My three-year-old, newly christened with basic words, likes to exercise his larynx in the minivan. “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” is his usual workout of choice. When I respond, Reed hems and haws, searching around for something to show me. Usually, he points at something random outside the window. I say, “Yes, I see! That’s a tree.” Two seconds later, it starts again.
The six-month-old baby is either cooing (very loudly) to his blue elephant hanging on the car seat handle, or is crying because he lost his paci and hasn’t found the dexterity to reinsert it. He faces backwards, just out of my reach when I’m in the passenger seat, rendering me useless to solve the relatively simple problem. So our ears, seasoned in the sounds of early childhood, blocks it out. We know he’s fine for the moment, even if it is a bit headache-inducing.
Amongst it all, my five-year-old is trying to tell me about her day from the far back. Sometimes she wants to tell me what letter she learned to write in cursive today, or that the word for gray in Spanish sounds like the slimy stuff on the skillet after cooking bacon. Quite often, she’s displaying her rock collection, acquired during recess and now brimming in her backpack’s side pockets. Whatever it is, she wants to tell me, in detail and with gusto.
The minutes go by, and the volume doesn’t diminish. Then Kyle and I find a supernatural second of silence, so one of us starts with, “So I got an email today–,” wherein we are quickly interrupted with, “Hey, there’s Chuck-E-Cheese! They’re a proud sponsor of PBS!” or “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!”, or, simply a “Waaaaaaah!”
This is usually the part of the show when Kyle presses an imaginary button on the dashboard, signaling the soundproof window to rise between the driver and the passengers.
There are days when I. must. pray. to. not. lose. my. head during all this chaos. And there are days when Kyle and I look at each other, smiling wide-eyed and in disbelief, that the insane noise is really ours for the keeping. On both kinds of days, I’m genuinely shivering with disbelief that God’s blessings have poured out to me so extravagantly in these three little bodies.
These children. These. They’re given to me to raise.
The God of the universe sees me fit to raise them. They’re messy and loud and nerve-wracking (and did I say loud?), and yet they’re so unbelievably precious.
These minivan moments, the ones that rattle the windows with cacophony, are mine for the stewarding. Will I curse my lot, no longer neat and tidy, or will I fall on my knees in worship that the perfect God has given imperfect me three little imperfect people to raise in to the next generation?
I have a choice. And it’s not always easy, but I consciously choose to praise Him. The noise level rises, the stickiness remains, and haven’t I put away this train set eighteen-hundred times? Yes. And I will probably do it for the eighteen-hundred-and-first time tomorrow.
But God puts up with my ridiculousness. I can put up with theirs, because He loves them — and so do I, doggonit.
“Though the playroom does not stay clean and there are no bath toys back in the bucket, though the diaper fails and the backseat produces no silence, though there are no Lego in the right container and no faces without stickiness, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” -Habakkuk 3:17-19, edited
What’s chaotic in your life right now? What unpredictability has God blessed you with?
Written by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom