Saturday, August 27, 2016

Enduring Summer

You don't "endure summer" right? Isn't summer supposed to be the best time of year? Well, if you are a mom with school age children, you likely have had to endure your share of parenting challenges this summer. The routines are off. You need to line up childcare, day camps, overnight camps, fun activities and vacations. Having time to yourself is a major luxury. It’s hard to keep up with the daily chores that seem simple when the kids are in school. Forget being able to think straight…especially if you have multiple children and/or children with special needs. Summer feels like a marathon on the hottest day of the year.

Endurance: the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.

I realized the other day as I was scrolling through my own instagram feed: “gosh, it looks like we had this amazing summer and I look happy and peaceful, like I’m having so much fun.” Don’t get me wrong - there were many fun times and moments that were very happy, peaceful and will forever remain in my “happy memories” bank. However, the reality of my summer is that I am tired, drained and some days I think it’s very possible I may lose my sanity…”STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS I CAN’T ANSWER!!!!” When it’s 3 of them coming at you like you’re Google it gets old after the first week…okay day. 

In my quiet time with God the other morning I was reading scriptures about endurance and almost all of them stated in some form that enduring through suffering and hardships is the way that God helps us build character, patience and endurance. Honestly, as I read the scriptures I really felt like telling God, “thanks but no thanks”…if this is the process for becoming patient and strong and of good character just forget it! It’s the end of August and it’s been a long summer and I just really don’t feel like doing it God’s way at the moment.

“We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:2-5 ESV

But obedience. Hmph. The Bible tells us we are to be obedient to God’s word. It doesn’t say we can pick and choose which words we will obey and which we won’t. We know, because the Bible tell us, that God’s way is always better than doing it our own way. Every time, always. And what we get when we are obedient to His word: joy and peace even when we are enduring challenging times and situations. 

“The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we kep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.”
1 John 5:2-3 MSG

Coming to terms with the fact that God’s purpose for me in this time is to raise my children for His glory has not been easy for me. I had much different plans for myself. And when I realized that His purpose for me was to focus on raising His children I had the mindset of “I HAVE to do this. God is making me do this right now.” But God’s been dealing with me and showing me that I GET to do this as a ministry for Him. It’s still a process and I need to check my attitude on the daily but I have made great progress which has brought contentment to my heart and my life. 

As mothers we often feel unappreciated and taken for granted - like nobody sees and nobody cares how hard we are working and what we are “giving up” to serve our families. And when we feel this way we must remember that God sees and God cares. After all, we’re ultimately doing this for Him. 

And may appear on social media that other moms have little angels and things are going marvelous this summer, she's getting it all done and making amazing memories with her children. We all share our highlights, our shining moments. I don't share my kids' meltdowns or sibling fights, I share the smiles and the fun. You are not alone. Every single one of us is struggling to do it right and keep our sanity. I will repeat are not alone.

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