After a string of long days, it had culminated into the perfect storm. My two-year-old, four-year-old, and seven-year-old each had the issues of a titanic about to sink. All at the same time. Temper, stubborn and bossy.
I’d hit at least 80% of the never-would-I-ever-do-as-a-mother vows in one day. The control I should have had dissipated into the reality of spilled milk and dramatic meltdowns. I felt like a failure as a mom and worried the next Bonnie and Clyde might be living under my wing.
“Thank-you, Jesus, for whoever invented the bed,” I breathed as my back relaxed against the mattress. My feet ached, my head pounded, but worse, my heart sorrowed. I’d fallen so far from the mark. I’d lost my temper. I’d said words. I’d pulled a small arm a little too hard. I’d seethed inwardly against the littlest loves of my heart.
I felt rotten.
It comes back to me now, twenty-some years later.
“How did you do it?” My mommy-daughter stands in front of me. A four-year-old straddles her hip. It had been a day. A homeschool-teacher-mother kind of a really bad day, when roles collided and discipline-accomplished-nothing sort of a day.
Through my adult daughter’s beautifully unhappy eyes, I still see a little girl inside with questions and doubts, and something within melts.
“Look at you,” I want to say. “You are molding a soul, and it reaches into eternity. It is beyond what you see. What you do is significant. It is change-the-world big.”
My daughter wants concrete solutions, clear direction—right now kind of answers. Sometimes, however, parental vision must be renewed by squinting far ahead into what can’t yet be seen. I want her to learn the discipline of looking beyond.
Standing in the kitchen with Legos strewn about the floor and peanut butter smeared on the table, I attempt a feeble response.
“This is just a piece of something much bigger.”
She gives me an eye roll.
I remember Hebrews 12: 1-2, and I know endurance is in where you look and at whom.
“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
Our English word agony comes from the original Greek word used in Hebrews for race. It’s not a cake walk.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
It is much easier to focus on the mountain of tennis shoes sitting on chunks of mud by the front door or the coats piled on the couch. Hebrews tells us to instead stare at Christ.
“…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Christ Himself looked far ahead, beyond the suffering of the cross.
A day like today is a good day to refocus perspective.
“It’s hard to look far enough ahead, but all this,” I wave my arm, “will be so worth it.”