Last year, on the same day we dropped off our oldest at his new high school for freshman orientation, we drove to the elementary school to drop off our youngest for kindergarten. Talk about parental whiplash! I laughed because I knew if I started crying, I’d scare the sweet children excitedly walking into school with new backpacks and fresh optimism. No one needed to see a mom with yesterday’s makeup in her husband’s sweatpants crying at the door, peppering their child’s face with coffee breath kisses.
That memory has had me thinking a lot about children and mothering and how seasons change, needs change, and, honestly, I change. (I joke with my husband that he has to get to know a new wife every five to ten years.) It’s strange because when you have little ones, you can’t seem to see the end, and everything feels immensely physically exhausting. Your body is literally poured out for the sake of nurturing another. They have boundless energy. And you accidentally fall asleep on the couch with nursing pads stuck to your shirt. If your house is anything like mine, you then wake up to beautiful marker art on the walls and at least two rolls of toilet paper strewn across the floor. How do littles know exactly where to find a rogue permanent marker, and I can’t even find a matching sock?
Then, as if surprising, they get older, like biology says, and take more and more steps to become their own person. They find trouble in different ways, they need more emotional support, and they rudely start demanding you treat them like they’re not five anymore? FINE! Time becomes a thief, and you just don’t want it to end.
I now see I have the immense gift of having children so wide spread in age that it is demanding I understand time is really fleeting. God tells us to keep this at the forefront of our thoughts:
Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.
Psalm 39:4 (NIV)
Parenting, like anything in life, is never just about that thing. Everything we participate in, everything we hold dear, everything that makes up our days is actually speaking to something larger: eternity. Ann Voskamp once said, “Think on eternity and work backwards from that.” I love that quote so much my sister made me a giant poster that hangs in my kitchen. I want to see it when I’m pouring cereal for my kids. I want to see it when I’m picking up the kitchen (again!). I want to see it when I’m arguing with my spouse. And I want to see it when I host my neighbors for dinner. I want to see that sign everywhere I go because it proclaims God’s truth to me: “This world is going away. But I have something better for you.”
When I think on eternity, I can parent another day. I can believe that children really are a gift and a blessing. When you stop believing God gives you good gifts in your children, you stop nurturing them. You get too tired to care what they’re doing on their tablet and whom they’re spending time with. You turn inward and find despair; it’s all just too heavy and burdensome. I want to encourage you that whether you’re parenting, aunt-ing, wife-ing, neighboring, PTO-ing, or working, the reason you can whole-heartedly love in these areas is because eternity is coming. Jesus is on the way, and He will take all of our burdens once and for all and wrap them in the greatest redemptive hug we’ve ever experienced.
I once had a mantra when I was potty training my special needs kiddo who was then nine years old. It was a difficult and frustrating task, and nothing seemed to be working. I didn’t think I could change another pair of soiled pants, buy another set of pull-ups, or watch my daughter be in tears, frustrated over her own body. And so before I entered the bathroom, I would say, “Because I love my God.” I made it about Him, not the task at hand, and it changed my perspective from an internal one to an eternal one.
Now, with the unique challenge of four children inching closer and closer into teenage land, I say the same thing. When I don’t think I can fight about screen time or sleepovers or boundaries on more time, I think on eternity, and I say to myself, “Because I love my God.” Immediately, I feel lighter. God and I exchange yokes — He takes my heavy one, and I take His light one.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:30 (NIV)
May you feel His lightness today in whatever season you’re in. He is with you. He is coming back. You have the power to fully engage in this day, exchanging your worries for His eternal plan of redeeming it all for your good and His glory.Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
Great encouragement. Thanks for sharing!
Jami Nato says
Amy Bonner says
This really spoke to my heart- thank you.
Jami Nato says
So glad !
Krista C. says
I appreciate this so much. Not a momma, but definitely in some different seasons than I expected. Thank you for this reminder, encouragement & truth today.
Jami Nato says
Oof. Every season has its challenges !
I have been feeling lost lately, struggling as a first time Mom, but this really has given me a new perspective and I’m praying it keeps alive in my heart whenever I feel unworthy.
Jami Nato says
First time momming really rocked my world. It was so exhausting !
Ha! I love your Bio, that’s funny!
Jami Nato says
Just what I needed to hear this morning. “Because I love my God.” I think I am going to make that my mantra, too.
Shortly after my cousin was killed in a car accident at age 25 I had a dream about him. He had an enormous smile and said these words to me, “Molly, I’m here. I get it now. I’m on the other side. And it’s all worth it. Love people with all you are. Never give up, love like crazy. I’m here now and I know it’s all worth it. Every person you love matters”.
This dream was 17 years ago and I remember it like it happened last night. It has formed part of how I parent. As well as love and extend Grace to others in my life. We never go wrong in challenging/difficult moments doing the words you’ve shared here today.
Such a great post! Thank you for sharing. Live with an eternal perspective. Do it for Jesus. Blessings to you.
Jami Nato says
Thank you, Jami! These are words of wisdom I’m going to ponder for a long time.
Jami Nato says
Thanks friend !
Joanie Badias says
Beautiful. Thank you, Jami. ♥️
Thank you for this!
