May 26, 2018
It’s the first official day of summer! My sweet kiddos are out of school for the next 11 weeks, which means that life around here is going to look a little bit different than usual. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that having my kids home with me all day is going to be burdensome and chaotic, so I wanted to share this story to remind myself (and maybe even encourage you!) about why this job is so incredibly sweet.
Back in the spring of 2006, I was a single, lonely, working girl with absolutely nothing exciting on my plate. I was working at an insurance company (putting that music degree to good use), and I had recently decided to check out a new church. The first Sunday I went, I loved the service and everyone seemed so delightful, but there were so many people, I wondered how I could ever get connected. So the next week I decided I would try the earlier service and see if it was a better fit. As I drove down quiet Linden Street to make it to the 8:00 service, I asked the Lord if I could meet one family – just one, to talk to and maybe start a friendship with.
I pulled into a nearly empty parking lot, and quickly checked my bulletin from the previous week to make sure I had the right time. (We didn’t have smart phones with church apps back in 2006, you know.) To my surprise, I was correct, despite the sparsely populated lot, so I mustered my courage and marched up to the door to meet what seemed like must be the only 3 people inside.
I was greeted heartily by one of the pastors, quickly found a seat, and awkwardly thumbed through my bulletin while I waited for the service to begin. More folks trickled in, and just before the first song began, in marched the sweetest little family with three kids who sat down in the row right in front of me.
The service continued and I enjoyed every minute (especially the sermon preached by my would-be father-in-law! More on that in a future post!). After the service ended, much to my delight, the mother of this sweet little family turned around and struck up a conversation. As we chatted and asked all the usual small-talk-church-questions, I smiled and said in a very small-talk-church way, “your children are all adorable!” and she responded with a phrase that forever changed my life. She said, “Oh thank you! They’re such a blessing!”
I probably had a bit of a stunned look on my face because I had never in my life heard a mother say such a wonderful thing about her children in such a natural way. I expected something like “Oh they keep us busy!” or “Oh they’re cute, but they’re a handful!” The responses I expected may have even been true, but the immediate response that bubbled out of this grateful mother’s heart was, “they’re such a blessing!”
I wasn’t anywhere near being a mom at the time, but I hoped to be someday, and I decided right then and there that if the Lord ever saw fit to give me children, I wanted to say (and believe) the same thing about them.
As grace would have it, I now have three adorable children of my own, and I love responding to commentators at the grocery store and various places the same way Tara responded to me that day. I really am so grateful to have my hands so full! BUT, the reality is that having them all in my care every hour of every day can be wearing. It’s easy to forget what a blessing they are when I’ve broken up the fifth fight of the day or poured the millionth cup of milk or been interrupted and re-routed again…and again, and again. I do think that we can take practical measures of planning and setting expectations with our kids that can make our homes run smoothly, but when I fail to see my children as a blessing, it’s not because they aren’t, it’s because my perspective needs to shift. I have to take the initiative to live out joy and gratefulness, and remember the blessing that my children are, even when the blessings aren’t as put together as I may wish them to be.
So I just want to encourage you parents and future parents out there (myself included!) that these precious days with our kids, trying as they may be, are a blessing. And if that’s where we can keep our perspective, these summer days can be oh so beautiful. Oh Lord help us to love these little ones well; to lay aside our own desires and plan and prepare and serve them this summer and always for their good and your glory. Give us eyes to always see them as a blessing.