When I fear there is no way and no room, God squeezes encouragement into the treasured places of my heart.
Boy do I love to shop in bulk. Less trips to the store equals fewer times that I’m required to take two children with me that think they need everything that can be given a bar code and stocked on a shelf. I cherished the last stock-up so much that I couldn’t see over my cart. At the sight of me drenched in sweat from hauling it to the front of the store, the cashier asked,
“You fit this all in one cart?”
“Yep, but I can push two out…it’s OK,” I replied, laughing.
“Oh, good,” she laughed, “I’m glad you’re not opposed to the idea.”
The sense of achievement I felt as I drifted through the aisles checking things off of my grocery list faded to black when I opened up my freezer to assess the situation.
“Blast,” I said to myself…”one more box of waffles.”
Can I just spray some pixie dust in there and toss the waffles in, and just trust it’ll all work out? That’s what Lo would do. But she’s five. And I’m not a fairy.
My eyes drifted over to the ice cube bin.
“I’ll just have to use the ice maker until we eat all of these waffles….” I self-comprised.
Life is full to the brim with these significant badges of motherhood. I’ve always been encouraged by the fact that each mother is picked specifically for the children she is tasked to raise. For this mom called to “stay home,” the struggle to remain content in God’s promise came under fire the day I dropped my last my baby girl off at all-day Kindergarten. I became restless, and started to let the door of the comparison trap creak to a close.
My daughters witness every reaction. They ask loads of questions and demand explanations. They increase in beauty and brilliance with every passing day, and my overwhelming and impossible responsibility to lead them follows suit.
“Will they value their ability to inflict change upon the world if they only see me affect these four walls we live within?”
In these moments I rush to fill my cart up to the brim in panic, and attempt to shove extra waffles in the freezer…when instead I should be reminding myself of God’s promise. The tendency to add things to my life and my schedule in absence of my focus becomes tantalizing and tempting…
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
God is a God of encouragement, and He will interrupt my meddling to nudge my heart in subtle situations. Like when my daughter grabbed a paint brush and wrote “love” on a rain barrel…
“Doesn’t that make you proud?” Came the encouragement delivered from a friend. Messaged received. I’m not failing.
Those God-sent seeds of encouragement run a variable risk of floating to the bottom of my Tervis full of ice water no mater how proficient I become at extracting them with my lemon juice squeezer thingy. But all is not lost, I end up sucking up a lemon seed up through the straw at least once every day. And as I spit it into the sink, I think,
“Why on earth don’t they make the lemon squeezy thing big enough to catch all the seeds?!”
It drives me nuts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve swallowed enough seeds to have a lemony fresh forest growing in my abdomen somewhere. My daughters are constantly spitting lemon seeds at me, but theirs are the kind that crunch between my teeth before I notice them swishing around a midst my swig of water.
“How do babies get in your belly… Why do people move… Why does it take so long to get ready for school in the morning (OK, that’s my question)… I miss kitty … Do we come back as angels after we die… It’s too hard … Mom, you know that you are the one who is in charge of losing your temper, right?”
The seeds I allow to grow into lemony freshness are determined by the truth I align them with.
Paul encouraged Timothy to ” …hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, known from whom you learned [them]” -2Timothy 3:14. Timothy learned his faith from observing his mother, Eunice…who in turn learned her faith from observing her mother, Lois. (2Timothy 1:5).
I am already doing a better job than I think.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul reminds Timothy of his salvation in Jesus Christ, and the knowledge and treasures of the Word that have been stored in his heart since childhood.
God reverted my mind from spitting seeds to find room for the box of frozen waffles…in the ice cube bin.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (NIV), So that the man of God may e complete an proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2Timoty 3:16-17 (AMP)
It was there all along…I just didn’t see it. Seeing the space doesn’t always eliminate the frustration of wanting to live up to something that requires more than I feel built to deliver…but it’s a comfort. Life’s going to spit lemon seeds at me at a rapid rate until my time here expires. I can’t prevent that from happening to me or my children. And through the tears that are simply a product of the journey, I keep moving. I keep praying. I keep looking for more space. I look to God’s Word. I pray for His help.
To grow. To learn. To love.
To be the best mom than I can humanly manage to be on this day, and trust in the journey He has set up to be mine alone. Did you know that a monarch chrysalis has a shimmer of gold on it? I didn’t either, until I took a hike with my kids in the woods. What an amazing fight that butterfly has to go through just to become a butterfly…and one of the most beautiful at that, if you ask me. Kids have a way of stopping us mid-battle to reflect back on a beautiful moment.
I wonder on lots of day if I’ve done it right…tried hard enough…been smart enough…set the right example…but I realize even if I reached the bar I’d then, in turn, reach for a higher rung. Being content in the journey is anything but easy, but having faith in my Lord is.
It’s a joyful struggle. It’s a worthy fight. It’s a purpose I’ll fully understand one day beyond the stars.
“Point your kids in the right direction- when they’re old they won’t be lost.” -Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)