Little loaves and fishes

As charming and precious as they are, children, particularly the kind that stay home with you all day, are all-consuming.  These days, I really feel it.  I feel their frenetic energy that I can never keep up with.  I'm peppered with incessant questions that I never seem to have the answer for.  The noodles are too hot, the cookies disappear too quickly, and I never know how to play the game in quite the right way.  They wake up too early and stay up too late.  Talk about being in the weeds.  One thing that being a mom has taught me lately is that motherhood is a terrible thing to put my hope and identity in.  Don't get me wrong, it's great if all is going well.  Like when they eat peas without complaining, never wipe their noses on the furniture or embarrass you in public (theoretically speaking).  Then it all falls apart.  Expectations don't get met, I or my children aren't who I dreamed they would be, life gets just too hard.  When I measure my worth by what I do, when what I do isn't right or isn't "good enough", what then?

But perhaps our kids aren't supposed to be projects to perfect or problems to solve.  Maybe raising boys into godly men is simply moms and dads living out their relationships with God, in front of their children.  Learning to love as He loves.  Learning together what it means to be a disciple, because they don't have it figured out either.   There are and always will be mistakes to be made and to learn from.   The more that we expose our hearts to our children on a moment by moment basis, the more they see that faith and grace are a part of everyday life, and not just in Bible stories.

There are truths that I know in my head, and it has taken a long time to know it in my heart: that God gave me children to make me more like Jesus.  That I have exactly what God knew my kids need as a mother.  If I am willing to stop trying so hard and to be ok with my weakness, I can lean into the strength that only God can give.  Hubert Van Zeller writes, "The whole business of serving God becomes simply a matter of adjusting yourself to the pressures of existing conditions....This is the first lesson for the Christian wife and mother today: to let go of what may once have been - and under other circumstances might now be - a recollected self, and take on, with both hands, the plan of God."  Then I can get to work with what he has placed right in front of me.  They are my children, not interruptions.  And I don't succeed or fail based on what my kids do or who they grow up to be, because they are their own little people and are going to grow up to make their own choices regardless.  There is only One whose opinion I need to care about.  God just calls me to be faithful and to bring along my basket of little loaves and fishes.  They are insufficient, but they are exactly what they are supposed to be.  I'm learning to trust him with the rest.

"Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of him".

-Come Ye Sinners, Joseph Hart, 1759

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