Is it work? Yes.
Is it all worth it? Yes it is!
Does it always feel like it's worth it? No, not always.
Its in those moments, I realize where this yuck thing I struggle with creeps in. Its called....SELF!
I struggle with that "thing" quite often actually. God has a strange sense of humor. I like quiet. Noise stresses me out and yet He chose to give me 8 boys!! 7 out of 8 of them are 14 down to 5 years old! That's funny! Ok, some days its hard to laugh at times, but I realize just how much work I needed to become more like Christ and He choose to show me through noise I suppose. If you didn't know, boys are LOUD!! Everything about them! Voices, ESPN, bodily noises...ugh (think about it, 7 boys at home AND a husband!), playtime, and even "quiet time" is never quiet. For about 7 hours out of 24, for the most part, while they are sleeping CAN be quiet. What do I then, listen to my ticking clock. Yes, it ticks and tocks!!! You wouldn't know that it does during the day! Anyway, back to my point...
I AM SELFISH!
I don't like it. I can feel it creeping up on me almost constantly. From the time I wake up, to the time my head hits the pillow. Even my dreams revolve around me! Ha! Just this morning, I was sitting on my porch and I was alone for a few seconds, sipping my coffee. I was actually enjoying my silence A.L.O.T. Suddenly, one boy comes out, then another, and soon, all seven and my youngest little girl, all joined me. They saw my stillness, and respected me greatly and just sat quietly and stared at me until I completed my coffee. (Insert roaring laughter) In reality, I felt my tenseness grow as the first one started to argue with the other one and then a baseball comes flying onto the porch missing my head by inches, and soon the youngest is screaming at the top of her lungs because a brother has tripped her "accidently" and she fell and scraped her knee. Within seconds of my quiet coffee moment, the battle with "self" began. I desire to be patient, loving, kind with my responses, but I fail miserably so often.
I want to teach my children to respond patiently, lovingly and kindly but then I realize, I need to be their example. How do I do that? Moment by moment. Truth is, more often then not, I respond incorrectly. The first, second and maybe even the third time, I got that covered but by the fourth or fifth time of arguing, tattling, or screaming I hear in 1 minute or less, I have HAD it! I would like to sit here and tell you I have all of this figured out, but I don't. I will tell you, that I run to my Father. My Heavenly Father helps me put things in perspective. Yes, HE is my answer! I have to turn to Him day by day, moment by moment, to get a hold of "self". Does He know the struggles I face raising this next generation for Him? Yep! Think of all the "unruly" children He has to parent! When He walked this earth, it seemed some days everybody was against Him and yet He CHOOSE to put others first. I am finding out more and more, it is a CHOICE I make to embrace the job given to me as a mother of 12. I CANNOT put myself first hardly ever! That's hard! I'm guilty of letting my kids watch a movie so I can have some time to myself. Is that wrong? Not always but what is my hearts motive at the time? It's the times when I get off my duff and go play baseball with them or shoot some hoops, I'm horrible at both of those things but they don't seem to care, or build a bike ramp, that we laugh, and connect and suddenly "self" doesn't seem so important. I only have this time for a short time. Its been 21 years since my last one was an infant and what I wouldn't do to go back in time for another hike, have one more picnic, or color a picture together with him. It's gone! I won't remember all those quiet sips of coffee I missed or the ticking of the clock. Those things will ALL be there when I'm gray and old, well the gray has kicked in already, but old anyway. These precious years are quickly going by. Use these moment of His "Nudges of Grace". I see it in pictures and I hear it in their voices. I also hear it in my Fathers voice...
"I have given you this opportunity to show these children MY love and MY grace. Spend these moments wisely. Treasure the time when you have all the answers and they want to sit on your lap and stroke your hair, mama. I am using this time to mold you and them, into something that goes beyond your "SELF". It reaches all the way to MY heart. Love them. Simply, love Me and teach them to do the same. That is my desire and in that dying to "self", you will find rest."
You see, it is actually MORE of a struggle to be selfish then it is to learn to rest in Jesus and give "self" to Him. The rewards are so great!! Better than a quiet porch with a cup of coffee.
It is so true. When we find that only HIS love satisfies our "self" desires, then we can rest in the tasks that seem so hard. How do you find Him? Ask Him to show you. He will!
I think I will go climb a tree now, or at least watch and act how scared I am that they are climbing too high and tell them how brave they must be! Yep, that's what I will go do! :)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 (ESV)