Being a mom is not very private. Some of us moms begin parenthood by sharing body space with our little ones. And all moms give what is left of their hearts to that little person long before they lay eyes on them or sign the papers.
That, of course, is just the beginning. I don’t need to go into the squirming fingers under the bathroom door, waking up to find one or more nightmare victims in your bed or a little person sharing details with a stranger in the grocery store.
Being a person who craves quiet time and spaces, motherhood has challenged me to the very core of who I am. It is easy to rush the kids into bed so I can finally collapse behind a closed door and breathe.
In Jesus’ dealings with children, His attitude is very different. When children are brought to Him, He smiles. He welcomes them. He says,” Let the little children come unto me.”
As a mother who is with my children almost 24/7, I feel the tension of refreshing myself emotionally, training my children to respect the needs of others including their mother and the open invitation Jesus extended to the little ones. It is an area I continually work on in my life.
What does it look like when I give more of myself and make my life an invitation to my children? I’m not sure I have many answers, but this is what I’ve been doing lately:
Morning Quiet Time
I have always loved the quiet hour to myself after my husband left for work and before the children woke up. I curl up on the couch and read my Bible, journal and sip coffee.
One of my kids is especially sensitive to following Jesus right now. He asked me the other night, “Mom, when you get up in the morning to have your devotions, will you wake me up? I want to have mine, too.” Of course, I miss my alone time and I do ask that child to respect my need for quiet during that hour. However, what better way than to invite him into my life with Jesus? If I don’t introduce them, who else will?
I am naturally sedentary. I spent my favorite times of childhood reading, writing and playing the piano. One of my latest projects is to correct that by moving more in a way I enjoy. When we lost our treadmill to the flood earlier this year, I decided to take my walks outside when the sun is getting up. A few of my kids begged to come along.
My original idea was to have a quiet morning walk to muse over the day ahead and perhaps have some extra prayer time. But, every time I take a walk (still working on that discipline), at least one of my boys is right there beside me.
One morning, we decided to sprint as fast as we could every other telephone pole. Of course, he was barely winded and I was gasping for breath at the end of the street. He had mercy on me, and we cooled down by walking down the other side of the street. We were almost home when a voice called out, “So, who won?” We laughed all the rest of the way home that our neighbor thought we were having a pre-breakfast race. And I was glad I had invited him along.
My kids have been sleeping through the night for 3 or 4 years now. I can pretty much send them to bed and do my own thing. I figured the baby stage was over, and I could spend my evenings after they went to bed reading or getting some extra work done.
Then I became the mother of a teenager, and another child is closing the gap between child and teen. The funny thing about teens is you can try every tactic you know to engage them in conversation all day long, but they have absolutely no response until you’re ready to go to bed. Our longest and deepest talks happen after everyone else is sleeping, and we’re the only two (or three – sometimes Dad joins us) awake. I like to think that these are the things memories are made of. Even when I start to fall asleep while they’re talking, I’m glad I invite them into my room. Into my life.
Because life is fragile, but like Jesus said, “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”