Friday, May 3, 2013

how to enjoy the messes, the hard days, and all the seasons of motherhood

Noah, my second son turns 8 tomorrow. It's so weird how fast it happens- the days when they are 2 seem to drag on forever, but once they hit 4 or 5 you start to wonder where a whole year went. How do the days seem so long and the years so short?

it seems like yesterday they were this big... noah and elijah with their daddy in 2008
My children's birthdays always make me feel a little bit sad. I'm excited for them to grow up- I love seeing them learn and get bigger {and more independent!}, but at the same time it's bittersweet because I know it won't be too long before they will be leaving to start their own lives.

Each season is so much shorter than I even realize.

I just don't want to mess up this season of motherhood, you know? I want to give it my very best, and yet I fail at being a good mama and wife all the time. I know this is human, this is what it is to live in flesh, yet my heart still desires to be better- to love them more, to be a sweeter mama, to be less busy and more aware of their needs before they even ask. Before it's too late and they're all grown.

I want to be a good wife while I'm still young. When I turn 67, I want to look back and say I didn't do too badly when I was 30. :)

It's so much easier to put things in perspective when you think of the big picture of years...but I think my main problem is that I'm a little short-sighted during the days.

I so often forget that every little choice I make each day will add up to the decisions I made for the years.

Will my children remember a mama who really harped on them for every mess they made and how they should do better? Or will they remember a kind mama who knew how to keep a house clean and taught them well how to do the same?

The difference of those two is in how I teach them with my words and actions. There's nothing wrong with a mama keeping her house clean and teaching her children to do the same, but how their mama reacts to them makes all the difference in the world.

But how do I love this life? How do I enjoy the messes and the interruptions instead of wanting them to be over? How do I react to them with kindness and love? I want these to be the good days, the good months, the great years. They might be my only ones, after all. I don't want to see each day as another one I have to get through.

I want God to remind me of how fleeting this life is so that I will see the big picture more often. I love what is written in the Psalms- it's what my heart is crying for right now:

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Psalm 39:4

I need the Lord's help on every level, I really do. I make a lot of mistakes. I sin constantly, and without Him I will never get this. I don't know how to do it without Him- my heart needs Him to give me wisdom. How do I interact with these people I live with so that our lives are joyful and sweet instead of stressed and irritated? I'm full of flesh and they are too. I'm tired at the end of the day, and they are too. We are sinners, all of us.

It only makes sense to ask God for help... is there any way to get it right other than to go to the Creator of marriage and motherhood Himself?

This is what He taught us through His word- here's one way we can love this life and see good days on this earth as believers in Christ. It in our actions and words- we are called to bless:

1 Peter 3:8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10For

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

For some reason it is so easy to only think of those verses in terms of dealing with outsiders, but I want to have sympathy, a tender heart, a humble mind, and brotherly love when it comes to my family too. Why is that always so much harder??

We won't be less accountable to do those things with our family- instead I think we might be more accountable because we've been given the chance to do what is right over and over again.

But how does it work when it comes to my husband or children?

I want to have a humble mind when it comes to disagreeing with my husband. Most of our arguments come from when I pridefully insist my way or what I know is right. Even if it is, am I being humble by firing back strong words of how wrong he is? I mess up here all.the.time.

And how many times do I miss ministering to the hearts of my children because my own heart is not tender- it's hard toward their misbehavior, and I want them to change right now. How often would a tender heart help me teach them how to do things the right way? Or how they are to react when mistreated?

My heart needs help- I can't react with humbleness, or with a tender heart, or in peace, unless God gives me His Spirit to do it with. My nature tells me that much- oh, how instantly I can react wrongly without even a second thought! Words roll off my tongue faster than should be possible.

But my God knows this about me - and He has promised to give me a new heart that is like His:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

He already knew before I was ever born that I would need heart surgery, and He provided a way for me- and all of us- to have His Spirit through the sacrifice of His Son. Isn't that amazing? He already knew I would fail Him- that I would need His heart! 

I don't have to do this daily life on my own. I don't have to be discouraged every day because I fail so stinking constantly. My God has won this battle, and His promises do not fail. EVER.

Remember verse 12 above? The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous {who are only made so because of Him}, and His ears are open to their prayer.

He won't leave us stranded. When we cry out to Him for help, he HEARS us!! He is constantly watching us, and listening for those who are His.  Isn't that incredible?

We are called to bless instead of curse- to be humble, to be tenderhearted, to be in unity with everyone, including our family, and we can do it because of what Christ did for us first. He was cursed and didn't return the curses, insulted and beaten without cause for our sake, and even defeated death so that we could stand with His power, and in His presence.

Our Jesus took it all on Himself, so that we could become His righteous, chosen people.

I don't understand it. I don't know why He loves us so much. But we are His treasure, His chosen ones, and we are called to live like it! We are called to be a light and react with humbleness because He did. And we can do it because He did it for us!!

We are not alone- He knows our weaknesses. He knows how shoes left out everywhere {!} grate my nerves on a daily basis, but He wants me to cry out to Him and seek peace with my family. He wants me to be humble enough to reach down and pick up the shoes 50,000 times so that I have to draw from His strength and not my own. He is pruning my old heart each time to look more like His new one, because He loves me and he wants me to bear His fruit.

Those are my spiritual sacrifices to Him- giving up my will for His. To serve instead of being served. To bless when I feel like cursing. He wants my heart to live for Him, and to love others more than myself.

It sounds impossible, but I know my God can do it. He has asked me to do it, and He has given me the power to do it through Him. He has promised me He will not leave me or forsake me, and that He will give me the strength I need.

Oh, I want to number my days. I want to live in wisdom. I want to know that if I were going to meet Jesus tomorrow morning, I would be happy with the way I lived in Him today. I want to know that if this was my last week- last year- on this earth, that my family would remember a girl who loved Jesus more than anything, and a girl who loved and gave up herself for them on a daily basis.

I want those thousands of little daily choices to add up to one obvious decision- that girl lived for Jesus alone and not for herself.

Please let it be so, Jesus. Holy Spirit, please teach me to number my days so that I can have wisdom today. Remind me of how fleeting this season is. Of how fleeting I am.

Oh Jesus, please let my life be for you and not myself. Forgive my hard heart, make me new, give me a clean and pure heart through your Son so that I can stand before you blameless and whole. I know you have already done the work- please change my heart to be more and more like yours, and make every day I have with these children and this husband count, Lord Jesus. Please don't let me get in the way with my sinful desires. Please overcome my flesh and give me a new spirit that is humble and full of peace.

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