As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

To Young Moms

I am going to tell you something that I would have liked for someone to tell me when I was a young mother with very small children.

It is hard.

Oh, I love babies and would have welcomed more of them. Snuggling with a newborn, rocking my babies to sleep in a darkened room, smelling their sweet baby smell and seeing their adoring smiles...all are precious memories.
The toddler years are full of joys too. Chubby cheeks and hands, wobbly toddler walk, expanding vocabulary rendered in toddler talk, belly laughs, sharing book after book after book (or sometimes the same one time after time after time).

But all of the joys do not take away the fact that it is hard. Is it worth it? Yes, a thousand times yes. But is it easy? No.

I so clearly remember an interchange I had with a slightly older mother at a time when I had two small children (at the time, around ages 1 and 3). This mom was a member of my church, and I was shopping in the Christian bookstore where she worked. I don’t remember what began the conversation; but I recall that I said that being a mother was hard. I am not sure what I expected—maybe some helpful hints, maybe some Godly advice, maybe the assurance that the training would pay off in the long run. But I got none of that. Instead she raised her eyebrows and said, “Oh my. Well if you think it’s hard now, just wait until they get to be teenagers.” At first, I felt ashamed that I had thought life with my sweet babies was hard. But almost immediately, something in my heart said that she was wrong. That right here—these days of initial training and winning their hearts—was where the battle would be won or lost.

So, yes, I believe that life with little ones is hard—full of joy and delight, but hard nonetheless. These are the days when you are establishing authority. These are the days when you are laying down the rails of habit. These are the days when you are laying the foundation of spiritual awareness, and manners, and denying self. These are the days when you are testing some of these same ideas in yourself, for it is indeed an unselfish thing to train a child. It is much easier (at the moment) to give in to them, to make the demands easier, to turn your head at disobedience or a bad attitude. But the unselfish parent will deny her own flesh and lovingly demand what is right.

Those who know my daughter Kristin now may find this hard to believe, but she was such a little chatterbox. She had so very much to say. One evening, as our family walked through the local mall, Ron and I were trying to have a conversation. But we could hardly string together a sentence before Kristin had something (or somethings) that “needed” to be said. Finally, after many attempts at continuing his discussion with me, Ron stopped Kristin and pointed to the Sears anchor store at the end of the corridor. “Kristin, “ he said, “if you will not say a word until we get down to Sears, I’ll give you a quarter.” Little Kristin walked in silence for about four steps...then came to a screeching halt and moaned, “Oh Dad, it’s too hard!”

We have laughed at that many times over the years...but sometimes I have found myself saying to my Heavenly Father about some thing or another that He is requiring of me, “Oh, it’s too hard.” And yet His words to me are, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.(II Corinthians 12:9)

So to young moms, I would say...yes, indeed, it is hard to train little ones. It requires love, selflessness, wisdom, patience, diligence, and tenacity...sometimes long days and longer nights...often going against others’ advice and against worldly wisdom...always prayer and seeking His wisdom. But it is a job for which He gives His grace...and it is a job that is full of reward.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galations 6:8 NKJV)

***

My duty is never measured by what I feel is within my power to do, but by what God's grace enables me to do.
~ Andrew Murray

11 comments:

  1. Wow, Cheryl. What powerful words! Wise words borne of experience. Anyone who knows your family has firsthand knowledge of the fruits of your labor. How I wish every young mother would take your words to heart. To not do what is "easy", but to do the hard things that will instill character and unselfishness and love for Truth. How beautiful it is to see the love of God being faithfully taught and talked about and encouraged and displayed. You are such an inspiration to me. Truly. Love the story about Kristin.

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  2. how did you know i needed this - this VERY rainy morning?

    i am blessed beyond words & measure. i have beautiful children, love my home, my husband, i don't have to work, i know i have a mansion over the hilltop waiting for me, but... i am ALONE 87% of the week. i mean ALONE. it's me & the kids. this winter has been so rough. too hard with 3 little ones in tow to go do anything with our temps. i am so ready for spring. i feel i am a very strong person. i am a older mom with young children, but encouragement is what i do NOT have on a regular basis. i don't always need it, but sometimes i do. like today. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    now...you've touched my heart. thank you, cheryl. you wrote this post on the appropriate day!

    blessings!
    kellie

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  3. Cheryl~

    I think many Mommas have longed to hear this very thing from a Wiser, Experienced Momma...but Sadly, we DON'T hear it. We hear the very thing you heard as a Young Mom.

    Yes, it is Hard. Every day. Every night. No Break. But it Will be Worth it. We are Blessed.

    Thank You~
    Kathi

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  4. Thanks! Having a tough day:) Angela McKelvy

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  5. i wish i had this wisdom and the ability to carry it out at a much younger age....you and your family are such an inspiration and God is glorified and magnified in you all. thanks so much! love you--terri

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  6. Hi Cheryl,
    What wonderful and Godly advice this is, Thank you for sharing this most inspiring post.
    Kristen's statement reminded me of something my little g-daughter, Katie would say. so funny and straight from the heart.

    Blessings,
    Sue

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  7. Cheryl,
    Kathi (above) sent me over here tonight after reading about a trying week I've been having with my little ones. It is indeed a hard time with no breaks. Mothering four young children seems to bring out the best and the worst in me as a woman. I know, however, that it will be worth it as they grow. Thank you for your encouraging words tonight!
    ~Anna

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  8. Wonderful true words.
    Thank you

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  9. Very well written, thank you! It is hard sometimes and I only have one.

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  10. Cheryl! This is so helpful and encouraging and I am bookmarking it to read again. Thank you so much for going out of your way to contact me. May our Lord bless you.

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