Josh and Julia
“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:
a full life:
a joy-filled life:
Julia, Uncle Jeff, Josh, Doug, me
Josh, Doug, Uncle Jeff, Julia, Grandma
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