Being a parent is just plain HARD. Sure, parenting is rewarding and all but let’s be honest. Any amount of decent parenting requires tons of energy, ongoing self-sacrifice, boat loads of patience, barrels of grace and decades of prayer.
Entering physical limitations due to disease into the equation really complicates things. There are days I simply cannot take my kids to activities, wash their favorite t-shirt or cook dinner. Of course they don’t starve or anything. God continues to be faithful in providing help and support through family and friends. (You know who you are…THANK YOU!!!)
So the i’s get dotted and the t’s get crossed around here without me being “supermom” but I still had this nagging mom guilt when I wasn’t able to do something for my kids. Until a wise friend and seasoned mother spoke these poignant words to me. “There’s more than one way to be supermom.”
Her words resonated with me and, over these long summer months, I began to find ways to redefine my ideas about the need to do things FOR my kids. Instead I started spending more time WITH them. We are doing things like having more conversations, reading a chapter book together, and playing Monopoly and Battleship.
I used to think being a good mom pretty much meant running them all around to the best activities, being involved in said activities, taking them fun places, and making healthy meals. Sure we talked and read and did devotions at night, but I was definitely more focused on the formerly mentioned things. Well maybe with the exception of the whole healthy meal thing. I was kinda flunking in that area anyway.
My kids still have activities and we go places. But there are also days that we stay home without any plans, and we have discovered ways to spend time together and have fun! I’ve learned that teaching my kids how to play games, reading to them and talking to them about their ideas and feelings is so much more valuable than making sure they are busy or entertained all of the time. And that’s all stuff I can do sitting down.
I am currently reading my boys a biography on Jim Elliot, a missionary to Ecuador, whose passion to reach the Auca Indians with the gospel cost him his life. Recently we put together a puzzle of the world map so they could see the location of Ecuador.
At first, they complained that this was “boring.” But when they realized we weren’t going anywhere and I wasn’t putting the TV on, they came around. The world map puzzle ended up being really fun and we are learning a lot about courage and determination for the cause of Christ from Jim Elliot.
I wouldn’t have chosen to get a muscle weakening disease that sometimes inhibits my walking ability in order to spend more time joyfully interacting with my kids. No one would do that. But in His sovereign grace, God promises to “work all things for good to those who love him.” Spending time WITH my kids instead of being their full-time employee – chauffeur, maid, cook, activities coordinator – is really, really GOOD for both me and them.
How blessed we are that God doesn’t let us just be “ourselves.” In love, He is constantly pushing us toward the image of His son, Jesus, giving us more wisdom, gentleness, faith and joy in what He deems best.
Grace be with you, my friends.