Jami Nato says
Janet Williams says
Jami I’m sending this to my daughter. She will love it and totally relate. She is a mommy to 5 unruly kiddos. Quite funny considering both her and my son-in-law are only children!
She too would hang this quote EVERYWHERE!!! “Think on eternity and work backwards from that.”
Awesome. Thank you for sharing
Jami Nato says
It’s a game changer !
Emily Schienke says
I have 5 girls, ages 15, 13, 11, 7 & 3. We will be dropping our oldest off for freshmen year of college the same year we drop our youngest off to kindergarten. So crazy and so good. Thank you for the encouragement, I’m in the midst of potty training the youngest right now…..
Jami Nato says
You know parental whiplash well!
Thank you Jami. Your thoughts brought tears to my eyes. My only daughter is grown and living in another country. But I remember the struggles as I raised her on my own. Thank you for reminding me of the hope of eternity with our Lord and savior Jesus. While we are on this earth we do His work all for His Glory! God bless you and your family!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Thank you Jami for sharing your heart. What you said is true. Enjoy your kids as they grow up far to fast. One minute they are Babies in your arms. The next they are going to School and Nursery. Time waits for no man. As the saying going that saying is true. I have no kids. But was a Registered Childminder in my own home for 19 years. I now see some of the kids I used to look after as babies they are now going Secondary School. Or have jobs. That is scary were did that time go to. Of me looking after them while there parents went to work. Most didn’t like having to work. As they felt they were loosing out. Spending time with their kids. But had to because of the price of living. But I love kids. But just not that brave to have any of my own. So the kids I looked after I treated them as my own. Taught them a we bit about Jesus. Did not go over board as the kids parents most of them not saved. I didn’t want them to think I pushing my Religion at their kids. They the kids I looked after you can get it on YouTube. Psalthy The Singing Song Book. It teaches Jesus in a nice way to kids. Psalthy would say he is big blue song book. Come Little Praisers. Which was nice. The kids would love it as Psalthy would have a wonderful way in kids language of putting about the love of Jesus to a kid. In a way that the Parents didn’t mind. As was good interment. Getting the word of Jesus in the kids in a nice way. But yes I did let the kids watch other kids programs. Like Barney the dinosaur. But I was careful. What they filled there little minds with. Parents just loved the love I put into their kids. Plus the kids all loved coming to see me the days they did when their Parents were working. They all had fun. Plus one we have to remember as well when living in this world. That this world is especially if Saved is not our real home. Everything thing we have is not enteral. It only last for so song. Our time of earth is only temporary. For so many years. We if saved have to look after what God has given us to take care of in his beautiful world. He had given us to live in for the time he has given us. Plus we have to look at the way the world is going. What happening in it today. Especially with floods and people loosing their homes because of it. Or some because of flats coming down. In these too things also people loosing love ones. Which is sad. Plus Covid hitting our world. People getting sick or loosing their jobs and some loosing a loved one. All because of Covid. We all have to make sure to be thankful to God in times like this. That we are alive to enjoy every day God gives us and bless us to in joy another day in his beautiful world. If given that chance. Think about those in our world plus family members who are not saved. To stop and pray for them. To see the light of there needs to get saved. All that is happening in our world. How important it so to know the Saviour Jesus. In the times we live in. As Prayer is so important in theses days. I pray for my Family as I am only one saved bar my Husband. They all believe most of them. They still get into Heaven saved or not saved. Which is sad. We also have to make sure we are living everyday in this world for Jesus. So the unsaved will see Jesus in us and hopefully want what we have. Plus our families not saved. Even if you cannot tell your families about Jesus. As they say keep all that too yourself. You just when saying your prayers pray for them and live your life in front of them for Jesus. Not giving up that they will see Jesus in you. Want what you have. Jesus as their saviour too. But we the saved don’t have to worry about our future. We have enteral. Home waiting for us one day. When are time up on earth. That enteral Home is with Jesus. That is so good to know. Thank you again for Jami for sharing your heart. I pray for you all incourage. My God richly bless you all incourage for the reading you write. Plus sharing you heart. I have learned so much for you. Love big hugs and God bless all the way for Dawn Ferguson-Little in Co.Fermanagh in N.Ireland. Sorry I am day late with my reply. Just yeasterday was to busy to get the time to reply. Xx
Beth Williams says
I remember visiting my aging dad at assisted living one day. It was lunch time & he was sitting in the middle with two other men, one on each side. Dad had essential tremors where his hands would shake. I offered to feed him & he nodded yes. One of the men said to me “you will get stars in your crown for this.” Talk about hearing from God. Dealing with my parents dementia & psych issues wasn’t easy. I know deep down God was with me all the way & He will reward me later. Now that they are gone I volunteer with Relay for Life (Cancer) & a local food bank when I can.
There are days at work (ICU step down clerical at local hospital) that wear me out. I enjoy assisting the RNs, CNAs & family in taking care of patients. A bright spot in my day is when I can shine God’s light by showing empathy to the family & offering any assistance. In the end we all want the patients to get well & leave the hospital. My goals are to hear the immortal words of Jesus “well done thou good & faithful servant”, to encourage people & shower God’s light & love in this sin darkened world before it’s to late.