- I am finally back from a 10 day trip to California and am enjoying each moment of each day! I love my home, my food and my bed and my family. I know that many people have envied the amount of travel our family has had, but so many times, I am thankful to be home. I so enjoyed being with the delightful, wonderful southern California moms, but home always is a magnet for me. When I returned home, through some interesting circumstances, I returned to all of my children being home and planning on being here indefinitely. It is such a different season living with adults in the house. They still need a lot from Clay and me. We are still helping to inform decisions, jobs, ministries, activities–and I see in a new season how important a mom’s job is in being available and supporting and praying and still pointing to the Lord. Sometimes I am jealous of my older kids–they don’t know it, but they have so much more free time than I do—time to read, time to blog, time to have by themselves and with friends. There are many times I would like to write more or blog more or just rest, but it doesn’t seem to be available at this season of life! I go from one meal to the other, one child’s needs to the other, Clay’s needs and issues, life responsibilities—running this household, and you know the story! When I disappear from blogging for a while, you can just know that I am over my head with meeting the needs of my family, which always comes first!
I don’t think I knew that being an intentional mother would take up all of my time and demand a whole life commitment forever! Giving up my rights and time has been something I have to do over and over again in each season of life. Yet, having the privilege of having my adult children at home, gives me companionship and friendship and kindred spirits with which to share life, so I thank God each day they are here and ask Him how I may point them to Him, and then readjust my expectations of life to my limitations of time, money and energy! I have probably said this before, but I have often, in the past few years, told my kids that it is a good idea to decide to like God’s will for your life, because not liking it will not make it go away!
The whole reason I was going to write this post, was because of my realization that often, as a mom, I have had to realize that just taking a few minutes more to do something makes all the difference in my relationship to my children. Recently a friend visited us from afar. She told me about her 12 year old son who never seemed to be able to get his school work finished unless she was with him, but when she was with him, he whizzed through it. I used to struggle in my heart with the very same issue. Nathan could not seem to do his work on his own very well. I had so much advice about how I would make him dependent and that I needed to just make him do it alone. However, when I prayed about it, I realized that my goal was not to just always teach my children a lesson in character–though character is important–but to help them attain success and maturity as a whole person. Now, I know that he had some learning issues that required my help but I didn’t know that at the time. I noticed that when I had my arm around his shoulders while sitting on the couch, he seemed calmer and better able to concentrate when we were doing math or a detailed subject that required focussed attention.
Even more, though, I realize how important personal relationship is in getting a child to love learning and to be inspired in education. I still think that the relationship of the mentor-teacher is more important than the information being transfered. God made us relational–even introverts. Moms need to just decide to give up their time and expectations. I was talking to a mom recently who had her 5 and 7 year olds on a video program for school. I can almost guarantee you that these children will not excel at education, or in relationships or in life. Lectures on television are just not effective for little brains. Children need to be talked to, tickled, explained to, inspired, listened to, touched and encouraged–all the personal things that only a human being can do. Technology will never replace the need for human contact and interaction and will always be a poor substitute.
There is an illusion that because the internet has so much information available, it will create superior intelligence. Statistics show that it just isn’t true. Collegiates who have spent so much more time in technology, have a lower vocabulary, a lower ability to understand abstract thinking processes and are less educated in light of test scores and writing ability than the previous generations. They also lack moral inspiration and spiritual foundations, because no one took the time to personally influence them. (Just read Dickens or Shakespeare and you will know what I mean.)
Computers and can be useful tools to help educate in some areas (drill, language study, basic research easily available, etc.), but will never be able to cultivate deep, thoughtful intelligence anymore than a robot, that can do basic chores in a household will ever be able to replace a mom’s love and influence.
Even now, at 18, Nathan still needs some help, occasionally, on job interviews and resumes online. College applications and longer detailed administration requires all the time and help I can give. But now I am more used to the giving of myself. It is so much better to just take a few minutes more and cultivate a good relationship than to create unnecessary conflict and guilt by trying to make an immature child do something on his own, when he is really not ready or capable.
I have asked myself, “What do I picture God to be? Patient with me when I fail, loving and forgiving, desiring my best and training me to excellence, steadfast, righteous, joyful, not ruffled. I realized that I am the best picture of God that my children will see for many years. If I think God would be patient and gentle with me (Psalms says he is mindful that we are but dust, Romans tells us that nothing can separate us from His love, Psalms tells us that He is our shepherd, he never leaves us, He plans good for us, and so on. If we want Him to imagine that He is all things great, they will be inclined to love the God we love if they see His love and patience exhibited in our lives. God made and understands little boys and wiggly, distracted girls. He accepts them as He made them, shouldn’t we?
Again, we must also take time to notice and enjoy the beauty of life together. Though our days are absolutely busy from dawn to dusk in our home, almost every afternoon, I take time to walk. The leaves on the mountain are at their peak. The red and golden fern on the mountain are vibrant with color, where trees used to grow before the Haman fires destroyed them some years ago. Usually Sarah goes with me–we have for years been walking friends. What a legacy of friendship and mentoring this has provided. Often, now Joy comes and sometimes I go with her alone. But always, it reminds me, when I am appreciating what the Master Artist has done to display His beauty in the outdoors, I am put in my proper place–I am not at the center of the universe, my life’s needs and issues are not huge or overwhelming to the Lord. He who has seen thousands of years of seasons–with Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Esther, Marco Polo, Columbus, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill and more, has been faithful to all of them. He has seen it all and shed His love and grace and insight and perspective, been patient with them and provided for them. Where the old issues have passed, new ones have come. So I can, through these moments, put the center of my heart back into perspective, as I release them back into the hands of the Lord of the seasons of life. And as I take that one more bit of time to be sure they have from me what they need in order to have their cups filled and in order to reach their hearts. It just takes a little more time.
Here is just a little thought from my book, The Mom Walk. Have a lovely fall day and enjoy!
“Amidst the ebb and flow of our lives as mothers, it is all too easy to get caught up in the serious side of our walk with God. We have so much to teach our children: moral standards, an understanding of God’s character, Bible stories, manners – the list goes on and on. Yes, there is a battle for our children’s souls. Yes, there are habits of godly character we need to form in them. Yes, there is so much work to be done; we have to realize that there is something much more important to the Lord. God wants us to enjoy Him, His creation, and His love. He wants us to lead our children into celebrating life with Him and taking time to notice the beauty He has provided each and every day. He wants us to revel in His goodness and love.”
Blessings to you!