The other night, I sat by my son’s bedside, praying over him as he battled a bad cough and fever. The light of the diffuser lit up his face as I rubbed essential oils on his back and chest and lastly, on his feet.
It was then that I noticed how much he had grown. His feet looked so big to me, so much different than the ones I used to squeeze and sing the “piggy” song with, the ones I used to touch his nose with as he smiled with glee.
No, instead, in my hands were the feet of a growing boy. A six-and-a-half-year-old who was growing so very quickly, whose body was now 2/3 the size of mine. I’ve been by his side all this time, and still, I couldn’t help but wonder, Where did the time go? When did this happen? What did I miss?
The days seem so very long at times . . . but somehow, the years have begun to stack themselves on top of one another. His years as a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, and now a school-aged boy. I remember once saying, “I have 18 years to have my boy at home–18 years.” And now, I have less than 12. Just like that; I’m a 1/3 of the way through.
The questions began to roll in: Have I done enough? Have I given all that I could? Should I have done anything differently? How do I keep the next six years from going by so quickly? And the next?
My son sniffled a bit at that moment. He looked up at me and softly said, “I love you, Mommy,” then drifted off to sleep. My heart grew warm, and I sat for a bit longer, making sure the cough was completely gone and his fever was under control before laying down to rest.
Just a few hours earlier, all I had wished for was some time to myself, the chance to be in bed before 10:30. It was 2:00 AM before I drifted off. Little did I know that between our son and daughter, it would be the first of thirteen nights that I would be by their side, drifting off to sleep for only an hour or so at a time, as we battled bugs unlike ever before. Being in my third trimester of pregnancy, it also made it one of the most challenging times for me.
Motherhood is such a selfless calling. It is a compilation of moments, not only the sweet ones, but the ones that we sometimes want to wish away and the ones that force us to give up our comfort zone. It encompasses the birthdays, trophies, and milestones along with the runny noses, fevers, arguments, and bad dreams. It’s all of it, moment by moment, stacked upon each other, making up the cherished few years we have to share with our children.
I sometimes wished I could bypass those difficult times, the ones that kept me up late at night or the ones where my children were not feeling well. I sometimes wanted to zoom past the mundane, past the diaper changes, potty training, inconvenient moments, and the ones where I had to step outside myself and give more than I even thought I had. But in retrospect, it was in those moments that I got to show the love of Christ to our babies; it was in the difficult that we raised them up, and in the giving of ourselves, that they learned what it meant to show love and compassion to others and what it meant to give with a joyful heart.
It’s when it’s hard that we learn to not just lean on ourselves but on one another. When I am weak, I get to see the strength in my husband and appreciate all that he does for me and our family. Yes, when I have little left to give, it is then that I can fully absorb his kind words, the sweet gestures, the helpful ways he takes on my responsibilities in order to make it more manageable for me. It is in the difficult that we grow as a couple to take on what life throws at us . . . together.
It is also in the hard times that we are most blessed by our friends and family. It is the kind texts and words of encouragement and prayers of well being that keep us going. It is when we have nothing left in the tank that we are able to humble ourselves and accept gifts of service and support. It is in our turmoil of emotions that others can shine most brightly in our lives.
But it also goes deeper than that. You see, when I am at my weakest, it is then that I am reminded how very much I need Christ to infiltrate every area of my life. I am able to fully abide in Him without reservation and to seek His wisdom and guidance. I can step outside of myself and my own “knowledge” and fully trust in Him. It is in Him that I find strength and the ability to move forward. Yes, sometimes, it is when we are brought to our knees that we can fully see how wonderful and merciful our God is. I am in awe.
I can only pray that I can embrace this ministry of motherhood for all that it encompasses- that, through Christ, I can be the mother our children need and learn the lessons that will stretch and grow me overall as a woman, as a wife, as a daughter, sister, and friend. Yes, it is in the difficult when we are called to see beyond ourselves to the purposes God has in store for us. It is in the challenging when we are forced to slow down, pay attention, and see the beauty in those we love. It is in the hard times that we can more readily embrace the “normal” and mundane as we long to get back to our routines, including the beautiful messes and the organized chaos. For if we wish away the mundane and the difficult, then what would we really have left? Mothering is all of it.
No, I do not wish for the hard times, but I pray that I can bring glory to God when those times come. I pray that I can step outside of my frustrations and open my heart when I am weary to cherish every moment I have with our children and be the light I am called to be. For when the day comes when they leave this home, when the next six years stack themselves upon the next, I want to know that we showed our children how to lean on Christ and move forward in faith so that they may know how to stand in the face of adversity. I want to know that they learned how to graciously and humbly receive the support of others and to give of themselves when others are in need. I want to know that I left it all on the table- that I didn’t hold back or wish parts of it away.
Yes, mothering in the hard times is a greater calling than we sometimes would like to receive, but we serve a God who is even greater. May we lean on Him through it all.
Linking up at: Motivation Monday, Mama Moments Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Mom 2 Mom Monday Link Up, Mommy Moments, Living Proverbs 31, Turn It Up Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Wholehearted Wednesday, A Little R & R, Word Filled Wednesday