Time to Lean In and Listen

If on one’s epitaph the quote of what the person said most frequently when they were living had to be written, I suppose mine might say, “I need to go switch laundry.” Although, “Have you finished your math?” might be a close second.

This mothering business is for real, y’all. My kids are 12, 11 and 9 right now. You could say we are about halfway through raising them under our roof, and to be honest, I’m getting tired. I thought I was tired when I was changing diapers and wiping runny noses. I thought I would never make it out of the “teach-them-their-colors” and “how-to-read” phases, but I made it! And they all know their colors and how to read. Amazing. Even more amazing—no one asks me to wipe their behind or to help them blow their nose anymore.

But halfway through and I am feeling myself (read: MY FLESH/SIN NATURE) rise up against the daily tasks of motherhood and home schooling. I daydream about what it would be like to not “just be a mom.” Because let’s be honest, motherhood is just about the least glamorous thing going. Most of motherhood is work. It’s laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, listening to stories about wrestling or stories about what happened at youth group. It’s vacuuming and dusting. It’s picking up toys, reading books, kissing boo-boos. It’s cleaning toilets and sweeping and mopping. It’s monitoring time spent on devices—oh, the devices. I hate them, but I know I need to train the kids in how to use them and warn them of the dangers. We don’t live in the 1800’s. It’s lying in bed at night wishing you had handled that issue with more patience and grace. It’s wondering if you are teaching them well and praying they will not remember all the times you fail miserably.

This is not intended to be a pity-party. I promise. I know I could also list all the joys of motherhood—and there are many! I just felt the need to be real for a moment and say out loud (or type and post) that IT’S OK TO ADMIT THAT THIS IS HARD. It’s ok to not love every part of what you are doing as a mom. But it is not ok (I’m particularly speaking to me here) to quit. To wallow in the hard places. To throw up my hands and say, “Whatever!” Nope. It’s not time for any of that.

This reminds me of Florence Chadwick.  She wanted to swim to the shore of mainland California from Catalina Island. She swam for fifteen hours and then begged to be taken out of the water.  Her mom encouraged her to keep going and told her she was so close.  Yet, Florence, completely exhausted, stopped swimming.  She was pulled into the boat and then realized she was less than half a mile from reaching her goal.  Here is what she said at a news conference-

 “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

So what is it time for? It’s time for perspective.  It’s time for strength to rise.  It’s time for faith to swell. How does a mom do that?  How does a mom see what she can’t see?  Only the Lord and His Word gives me the strength and perspective I need. Just like any other time or under any other challenging circumstances, it’s time to, as Joshua 3:9 says, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”

And as I have leaned in to hear what The Lord would say to me over the past few weeks, these are some of the things He has spoken to my heart:

From Psalm 3— “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.”

From Psalm 4— “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their new wine and grain abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You, LORD, alone make me dwell in safety.”

From Psalm 5— “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy…And may You shelter them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

From Psalm 9— “I will tell of all Your Wonders…..That I may tell of all Your praises…”

From Psalm 16— “ I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’…You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

There have been recurring themes like ~ Joy ~ Gladness ~ Favor ~ Shelter ~ Shield ~ Surround ~ Sustain ~ Sleep ~ Awake ~ Alone ~ Rest ~ Trust ~ Submit ~ Yield ~

And in my journal I have written prayers and thanked God for the Truth of His Word that is meeting me in the tired days of motherhood. His presence gives me strength and wisdom that I need to press on and do the work of motherhood with gladness. It’s daily—moment by moment even.

No matter where you are on your journey of life, let’s all listen to Joshua in chapter 3, verse 9 and

“Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”