgia…followed by an urge to admonish the mother to cherish this precious time because it ends all too soon, like sand rushing through an hourglass.
That is exactly what earnest older moms would tell me when Josh and Julia were little.
I would smile politely, not believing a word of it.
But, oh how true those well-meaning words were.
I did catch glimpses of it. I distinctly remember one afternoon pulling into the parking lot at McDonalds in our small Rhode Island town. Each Tuesday, my friends and I would take the kids to McDonald’s for craft time. The kids were taught fun crafts while the moms had the chance to enjoy some coffee and adult conversation. Then we would all walk across the parking lot to the bookstore at the mall for “Storytime with Miss Lisa.” One golden spring morning, I held their small hands as we walked into the restaurant, listening to their excited chatter and thought to myself, “Treasure these days. They won’t come again.”
Now that my children are teenagers, it would be easy to romanticize those days of diapers, long nights and early mornings, sippy cups, spilled milk, sticky hands, boo-boos, car seats, high chairs, and play dates. To some extent, time does blur those memories. However, I know several young women who are in that stage right now and I easily recognize the exhaustion, the tired smiles, the seemingly never-ending attempt to juggle so many roles with some degree of success.
During Bible study this week at my church, several precious young moms honestly shared the common struggles of young motherhood…particularly in a culture that tends to downplay and even deride the choice of those who choose to stay at home to raise their children.
I will never forget going out to dinner one evening with one of my husband’s work colleagues and his wife. Neither of them had children and both were enjoying thriving careers. Once they discovered that I was a stay-at-home-mom, their interest in me visibly waned. The conversation turned at one point to previous jobs…but they never even asked me what my backround was. They simply saw me as a mom and that was all…they dismissed me.
I wanted to defend my decision…to tell them that I possessed a masters degree, that I had lived 30 years before I had my first child…that I had had a life.
Yet…THIS was LIFE:
It is a life filled with such precious moments that I would not change one second of it…even the most difficult. And it IS difficult…there is no denying that. It is the hardest, most demanding job most of us will ever do.
I spoke with a young mom last night whose husband is involved in a thriving ministry. Almost daily, he receives voluminous letters and emails thanking him for the amazing ways he has impacted lives. This is good and right, as he has been given an incredible opportunity to pour out his many gifts for the sake of building others up in their faith.
However, no one sends her effusive emails thanking her for the many hours she spends driving, cooking, wiping runny noses, helping with homework, mediating sibling disputes, doing mountains of laundry, teaching, reading, giving baths…all the many roles involved in being a mom.
Yet…and most importantly…there is One who sees:
*the daily choice to die to self
*the opportunities to lovingly pour out all one has and is for the sake of another’s developing eternal soul
*the many joys along the way…as well as the many tears
He sees you today, young mom. Treasure these moments…because I promise you, when these hard and joyous days are over and live on only in your memory, you will miss them. So, fully enter the moment, experience it all and give thanks for the gift of your children.
“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”–Henry Ward Beecher
5 responses to “A Sacred Vocation”
I agree with you!!! I truly tried to savoring every moment with my son, Daniel, as he grew up. It never was enough!!!!
Oh my goodness — the tears they are a flowin… (No “G” because in the South, we don’t bother with them … hehe!)
I love this post — every single word was ordained, necessary and so true.
I love, love that you included a shout out to the youth mothers who so faithfully serve ALONGSIDE of their, serving in ministry, husbands. Don’t forget, sweet young moms, that if you feel invisible to the world, overlooked or dismissed in your day to day life that the SAVIOR YOU LOVE AND SERVE sees every single loving, selfless, thoughtful, thing you do. You are so important! You matter and every single decision you make over the course of any average day makes a difference. KNOW THAT!
Lastly, Susan, it has been such a privilege and joy to raise our family with alongside of yours. We can’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine our lives without the Brown family — including Grandma Mabel, Uncle Jeff, Buddy the dog and Bob the Banana!
I, too, sat mourning the youth of my children. Then God spoke to my heart. I must enjoy the present for there to be memories. I can look back later, right now our teens need our time and attention. I am so grateful our Lord woke me before those teenage years past me by. As very difficult as these years with our children can be, there will always be days, perhaps moments that we can treasure.
Susan, thank you for reminding us that our memories of those long-ago days are a bit fuzzy. Fatigue, weariness, and feeling like a failure (because God obviously gave me the wrong children!) nipped at my heals many days when they were very young. He didn’t give me the wrong children, He gave me children that would draw me ever closer to my Heavenly Father! And still He draws knowing I haven’t the brains or resolve to continue raising these wonderfully, precious young people. Thankfully, He’s never left my side! And yours as well. Thank you for your inspiration Susan. Thank you for speaking to our hearts and encouraging us to view life with a different perspective.
Just checking in to say that I love you. I adore you and I am so grateful for our long and lasting friendship. As a matter of fact, the only fault I can find with you and this goes for the rest of the Browns and Wichtermans is that you LIVE TO FAR AWAY FROM ME!
Awww, Susan…how your kids’ big smiles brought a smile to my face, and your words a smile to my heart! =) Because I’ve only known your children as teens, it was so very sweet to see these pictures of their little selves. Being able to “look back” while already knowing what they’d be like as teens, in a way none of us could when when we were living those early years with our kids…it makes me think our heavenly Father might see us the same way, in this very moment. With a smile on His face and in His heart. Because He loves us. So much.
And it encourages me too, to appreciate these days, and the sometimes sleepless nights. It’s still hard, my smile is still often exhausted, and even after all these years, it’s still sometimes too easy to think that maybe, just maybe, the world was right about devoting my life to raising God’s children for Him.
Which is when, by His grace, I remember that He sees what I’m doing today…an older mom. In His love, He reminds me to treasure even these moments. And I feel a tug on my heartstrings and hear His whispered promise that when these hard and joyous days are over and live on only in my memory, I will miss them. Because I love them. So much.
So, moms of teens =), fully enter the moment, experience it all and give thanks for the gift of your children, for the gift of time with them and the gift of God’s promise that He will always be with them. Because He loves them. So much.
Thank you for encouraging the younger moms, Susan, and for encouraging me! You are a blessing!