There was a time in my parenting “career” where the exhaustion of everyday life with small children wore heavily on me. I was more tired than not, more beaten down then lifted up, and more lost than found. Who can remember any more what I might have been “dealing” with on this pivotal moment in my faith, but it probably had something to do with lots of noise after a sleepless night and some children who know how to argue their mother silly. I sent them all to naps not a minute too soon and my whole being dropped heavily onto the couch. And I remember clearly thinking, “They’re gonna kill me!”

But God…

…in His gracious way changed my perspective. “No. They are sanctifying you.”

While the story might give you cause for great worry in my parenting ability, be assured that God has brought me a long way since I opened the door of the unknown called “Motherhood”.

Perspective. From negative to positive. From trial to opportunity. Death to life.

Last week I was on vacation. My three older gems spent ten days with devoted grandparents. They visited the Alamo, continued in their studies, learned how to do crazy things like make pasta and corn tortillas (you’d have to know my mom), and stayed up way too late.

And me? Well, I did whatever I felt like doing! There was no school to apply myself to. There were less teeth to brush and mouths to feed and beds to make. I did whatever seemed fun to me.

One thing I longed to do in the absence of my brood-in-full, was walk the Strand. I could, theoretically, do that with all four in tow, but it would involve scooters and innocent bystanders leaping out of the path of danger, some concern on how our small army is perceived, and would I really be able to keep up with three energetic children zipping around on scooters?

I parked at the SeaLab and had plans of walking until I was almost lost. I was going to pray while I pounded the pavement. I was going to think clearly as Simon sat in the stroller and watched the sights. It was going to be wonderful and healthy and refreshing and everything I wanted! I couldn’t wait!

Well, that I forgot that vacations with two year olds are hardly ever about the parent! What kind of  mother would I be, all prayerful and exercising, if I ignored the cries of a boy, “I want run! I want run!”

I finally let him out of his “cage” and run he did… for a while. Every gate that was passed had to be climbed and every dog we passed had to be gushed over. My “walk” quickly became a “shuffle”. After what seemed like way too long we finally got to the actual pier. Ten minutes later I was still at the beginning of that pier following the short one around as he climbed the fence, sat on benches, told me, “I see ocean!” about a million times.

But you know, it was okay. While my old self might have seen this as a great opportunity to gripe about not getting what I wanted, I found myself looking for beauty in the journey – the view of beach cities waiting for the Gospel, the dance of the surfers as they followed the lead of the waves, the squeaky little voice that kept saying, “I see ocean, Mommy! Mommy, I see ocean!” Things I hadn’t really cared to see while reaching my goal of walking for the sake of walking.

Perspective. Eyes to see. A heart to relish. A mind to choose thankfulness.

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