The longer I am a mother, the more I am convinced that this is the one role that I have in this life that will stretch me, challenge me, humble me, and keep me on my knees more than any other. Nothing has taken my attention off me and onto someone else more than being a mom.
Motherhood is hard. No doubt about it. Not every day though. Some days are fabulous and I think I have totally arrived at getting it right. I get into bed at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction–a feeling of “This is what I was created to be!” Bliss.
Tougher days seem to creep up on me every so often too. Not because of my kids, or anything bad that they do, but simply because of me–sinful human me. The woman who fails and gets back up again more times that I dare to count.
So my sons are scouts. They love it. This year is Cade’s first year as a Tiger cub scout. With Daddy as his leader, he has absolutely loved it–even down to the thrill of putting on his “universe” (a.k.a. “uniform”) every Monday night. It has been such a joy to watch him get into scouts and love everything about being a Tiger. His enthusiasm is such a sweet thing to watch.
You can imagine Cade’s excitement when he came home after scouts one night with a little wooden car that he needed to paint, put wheels on, and get ready for the Pinewood Derby, where he would race his little creation. Oh my, the dude was super-duper excited. With Daddy’s help, he spent hours molding and decorating his car to be exactly the way he wanted it to be. He was so proud of his masterpiece.
The big night finally arrived. Kellan was also racing a car, and the two boys were very excited. They could hardly wait to let those cars loose on the track.
“Are you coming to watch, Mom?” they asked me over and over.
“Absolutely, Honeys, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
We climbed into the bus early to ensure that we got there in plenty of time. They didn’t want to miss out on a single minute of the action.
As the boys got ready for the big race, I sat with Hailee and Harper–feeding them snacks to keep them happy. Gotta love snacks! Harper started to get a little antsy, so Hannah-Claire walked with her around the hall to keep her occupied. At some point she spotted the door which led to outside, and made beeline for it. Smarty pants. I watched her pick up her pace as she exuberantly made her way to her escape from the confines of the crowded hall.
Ahhhh…the joys of having newfound walking freedom.
The girl knew exactly what she wanted…the heck out of that place!
I sat there watching the scene unfold, and knew instinctively where it was heading…to disaster.
Hannah-Claire gently steered Harper in the opposite direction–the one which led back into the hall. Uh-uh. The girl would NOT have it. She was a toddler on a mission by that point, and she certainly let Hannah-Claire know all about it. Torrents of tears, accompanied by her most determined screams, began to flow.
What happened next was very predictable. I simply knew what was to come. Hailee, already fidgety by then, saw her sister in a tizzy, and she proceeded to join in. It’s just the way it goes around here. One gets upset and the other follows hot on their heels. I sat there with two screaming lovies. And the car race had not even begun yet. I tried everything I could to console them. But at the same time I knew it was futile. Once the river of tears flow, it is very hard to get them to stop. Impossible, really.
So, reluctantly I did the only thing I know to do in a situation like that…I took them away from the chaos and the three of us went to sit in the car. I so hoped they would calm down enough to be able to go back inside–perhaps even to just see the end of the races. But I also knew it was hopeless. We’ve been there, done that many times in the past. They were done. Totally over it. Our outing had abruptly come to a grinding halt before it had even begun.
I sat there in the dark car, with two screaming kids in the car seats behind me, feeling completely deflated. Miserable that my plans had not worked out the way I had hoped they would. I didn’t want to be in that car. I wanted to be inside, watching my sons. This was not going according to plan.
What ensued was a pity-party-of-note. I wallowed in my self-inflicted misery.
Ugh. Not a good thing!
And then suddenly, in the darkness of that cold evening, a gentle reminder from Him spoke to my heart. The ONE who holds my heart in His hands whispered the words I needed to hear at that moment…
“This is not about you, Adéye!”
How many times have I heard God say that to me? Countless, no doubt.
It’s a lesson I have learned so many times before, but still fail at.
A lesson I am trying to get right more often.
It is not about me!
Being a mother is sacrificial love. Always.
It is not about me–but about these whom the Lord has entrusted into my care for a very short season. This love is about putting their needs before my own. Even when I don’t feel like it. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when I would rather be doing something else–anything else. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s the last thing in the world I feel like doing at that given moment.
This love for my children is about learning to love as God first loved me.
With abounding grace.
With perfect kindness.
I have such a long, long way to go in learning how to love sacrificially. I’m a slow learner.
Of course, race night went on and my two boys hardly even noticed that I wasn’t there. They were too busy focusing on their cars, the competition, and the hype of the evening. And when I shared with them later on about what happened and why we had to leave, they were full of compassion and understanding. They know their sisters and love them just the way they are.
They understood and extended utmost grace. They just smiled and said, “It’s okay, Mom. We understand. You didn’t really miss much anyway. Are the girls okay now?”
There is so much that I can learn from my sons.
More of Him and so much less of me. That’s what I long for.