Jack turned one a few Sundays ago. My heart was full with thanks, memories, relief that that first month was not to be relived:). What a beautiful, fun-loving, joyful, strong, funny, determined little one we are blessed with. In the time of postpartum depression, I could never have imagined the beauty of his life and liveliness.
Sleepless nights, deferred goals, multiplied chores, inconvenient days…all of those are included in parenthood. I stand today thankful. I am thankful for this opportunity and humbled by it. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and forget the miracle and not stop to experience the joy of moments that are racing by. The giggles, the new milestones and funny tricks, the little mumbles and squeals…all can be easily missed.
You know what I hate, though? These nagging thoughts that pull on my joy. I am still trying to figure out balance–time in the word, time to keep house, time to cook, time to minister, time to do business, time to invest in my relationship with Greg, time to teach Jack, time to play with Jack, time to invest in family, time to invest in friendships, time to exercise. I seriously do not know how to do it. The thoughts that play in my head include the word “fail” a lot.
We all choose ways to try to make life work. I have found myself struggling with two things…seeking peace where it is not to be found and comparing my family situation with others. Everyone needs breaks to regroup. The Lord has convicted me that I think that breaks and a vacation and date night and quiet times is where I will find my peace…where I will finally rest. The only problem is I have not been getting any of these regularly or at all. So, as with every expectation that is blocked, I get frustrated. I think “if I could just…if they would just…I need more of…” Until the last two weeks, I have not been diving into the Word consistently. I have been expecting little breaks and laziness to be my solace.
This backward thinking has been designed in the sinfulness of my heart. I have been seeking my idols of comfort and ease. See, I have always sought after them before God. He has been teaching me for a long time about this, and I always forget and forsake Him to try to be comfortable again. I then begin to prop up my idols by comparing (coveting) my situation with other parents who are leaving their kids with grandparents a lot or going on vacations alone or even with their family. See, I have not been joyful for them…I have just been thinking that they have it made…poor old me.
The Lord woke me up to the grossness of my thoughts. He reminded me that peace is only found in Him. No vacation or quiet or pampering or girl’s night or date night will give me the peace that passes understanding…only Him. I have found solace and true joy in His Truth again. He has allowed me to see where I have allowed these thoughts to take control–the more I have spent time in Him, the more I see the battle for these thoughts of covetousness.
Weirdly enough, I have entertained them much more as a mom than as a woman who struggled with infertility. In infertility, I spent a lot of time in the word and in trying to guard my heart against sin. I spent a lot of time then reminding myself that the purpose of life on earth is not to be fulfilled with marriage and children and vacations and stuff. I remembered daily that my hope is found in Christ and in eternity where we will see fully and experience fully His joy. Since I have less extended time to spend in the word and I have not guarded my heart against sin in this area, it has been covetouspalooza in my mind and heart. I have experienced amnesia of where my hope is to come from.
I am so thankful that the Lord has graciously awakened me to this sin pattern and the truth of His grace and hope in the midst of this season of my life. I do not come to you today with seven steps to get “cured,” but I come reminded of His grace in the Gospel, the power and efficiency of His Word, the joy that is experienced in Him. Instead of having a free for all of jealous thoughts, I have been working toward remembering truth, rejoicing with those who rejoice and choosing to be thankful for so many blessings in my life. It is still a struggle but one that I see the lie in now.
I want to be faithful…I want Greg and Jack to be spurred on in that…to see the richness of Christ. That is more important that any momentary comfort on this earth. I also remember that there is an eternity to travel and rest on the new earth. Following Christ I lack nothing.