It all started with a blog I read written by a woman whose husband is a youth pastor - she has four kids, I'm on our fourth - life pretty much lines up for us! So when she wrote of how busy their summer was and how they had so many "fun" events they got to go to, like graduation open houses, pool parties, "fun" youth group events, etc., I really knew what she was speaking about. Summers around here are the busiest we get! Then, she wrote of how her 4 year-old son said he didn't want to go to anymore parties because "Daddy is there, but he can't be with me." Ugh. Knife in the heart. Thankfully, I think Jake and I do a pretty good job at still being with the kids while we're also doing our ministry duties of visiting and hitting every grad party known to man. Still, that resonated so clearly with me and I thought, "How often am I here, but not really with my kids?"
This may sound funny, me being a SAH mom and all. But me just being in the house doesn't offer much to my children. Me doing laundry while Cole plays with his Star Wars or me cleaning while the girls crawl around and giggle is not necessarily me being present in their lives. I know these are everyday chores that I can't necessarily get away from, but what about my timing? If I'm honest, sometimes I start cleaning solely for the fact that I don't have to get down and play. That statement is really hard to leave in this post because I know how horrible it sounds; but what good is this if it isn't real?
Tonight in my devotions that I missed this morning (I'm sure now it was on purpose!) I read about Hannah and the promise she made to give Samuel to the Lord. Most of us are very familiar with that story and I usually skim over it since I can pretty much repeat the gist of it. But it's in the details that I find Hannah evermore amazing. Most likely, Samuel was three years old when she took him to the temple to give as her sacrifice to the Lord. When he got there, this little boy knelt down and worshiped God. Amazing! Cole is three - - - if he were to to kneel and give praise to the Lord, I would cry profusely with great joy. Beth Moore recounts the scene like this:
"A tiny three-year-old boy, still with creases of satiny baby skin around his plump little thighs, bending his knee and bowing before El Elyon, the sovereign God of all creation. How precious this child must have been to God. How in the world could a child that age have such respect for the God of the universe? We get a clue from Hannah's prayer of praise found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10...'There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God" (v 2).
Samuel learned faith from his mother - a woman whose faithfulness evidenced her faith, a woman with compulsory praise on her lips. She met painful sacrifice with a song."
I so desperately want to be like Hannah - a mother who was so present in her son's life and a mother who constantly presented the Person of God to her son, ever since he was just an infant. Her faith was unwavering. I can't imagine taking Cole to a temple and leaving him to be raised by a priest. I am thankful that God doesn't ask me to do that. But God does ask me to lay my children at His feet. God does ask me to be a warrior for my kids, praying for them and fighting for them, especially at these vulnerable ages when they can't fight the enemy themselves. I want my kids to look at me and say, "Mommy, I'm so glad you were there" and that the word "there" means so much more than just a physical presence. I want them to think of our Heavenly Father when they think of me. I want so much for them that I feel so incapable of giving. So I'm thankful that I can look to God and find my strength in Him. I'm thankful that each day is a gift from Him to start anew - to be better - to be a brighter light - to be a more present Mommy.
I don't know if this resonates with any of you, but - if anything - this post can help me stay accountable to you all who are reading this. For you other mommies, how has God spoken to you throughout the years (whether it's been half a year or 30)? I'm so thirsty for more parenting wisdom, so don't be shy - leave a comment!