Without a doubt, there is a great amount of stress that goes into traveling with little people. Toys and books drop in the van. Clothing gets stained. Voices become loud. Jumping on hotel beds occurs. Parental blood pressure rises. And I suddenly catch myself gritting my teeth and saying, “Why can’t you all just be PERFECT?!” But they aren’t perfect, nor will they ever be, in this world. And my heart is pricked with the realization that sometimes the problem is ME. Am I REACTING to the daily conflict and chaos, like I ought to be?
Psalm 113:9 speaks of “... a joyful mother of children...” On the difficult days, how easy it is to lose that joy. When they’re still awake at 11:00 p.m. and asking for another drink of water . . . I know – I’m in the trenches myself right now. But they are our REWARD – our BLESSINGS! How often do we neglect to treat them as such?
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
Genesis 33:5 “And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.”
Graciously given . . . They are a GIFT, My Friend! Somewhere in the overwhelming stickiness of jam and the changing of diapers, we can forget that fact. We can forget to truly TREASURE our children! I’m not speaking of idolizing them – not putting them first in our marriages or first in our lives, but CHERISHING them as God would have us do.
When was the last time we TOOK THE TIME – to read the book, to sing the song, to pull out the Play-Doh, to look up from our phones and see the little faces in need of us, once again?
Instead, in our frustration and annoyance, we can find ourselves mindlessly muttering, “Not tonight”, or “Not right now”, or “Not this time, Sweetheart - Mommy’s busy.”
Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones . . .”
Now I am a great believer in mothers “taking time” for themselves. I’m not talking about refusing yourself the renewing that we so desperately need to keep going every day. However, as parents, we can become guilty of laziness and selfishness, and of addressing our children with very little kindness. We can interrupt them, can speak in frustration toward them, can ignore them – many of the same things we rebuke OUR CHILDREN for.
James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath...”
The Bible reminds us that we as parents have the ability to either anger or encourage our children by our parenting methods:
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
This verse speaks of disciplining as well as warning, but without needless severity. One commentator described this idea as placing them “under such discipline and instruction that they shall become acquainted with the Lord.” Are we remembering what an important role we play in leading our children to the Savior?
Perhaps this is a day to bow our heads and to ask the Lord to help us TREASURE our sons and our daughters, once more. Children will whine, they will argue, they will try our patience at times. They will, literally, climb over the back of the couch, like mine are at this present moment. Our words, our actions, our attitudes toward our children are powerful, Sweet Mamas! Are we seeing our Little Ones as God sees them, today? Are we THANKING GOD for them, and continuing to lead them to Him?
If it were always easy, then there would be no reason for Titus 2:4: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children . . .” Sometimes we all need instruction and encouragement in this area of our lives - myself included! And now I will calmly request that my children stop closing each other in the hotel closet . . . Because my little girls are sweet GIFTS FROM GOD.