"Six years passed between my third child, Nathan, and my fourth child, Joy. I had had three miscarriages and didn't think I would ever have another baby. By the time Joy came, I had lived through the early youth of my other three children and had seen that they really did grow up quickly. Finally, by experience, I understood that the dependent stage of early childhood was only for a season. I could see how important it was to enjoy each day and treasure these moments of early life with my children, because the years did pass quickly. How I wished I could take back all the impatient words I had said, all the guilt I had imposed on my older children just because they were acting their age and taking up my time. Fortunately, they remember mostly the good times and not my immature responses to their normal behavior.
I was much more patient with the interruptions that Joy brought to my life because I realized that I might never have this opportunity again. I cherished our time alone while she nursed. I enjoyed the sweet moments when she would crawl into bed with me and snuggle close. Having made my peace (mostly) with the reality that giving my children time is a part of serving them, I was able to relax and open myself to the joys of being with them.
These days I have no baby in the house. Instead, I have an exuberant seven-year-old and three teenagers. And these beloved children still take up all of my time, but in different ways. Yet since I know that this is a necessary sacrifice, a part of my service to them and to God, it is easier to bear--partly because I have made the choice to embrace the task of mothering, partly because I have come to terms with the natural demands children make on my time, but mostly because my attitude has changed." ~ The Mission of Motherhood
Of course if you know our family, you're aware that the seven-year-old I mentioned is now in her first year at Biola University, while the teenagers have grown into lovely adults who are my best friends. And now, even more, I realize how swiftly time flies and how quickly our opportunity to serve and nurture and shape the hearts of our children in such an intensive way, 24 hours a day, passes by.
Looking at Jesus interacting with His disciples; with crowds, pushing and pulling, demanding, shouting, jostling most days for three years straight; reading of how He took children on His lap when others would have pushed them away; amazed at how He washes 120 toes the night before He is sentenced to death--all of these things give me a picture of what my life as a mom is all about. True joy comes ... sometimes slowly ... in fits and starts ... two steps forward, one step back ... when I develop a long-range vision and believe His promise that my work will not go unrewarded.