Thursday, April 16, 2015

The One Clear Thing in Parenting

I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children. (Genesis 18:19)

It has been said by a wise mother of five that there is a little alarm on the toilet that goes off every time a mother sits down, alerting her children to burst into chaos and pressing need of her attention.  

I have tested that theory and must agree that it appears to be true.

I have also developed my own theory as of late, and that is that vacations are not really restful with little ones in tow. And for parents of young children, little ones are always in tow on vacation, for where else would they be on the family getaway?

It was day three of our vacation and I was restless. I wanted to take a bubble bath, curl up with a good book, just do whatever I wanted to do. But the incessant needs of my children were clamoring around me, and I began to feel more like a hired hand than someone away to rest a few days.

The grass from the Easter baskets was everywhere, and wrapping from its contents was scattered across the room. Wet boots and socks made soggy from building dams in the creek cluttered the entryway, hung on the chair. Fights over which Boy Scout could stack the firewood the best, which child got to sit in the recliner, or whose turn it was to take the dog out rattled the cabin rafters, making our quiet retreat anything but.

I was beginning to wish for school to start again.

As I settled down finally in a lukewarm bath, the curtain pulled around me to protect me from the constant barging in that is inevitable in a one-bathroom cabin in the woods, I sought to find purpose in all this. My desires, their desires, everyone’s needs were making everything clouded and irritating.

God’s voice has a quiet strength that rings through such noise. 

One thing is clear: I have been chosen to be these children’s mother, and I am to do it with wonder and love, gentleness and patience. 

I have not been chosen to take bubble baths and do what I want to do every day. Not even on vacation. 

I can surely entrust my own real needs for rest and quiet to the One who has provided all I need always, in every season. 

But this one thing is very clear. I am to love my children and serve them, shepherding them toward the One who loves them more than even I or their father does.

So away with selfish restlessness, resenting the needs for training, discipline, loving instruction and attention. Away, self.

Look to the little ones and give to them. And like the creek outside where their homemade boats race happily, I will be constantly refilled.

What is the one clear thing in the midst of your noise and clouds today? Still your heart and listen for it, look for it, share it with me.


Tired parents can count on God to give them the rest they need. (Click to Tweet)

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