Seeing Eternity

Rough days are the worst.  It’s like they suck the life out of you.  Kids are fighting, the place is a mess, you’re running late, dinner just can’t seem to get ready, you’re stressed, and the baby has decided it’s his goal in life to lay claim to all your minutes of the day.  And yet it’s more than that, it’s like this heavy oppressive feeling that you can’t shake.  You try to take five minutes for yourself, but the kids follow you.  You try to eat some chocolate (my favorite solution), but somehow the kids know you’re eating contraband and find you.  You try to pray, but it really doesn’t make you feel any better because your situation hasn’t changed when you’re done.

I hate those days.  And they seem to happen way too often.  I could handle an occasional off day, but life with little people seems like signing up to live in a mental hospital.  I get too overwhelmed, and I just don’t know what to do next.

As moms, it seems like our lives are filled with a lot of necessary banality.  Nothing frustrates me more than having people tell me to focus on the things that matter and have eternal importance.  No, laundry and cooking may not seem like they have eternal importance, but if we stop doing those things, hungry and naked children will probably make our lives more miserable than clothed and fed ones.  I got so frustrated thinking my life was doomed to be consumed by trivial stuff and I could never spend my time on the things I felt were important. 

I think about Susana Wesley a lot.  That woman had nineteen children, God bless her heart.  I’ll bet a lot of her day was consumed by dishes and diapers.  But two things about her strike me.  First, she had a strong relationship with the Lord.  The kids knew if Mom had an apron over her head, you didn’t bother her because she was talking to Jesus.  And secondly, two of her children birthed an entire denomination that witnessed to millions and brought them to Christ.  What kind of woman must she have been?  I want to be more like her!  I’m sure she learned how to model and teach Christ through the chaos of kids and mess and make it all important.

That’s what I’m coming to learn. It’s all important.  When I get annoyed I have to change a diaper, I try to stop and think about who this little person is going to be one day.  Maybe it’s an honor to get to change his diaper and help usher him into adulthood and teach him the values that will make him a man of God.  When the kids are fighting, it’s a chance to not only watch their personalities and learn what drives them, but it’s an opportunity to shape some character.  Things like making sure dinner and outside time happen are windows to show kids what discipline looks like.  I call it seeing eternity.

I try not to downplay the importance of what I do anymore, except maybe the occasional joke on a bad day (hey, we have to laugh to keep from crying, right?).  I have been honored with the gift to look at the future every day.  To see the next generation of champions birthed and formed.  That’s a really big deal.  It’s a concept that moves me to tears.  It gives me purpose and drive when before, I was angry that my identity was lost in the seemingly trivial.  And it helps make the annoying things that are truly unimportant seem less of an irritation.  It makes the bad days not so bad because I remember I’m watching history in the making and the rough stuff is what’s going to make my kids legendary in God’s kingdom.

I think Paul the Apostle knew this.  In Philipians 3:14, he says the words that are very famous now. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  What struck me for the very first time is what he said next, in verse 15.  “Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.”

“Have this in mind.”  It’s a mindset, to see our lives through the frame that we’re pressing on to our goal.  It keeps us from being lost and discouraged as often as we are, because we can keep that end in mind and hold tightly to it.  We can see eternity in the everyday.

Now excuse me please, because the baby’s crying, and some very hungry children are waking up.

 

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