Behold, children are a gift from the Lord…
This past year has been an adjustment. Three children. One of them being a two year old, and all of them being girls. Then there’s me, another girl, with crazy “42 year old mama who just gave birth” hormones who doesn’t sleep…it’s been an adjustment. It has been super fun seeing my oldest flourish in school, conquer fears left over from the tornado, and work hard to learn baton twirling. My two year old has found her voice with an ever increasing cute vocabulary and finally lets us comfort her when she has a boo boo. (all the feels!) Our newest addition is full of smiles and nose scrunches and learning to play with her sisters has just been the BEST. Yet it has taken me a year to accept the adjustment in my day. The shifting of priorities and time and tasks that I used to do but now take three times as long or don’t happen at all.
This past year I just kept thinking “When are you going to get it together??!! When are you going to get a good routine down and have a day that runs smoothly? When are you going to consistently…do anything?” I have been beating myself up thinking about the season in my life about 3 years ago when I was in God’s Word for hours a day. Where I had a beautifully highlighted prayer journal that I kept up with and prayed through regularly. I wrote almost daily and had wonderful study time cross-referencing, looking up commentaries, and loving all I was learning about God. That time, back three years ago, I call it my sweet spot. I vividly remember being able to spend an hour outside on my deck in the beautiful weather and pray, journal, read God’s Word, and just really enjoy the fruits of all of those spiritual disciplines in place for long amounts of time. My writing flourished, my time with friends was rich in conversation and not interrupted very much. Since my third child, I found myself thinking back to those few years and shaming myself for not having those hours of study now. Longing for that space where my mind was fresh and I was able to complete thoughts, where my pen or keyboard was vigorously writing about all I was learning, and where my time with friends included pretty brunches in my home or coffee dates at an actual restaurant or play dates where minimal supervision was needed. But it was just a season.
Even though our weather seasons repeat themselves, spring, summer, fall, winter; our seasons of life don’t. They are a progression. That season three years ago is not coming back. And it shouldn’t! I am in a new season now. This is not only a season in my life here on earth, it is a season of my eternity. There is no death ahead of me! Physically maybe, but Christ conquered death for me!
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of the righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwell in you. Romans 8:10-11
Each day of this life is just a tiny, minute season of the eternity that is ahead. Even that isn’t what humbles me the most. The most humbling aspect is that this is just a season of my life but God existed before my time on earth even began. Not only that, He existed before Earth began. And to really blow my mind, He existed before even time began. (Psalm 90:2). Yet He has designed us to experience life in seasons as Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, so I need to honor that and not wish for what was in the past or pine away for what may be in the future. He has something to teach me and grow me in each season.
This week the Lord woke me up from that dream of three years ago and reminded me that He doesn’t advise us to long for what is behind us but He tells us to press on to what lies ahead. There was a sweet spot back then but there was also sin that needed to be dealt with that He has brought me to repentance about. I don’t want to go back there if I have already come through it. I have been looking back in a rear view mirror at a piece of land I wanted to get back to. But it seemed to be getting further and further away. That is because it needs to! That land I was longing for is a land without two of my other children. It is not a place for me anymore. That destination I thought was the ideal I should be attaining (one hour of disciplined study and prayer) was what He had for me back then. It is not what He has for me now. During that season He honed in me a love of digging in, studying, writing, and communing with Him in a way that was the grace I needed for THAT season. In this season He is training me in dependence on Him. He is training me to not only love what I am learning about Him but to love HIM more. A training that wouldn’t happen if I was still back in that beautiful spot on my deck. I am learning dependence on Him in the trenches of a messy living room with loud, precious, growing girls. He is teaching me that He is giving me the grace I need in this season of fighting my flesh that manifests in an angry mouth. I will never get back to that place in my rear view mirror and I am glad! It was an amazing time of spiritual growth and learning what intimacy with the Lord means, but so is this one. My sanctification is a progression, moving forward, moving towards something that is ahead of me, not behind me (Philippians 3:12-14).
I am learning about rest, the kind that has nothing to do with sleep. I am learning to be diligent to seek Him, commune with Him, read His Word, pray to Him, without it being striving for an amount of time or the place I once was. If I strive for what was it will only result in spinning my wheels, not rest. I also am very mindful to NEVER view my children as something that has interrupted one my spiritual disciplines or any other plan I have for the day. They are my plan, they are what God has called me to do, they are part of my sanctification and I want my day to be weaved with prayer and talking to Jesus and speaking His Word with and in front of my children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). I am learning this y’all. He shows me daily. I am so thankful for the women in my life He has given me that are in this season with me. I am also thankful for those that are a little ahead of me and remind me of how quickly it passes. I am also thankful for the young women not quite there yet who I can encourage and remind when their time comes.
The other lesson the Lord pressed on my mind was that He never leaves me. He wasn’t only present in my “sweet spot” on the deck. The Holy Spirit is in me (John 14:16-17). God’s Word is alive and active in my mind as I have ingested it (Hebrews 4:12). What a sweet gift God did give me back then to help me be prepared now for when I wouldn’t have as much time. I can pray anywhere and at anytime. I can pray right when someone asks me to instead of writing it down in my journal which inevitably in this season I will forget to do. I can read the Bible with my children and if that is all that I do in a day and don’t get the “alone” time then that is enough and okay. I can respond to the prompting of the Lord when He does give me time to write. I have also been convicted lately to get back to those first gifts He called me to, sending words of encouragement through a blog or email or card. I waste time on my phone because it is more accessible than a pen and paper. But if it is something the Lord has called me to do, putting down my phone if it’s not used for encouragement is worth it.
I don’t get to see my friends as much, as the logistics of that are just more difficult now. My home is a safe space for my two year old. Anywhere else is not. And by “safe space” I mean she will tear yo house up. So I just try to keep her in mine, not yours. So that has made me so thankful for being able to stay in touch with others through phone calls and texts and this nifty little thing called Voxer, because let’s face it, phone conversation aren’t happening with the “sweet” noises in the background when mom is on the phone. All this is to say, I SEE YOU FRIENDS! I’m in it with you mama. I haven’t forgotten you even if I haven’t been over in awhile.
My point. This season. I am told to cherish it. I do. I am told it will go by so fast. I know. I am told to not fret or worry or do all the things we do in the middle of all the things we are in. I am learning. God is so good to give me these amazing children. He is so good to use them to show me ALL the ways I need Jesus everyday because I fail and mess up. He is so good to give me a chance EVERY day to grow in my trust. I say that I trust, and then a new season comes to test me and refine me to an even deeper level of trust. I am looking at this season now as THE very best season ever. Because it is. It is the one I am in. It is my sweet spot. Tomorrow will be too.
My bible study looks like this now. Little eyes peeping at me and little toes resting beside me. And I wouldn’t change a thing.