24 January 2014

The Sanctification of [This] Mom

"The days are long, but the years are short." You've heard that cute, trendy little saying before and figured by that estimation this year should be over by tomorrow. ;) Ha!

So let's get into it. I have been feeling sorry for myself. I have seen myslef choosing anger or selfishness or complaining - or all of the above. Just typing that out is super humbling. I was recently reminded that complaining is telling God that what He has given me isn't enough. Guilty! I told Robert just the other day that I find myself becoming frustrated with bad attitudes and bad potty timing...  I don't raise my voice (usually) or act out, but my heart feels angry and I am sure my children can tell. In the moment I actually think that I will feel better if I let myself get angry. Which is a lie from the pits of hell. Because let me tell you, it is infinitely better when God's amazing grace allows me to respond with patience and joy!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it is such a sanctifying blessing in my life. The JOY that I feel when Charlie laughs is unbelievable - his squeals, his honest to goodness cuddles, that smile that takes up his whole face, o my soul, that boy melts my heart! And my Maggie, as much as she tries me each day, her brilliance and beauty thrills me to no end. She has such an imagination and is so funny, and goodness, when she learns to control that spirit of hers, look out world...oh, I hope she loves Jesus with all of herself one day! 

I got a little off topic there, I'm not trying to convince you, or myself, that I love my children and think they're just the best. God certainly knows that I do. 

But what do I do when I feel alone and frustrated and self-pitying? What is going to be my motivation not to sin on days that are hard? The joy from tickle-monster and lunch eaten with a good attitude is awesome, but is it enough to transcend my flesh?! The motivation cannot just end with the fact that my children are little for only such a short time. Ultimately, the end goal must be that everything I do is for the glory of my Savior! Each sandwich I make or sweet potato I purée, every booty I wipe, each song I sing, and tiny hand I hold, when done with joy and gratitude and patience is done for God's glory! 

This really got me, David Brainard once said that he had never made a sacrifice! He lived such a meager and sacrificial life to bring the gospel to the Indians. He gave until he literally died. Each time God's grace allows me die to self, for the sake of my children or my husband or a stranger - for the sake of the gospel! - I am trading my wants for a much greater good and an invaluably higher glory. These "momentary afflictions" (2 Cor 4:16-18) are just that and Heaven lies before us - if only I can remember to think eternally. Paul wrote in 2 Cor 12, comparing himself to a parent, that he would gladly spend and be spent for the souls of the Corinthian church. 

As believers our lives are supposed to be about others anyway, right? What more tangible way to selflessly love like Christ than to be a parent! Day by day, hour by painstaking hour at times, I get to practically show love to two tiny people, who sometimes have very different ideas about how I might choose to spend my day. Preferring them above myself can be the greatest joy in my day if only I consider the gospel in all things. After all, the days are long, but the years are short; and I highly doubt I'll look back and think I gave too much or "lost too much of myself" as a mommy. Instead, maybe by God's great and faithful grace my children will one day rise up and call me "blessed."