A small wooden magnet clung to my refrigerator, many years ago, with these words, "Lord, Grant Me the Patience to Endure my Blessings."
One day, as I unloaded my four small children from our big grey Suburban, and herded them to swim lessons, I watched the other mothers with their children. For some reason, I thought of that magnet holding up art work on my refrigerator door. Sadly, I realized the words on that little piece of wood described exactly what most of us moms do most of the time, simply "endure" our blessings.
That afternoon, with tummy's filled and my water-babies down for a nap, I grabbed the magnet and a black Sharpie. Then, I sat at the kitchen table, where I crossed out the word endure, and, above it, I carefully wrote, "ENJOY!" And, that became my prayer, for myself and other moms too.
Now, looking back 25 years, my children grown with families of their own, there are a few things I have learned. A few things I would have done differently.
1) Slow Down
One of the first phrases I spoke as a child was, "Speed fast, daddy!' Those words and that attitude still follow me to this day. I rushed my kids everywhere. It seemed we were always in a hurry to get somewhere. I even rushed them, to my great dismay, through places where we should have meandered, like the beautiful San Diego Zoo. Needless to say, we didn't stop too often to "smell the roses."
One morning, in our rush to get to who knows where, I buckled my "what's-the-hurry," first born into his carseat as I scolded him for making us late again. Then, I jumped into the driver's seat and fastened my belt, as guilt flooded my heart. I turned to apologize to my young son. "I'm so sorry. Please forgive mommy! I blew it."
As I drove away, asking Jesus to forgive me, again, I heard His quiet whisper in my heart. "I gave you this child to slow you down. And, I gave you to him to speed him up."
2) It's Just a Stage
Colic, sleepless nights, teething, potty-training, biting, temper-tantrums, hearing "no" for the hundredth time, answering "why" for the millionth time, whining, lying, tattling, sibling rivalry, back-talking…there were times I was sure these days would never, ever end!
But, with time, training, consistency, discipline, modeling, prayer, love, patience, some frustration and anger, (okay, a lot of it), then more prayer, love, patience, modeling, discipline, consistency, training, and time, it does end! Nearly every single attitude and behavior which makes you want to scream and pull out your hair comes to an end. It is just a stage!
Our third child, and only daughter, had colic for the first 3 months of life. Evenings were long and hard trying to console an unconsolable infant. I walked around with her for those three months telling myself, "This too will pass. This too will pass!" And, it did!
3) More Important Than My Schedule
I often tell moms, "We think God gave us children to help grow them up. However, I think God also gave us children to help grow US up."
When one of my children woke up with obvious signs of not feeling well, I confess, I often became like a child myself. I pouted and felt sorry for myself, when their legitimate need "spoiled" MY plans for the day. As a stay-at-home mom, who had home-schooled and spent the majority of four years parenting alone, while my husband worked and attended law school, I looked forward to and felt like I deserved MY activities such as Bible Study or exercise or lunch with a friend.
Thankfully, the Lord used those days to convict me of my immature, selfish behavior. By mid-day, I had usually repented of my childish attitude, and chose to make the most of my change in plans. And, over the years, I stopped pouting all together, and, from the start of a sick day, embraced the time to slow down and care for the little one who needed extra love and attention!
Of course, there is more I would have done a little different, or a lot better, or even completely eliminated from the years of raising my precious blessings! Like my magnet originally read, I endured so many days. But, with God's help I learned to truly enjoy them with just a tweak of my attitude, a change in perspective, or a good ole "kick in the pants."
So this Mother's Day, I pray for you dear mom, for the Lord to teach you how to, not only endure, but, truly enjoy every day with your wonderful blessings!