Mom was brave enough to ask me to jump into her series directed to young moms. I feel like I imagine someone would if they jumped into a blog series on flying being written by Peter Pan. Yet I think I have a couple things to say from a different perspective, which will hopefully do what Mom has been trying to accomplish – encourage all you hard working moms.
This post will be a little long but I don’t know when she’ll ask me to do this again so thanks in advance for your patience. I realize you may have to read this in spurts as you deal with the interruptions that keep moms from being able to finish anything in a normal amount of time.
The wisdom that comes from someone who has already walked through something you are experiencing is absolutely invaluable. That’s what Mom is providing on this blog. My perspective is different — and it isn’t wisdom that I’m offering. I just want to share the perspective of a son who was raised by a mom who cared about raising kids who hungered for God more than she cared about anything (except loving and serving her husband). I’m also the husband of a woman who has an extraordinary desire to do whatever it takes to raise her daughter in way that glorifies God.
From the example of these two women there are two things I want to share that will hopefully encourage young moms. (By the way, drawing attention to her wasn’t what Mom asked me to do but I’m doing it anyway.) Keeping with Mom’s “things she wishes someone had told her when she had young kids” theme, here’s my burden from the cheap seats: motherhood is a life of endurance.
The first thing I want to pass along is this: scripture teaches that endurance produces character and character produces hope. This is the story of Mom’s life and that of many of you who read this blog. If one thing is required of moms it is sweat-producing endurance. It would be pretty rare to have a child or 7 and not have your endurance tested. Mom says I was one of those kids who seemed to come out eager to please his parents but I know I tried their patience.
At this point you may be saying to yourself, Great, a blog post on endurance…I am discouraged already and I have read like 14 words. If so, I understand. There is something scary about the topic of endurance. Probably because the very idea behind it implies things aren’t going to get easier anytime soon. Endurance is needed because fatigue tempts us all to want an easy life.
Here is the thing, though. Endurance, depressing an idea as it may be, always glorifies God and always produces character. Remember what Mom was saying about “more is caught then taught?” Kids can be really dense at times, but when it comes to perceiving when a parent’s teaching doesn’t line up with the way they live…every child is a sudden savant. Personal character is essential to good parenting, which comes through endurance and is proven by endurance (see Romans 5: 3-5).
I remember sitting on the back porch with Mom and Dad as they were trying to work through a sin issue in my life. The problem was I was stubbornly refusing to see what they were accurately seeing as heart issues I needed to deal with. They were being patient but firm. I remember being both extremely irritated and begrudgingly admiring of the fact that here I was in my early 20’s and they still wanted to stay up till all hours of the night to help me. I was irritated because I wanted to be left comfortably alone to make bad decisions by myself, yet admiring because of their patience and perseverance. Their endurance and character had left me no choice but to respect them even when I didn’t want to hear from them.
This is the foundation you are building right now. When you are tempted to give up, even just for a little while, recall Scripture’s encouragement to endure. Your sacrifice will have a lasting impact both on your relationship with your child and how they live their life.
The second thing I want to share with you is something from the second part of the Romans passage. Endurance produces character which produces hope.
In my humble opinion there are few jobs more difficult than raising kids. From the actual giving birth, to the months/years of not sleeping much, to the day-to-day work that goes into raising a child and the weight of responsibility involved…I could go on. Obviously this is not just a mother’s job but it’s the mother’s part that I am talking about…and it blows most everything else out of the water it terms of degree of difficulty (to do it well.) Raising a daughter with my wife has given me an appreciation for this in ways being a son simply couldn’t.
I’m not just saying this because it seems to be the thing to say in a blog series on motherhood. As I have watched my wife diligently love, care for, and nurture Amelia for nearly 600 days in a row it has become clear to me that Mother’s Day is a joke of a holiday. American workers fight for no more than 40 hours a week, paid days off for 5 different holidays, sick time, comp time and vacation days (which are never as many as they “deserve”). Moms get 24 hours off a year. Oh, and by the “day off” we mean we guys will take you out to dinner or cook and clean for lunch. Congrats, we love you.
Seriously, though, sometimes my wife feels like a not-good-enough mom when she struggles with the daily grind of motherhood. When the house isn’t clean or Amelia is still in her PJ’s at lunch, Lauren can feel like a failure. I want to tell her that it’s not supposed to be easy. I don’t mean that in the why don’t you understand and stop overreacting sense. I mean it like lawyers don’t expect to win every case; doctors don’t expect to get every diagnoses right the first time; and athletes don’t beat themselves up after every loss.
Some jobs are just plain hard and getting everything perfect just isn’t going to happen. Lauren and I will make mistakes, probably some big ones, in how we raise Amelia. Our home isn’t going to be spotless all the time. But that isn’t a reason to despair. It’s a reason to endure. And don’t believe me; believe God. Your endurance will lead to character, which will lead to hope. As moms you can take heart in the fact that Jesus, while not a mother, knew what it meant to have to endure. He endured the cross. As you endure the difficulties of raising sinful children, take encouragement from that fact that Jesus endured their sins and yours because of the promise of joy when His endurance paid off. You can endure now knowing that there is going to be victory in the Lord for you as well.
I’m a husband and son who is grateful for the chance to encourage you to endure. Endurance can sound like a bad word…and not very encouraging. But really, it should be really encouraging. Why? Because it means progress, growth and you becoming more like Jesus. If the thought of enduring as a mom is discouraging to you then perhaps you have an expectation that everything should be perfect now. That’s not what Jesus expects; it’s not what your husband expects; and it’s not what your kids will expect. What Jesus, your husband, and your kids will all love is a mother who endures through the ups and downs with character that produces hope. That is a legacy that will last.
As much as I feel like I couldn’t enjoy anything more than watching my wife be an absolutely phenomenal mother right now, I know I will only grow in respect and love for her as we walk through the trials that are coming – trials that will try her endurance and produce even more character than she already has.
Back to someone who knows about mothering tomorrow.