It’s August in Texas. It’s hot and muggy and miserable. It’s the time of year when it’s not even pleasant outside first thing in the morning or late in the evening. During the month of August, we usually just hunker down and wait for the day when October breezes start to blow and the penetrating heat finally lifts. (We would wait for September breezes, but September is a summer month!)
Life has been hard lately. Our days have been a blur of diaper changes, spilled drinks, temper tantrums, sibling fighting, laundry, homeschooling, dishes, and quick dashes to the grocery store. It’s good – but hard. Exhausting even. I don’t think I have ever felt stretched so thin before. Something (or two or three things!) are always needing to be done.
I know that one day the season will change. The kids will not stay little! Eventually they WILL all be out of diapers! Sometimes in parenting, it’s hard to not just live in the hope of future change.
It will be easier when Janie is eating table food.
It will be easier when I can just take a shower without wondering who will be fighting when I get out.
It will be easier when they are all out of diapers. It will be easier when they can brush their teeth without coating the sink and mirror in toothpaste.
It will be easier when they can all read their own assignments. It will be easier when I can leave them at home and just run to the store.
It will be easier when the youngest gets to junior high. We’ll have such freedom then!
It will be easier when they can drive.
It will be easier when…
The problem is that no season is without it’s challenges. When they’re bigger, the challenges will just change. And all the joys of this current stage – Janie’s baby giggles, Jonathan’s toddler voice pleading with me to sing to him at bedtime, Owen’s eagerness to learn to read and write, Gresham’s gap-toothed grin, Aidan’s enthusiasm for inventing and tinkering – will be gone! We, unfortunately, won’t be able to get this season back with these kids at these ages.
I want to completely get past living for the future. I want to get to the point of being able to embrace the now. Because the truth is if I can’t be content right now – with all the crumbs and sticky and noise and exhaustion – I don’t think I will ever be.
It’s easy to think that contentment is just around the next bend, just beyond the next change for the better. The next stage, the next promotion, the next house, the next improvement. But it’s not. Christ provides the strength for contentment in the now.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned how to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
P.S. – I have some practical thoughts coming on being content day-to-day when you’re exhausted and your kitchen floor is covered in cereal. Stay tuned!