Last night, as I reported to Jordan on the day, I let out an exasperated sigh, “These children are going to be the end of me.”
“No,” he responded flatly. “They are the end of you.”
I marveled at the profoundness of his insight. (Love. this. man. Seriously. Even when I’m irritated that he’s always the wiser of the two of us. I used to think I was smart before I married him, then the other day I came into the living room to find a handwritten page of advanced calculus or some math I have long since forgotten, otherwise known as Jordan planning the railing for the steps. But I digress.)
I thought back to another conversation we had over the weekend. We collapsed on the couch, both children finally having succumb to the bedtime that we honestly had been looking forward to all day. So we reflected. Why was today so frustrating? What’s the secret to enjoying our children? We realized that we had both spent the majority of the day pursuing our own agenda: some important things, some not, all met with the constant interruption of little girls in need of attention. And we concluded that the secret is this:
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Colossians 3:3 ESV)
I am learning that the days where I cling to my plan and list above all else are the days when the dark cloud hovers and there is no joy, no fun, only crabby irritated mom and crabby disobedient 4-year-old and crabby I-know-you-want-me-to-have-a-routine-so-I-will-intentionally-do-what-I-want-and-scream-a-little-extra 6-month old. But when I hold my plans loosely, doing what I can when I can, taking breaks if I have to, taking a little extra time to laugh, to turn up the music and dance, to teach the lesson, to stop and watch the butterfly instead of just saying go-go-go, well those are the days when the girls and I see Jesus. We get to enjoy him, and as we enjoy him, we enjoy each other.
And I’m learning that it’s not just a slap upside the head that’s going to get me there. It’s a heart and mind disciplined into obedience to Christ. It’s stopping to realize that I am believing a lie that claims my plans are better than God’s. I’m forgetting who He is – He holds the world in the palm of His hand!
It’s fighting the lie that says I must prove myself as a wife and mom and whatever else and instead choosing to believe that I have already been accepted and approved of by God in Christ.
It’s fighting the lie that says I am somehow superior to my children – that their sin is worse than mine – and instead choosing to remember that I am only a sinner saved by grace and it is that same grace that can save my children.
It’s repenting all. the. time. and choosing to obey in faith, believing that God will continue to work in me and change my heart.
He has called me to lay down my life and to find it in Christ. And my children, well they are one of the means God uses to remind me that my life is not my own.
So, in a sense, they are the end of me.
And what a sweet end. He could have called me to a far worse job.
But there’s one more thing to note. My life is not hidden in my children. It is hidden in Christ, and in Christ alone. I will not find the strength to lay down my life in holding up the call of motherhood and reminding myself how important it is. It is only as I behold the glory of Christ that I am transformed into his image, “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Man, does he give me opportunities to practice. And how frequently I fail. But how good He is nonetheless.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
(Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV)
(All of these lessons are flowing out of time memorizing Colossians 3, time in Orlando, time with my brilliant husband, and time reading You Can Change by Tim Chester (which may sound like a horrible self-help book but is actually a pretty wonderful surprise). God has this way of bringing it all together and beating me over the head with it. So I guess it the slap upside the head is part of the process.)