Spare me the sympathy. The stares get a bit old.
The looks of sympathy. The “Oh, poor thing!” glances. Please. Spare me the sympathy.
Sure, sometimes I'm dragging fussy children through the store – a year and a half year old hobbit trying to climb out of the cart, grabbing at shelved (and most likely breakable) items and corraling an almost four old with eyes full of tears that I won't let her buy that Hello Kitty backpack she “…really, really needs, Mama!”
With a giant, pregnant belly. (Whaaaat? She's bringing another little terror into the world?)
In my dirty, grubby, farm clothes – mascara streamed down my cheeks from the tears that were shed when I clocked myself on the 4×4 post outside of the barn that (quite literally) came out of nowhere.
I may look old. And in need of sympathy. And frankly, quite pathetic.
But I'm a Mama. I'm a Mama to three beautiful children. And damnit. I want to hold my head high.
Instead of hearing “Oh, you've got your hands full!” I want to hear “Oh, you've got your hands full of beautiful blessings!”
Because here's the reality my friends – as difficult, challenging, humbling, and exhausting as this motherhood and pregnancy is – IT IS A BLESSING FROM THE LORD.
And the Lord that I serve faithfully sees children – not as an inconvenience and burden – but as a rich blessing:
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18: 1-3
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:10
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. Mark 9:37
To say that Jesus holds a high view of children is an understatement. …”for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” So why does our culture see raising children as simply something to ‘survive'? To ‘get through' so that we can enjoy our years of boredom and retirement? Why do we judge others for choosing to have “a quiver” full of children? Why do we escape at every possible opportunity from our responsibilities as parents, teachers, and caretakers of our children?
We don't value them. And we should.
Are they dirty, stinky, disobedient, sinful, and frustrating? YES, YES, and YES.
But so are we.
Each day, we sin against a just and holy God. We repeatedly do that which we know is wrong. We repeatedly turn to behaviors that are displeasing to our Father, just as our children do. And yet each day “His mercies are new” and our sins are forgiven seventy times seven times. No amount of sin can keep us from the love of our Heavenly Father. But that doesn't mean we are spared his discipline, to correct and straighten our ways.
And so it goes with our children.
We repeatedly discipline and teach. We repeatedly forgive their sins and bring them back to a place of joyful fellowship. It's such a beautiful example of the Lord's unconditional love for us – His children.
So Mama, as you're tromping through the grocery store aisles with a disobedient toddler, or when your teenager makes a poor decision, or your baby is throwing their food across the kitchen for the eighth time that day, or the fussing coming from sibling interactions is enough to make you want to slowly dip yourself in a scalding pot of hot lava or gouge your eyes out with a dull spoon – have peace.
Have peace in knowing that these crazy moments are from the Lord. They are teaching and shaping your little one's hearts and they are teaching and shaping your heart as well.
These crazy, poopy little humans are a blessing from the Lord.
Don't believe the lies of our culture.
It's not important that you look like a runway model or that your house is freshly cleaned and straightened. It's not even important that there's a from-scratch meal on the table three times a day.
It's important that your children know they are loved. And that they always will be – by you and by our Heavenly Father who loves them even more than we can comprehend!
He is at work in your home – he is at work in your heart.
Give grace to one another. “Oh, I'd never let me kid do that…” “I'd never let my kid eat that…” “My kids will never…” “Why don't they do that with their kids?”…”I can't believe they do that with their kids…” “What is that Mother thinking?”… “Those poor kids…” “If those were my kids I'd discipline them for that…”
So Spare Me the Sympathy.
Let's stop doing this to one another! Let's encourage one another. Let's lift one another up. Let's stop focusing on all the wrongs our children commit and focus on the forgiveness we get to offer them in the name of Christ! Let's stop having a meltdown every time our child has a meltdown (talking to myself here) and instead see it as a teachable moment in their life. Let's stop acting like these child rearing and child bearing years are just something to power through – can we not SAVOR THEM for the incredible learning and faith building experience that they are?
Each day, even though we fail, the Lord gives us grace.
Let's give that grace to one another.
Yes, Mama, your hands are full. They are full of beautiful blessings.
More of my ramblings on motherhood and parenting: