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!
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life Aug 27, 2014
Goodness. The thought of not ever being able to get back those things. That got my attention. My baby is 7 months now (almost 8) and the speed with which her little baby days passed has been on my mind a lot recently. It does go by so fast!
Sarah Aug 27, 2014
I hope I didn't come across too gloomy - that was not the intent! Each stage has good things about it, so there is always something to look forward to. I just don't want to live focusing on the hard things and then *poof* it's gone. Our baby girl is our last, and I sometimes wish I could freeze time for her! :-)
Christy Aug 29, 2014
I don't think this post is gloomy at all. I was thinking you did a great job of giving us some perspective without any guilt. :-)
Christina Sep 2, 2014
I know just what you mean! Contentment always seems just out of reach when I look for it out ahead, but when I seek it right where I am, it's easier to hold on to. Great post!
Katherine Sep 16, 2014
I will uphold you in prayer as I know oh too well what you are feeling these days! As my season has abruptly changed I thank you for the reminder of the truth that you and I can both "do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
God Bless and thanks for sharing your life with us!
Jen Sep 16, 2014
Sarah, I always love reading your posts. I have thought about the concepts in your article many times over the past few years. A friend used the word "recalibrating" to describe my life with young boys--getting used to wrestling, noise, silliness, etc. This is what God has given me right now, and I am learning to be more thankful every day! I love my kids so much, and I am changing to be the mother I need to be at the same time they are changing to be the men they will someday be. Every mess, every tear, every fight is a perfect opportunity for learning (for all of us!). I don't want to wish any of it away. It may be hard at times, but it is good!
Sarah Sep 18, 2014
Yes, it is an adjustment, isn't it? Living with the noise and wrestling is a challenge, but you are so right that it's much more enjoyable when we embrace the chance to grow and learn together!
Hannah Sep 16, 2014
The Lord knew I needed to read this today, as I sit here like a blob as my body fights mastitis and the kids eat cereal for dinner and the house is a disaster zone all around me! Thank you for your honesty and focus on giving Christ first place!
Sarah Sep 18, 2014
Oh, mastitis is NO fun! Thank you for your comment, and I hope you feel better soon!
Karen Moy Aug 17, 2015
Well said. I have a three word phrase which helps me focus on living in the present:
Live. Right. Now.
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