Children are for forever, not just for Christmas – (Eternal Perspective part 2)

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Keeping a healthy ‘perspective’ as a parent can be a minute by minute, blow by blow challenge – and that’s on a good day! It’s so much more than not crying over spilt milk or ‘sweating the small stuff’ it’s the kind of heart wrenching. guilt fighting, confidence crushing moments when we either choose to rise up and remember who we are or we hide under that ‘no one gave me a manual for this’ table in your corner of the world.

“No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have a child. When you see the baby in your arms and you know that it’s your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear.”

‘About Time’

Parenting can so often feel like we’ve bitten off more than we can chew; like the family dog on a Sunday afternoon walk attempting to cart home the fallen tree rather than the small stick thrown as part of a game. You see it’s not a game is it? This parenting job is the biggest thing I’ve ever done and ever will do. My children are my greatest achievement and my greatest challenge; they’re my greatest joy and my deepest fear. My children are to blame for my sleep deprivation and essential oil intoxication with their feeding, rocking, hushing and sleep fighting, with their growing pains and their stalling games. Coffee brings temporary relief but what you’re really feeling is nap grief (smile).But when they sleep you stare and run your fingers through their hair and kiss their rosebud lips whilst taking sips…of cold coffee!

And you’re right. Nobody gives us a manual – but come on out from your hiding place and take your space in the land of the alive and living because you.can.do.this!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear –  1 John 4:18

Parenting with an eternal perspective starts from the womb. Not when you were in the womb (I’m not that deep, really!) but when your child is in uteri sapping your energy, hauling you into bed at 8pm and helping you become familiar with the toilet mixing bowl as your hormones do that crazy ride that no one seems to be able to explain or understand…apart from those ‘helpful’ mothers who felt a bit nauseous during pregnancy and tell you to stop eating sugar, eat raw ginger, exercise, sip lemon juice…but I know, I get it. Nothing.Works

We parent in the here and the now.  We so often desire to press the HDR button of our falsely photogenic life to focus on the ‘moment’ of mothering tranquillity where children play at our feet as we listen to gentle music and sip on tea – yet in the blurred out background of that instagramable moment is the crazy and the messy and the real and the raw. And that’s where we live. Time to adjust our perspective; go ahead and squint a little – now do you see the gift?

They are gifts these children of ours. Gifts handmade with precision and peace; perfectly placed in wombs – catalysts of transformation beyond our visible horizon. He knew what he was doing when he place that loud, cute, crazy and lazy into your hands and homes. He placed eternity in our hearts and today He’s asking us to see His children, your children in that light. Eternity.

Your little girl with the pig tales and adoring eyes will walk her own journey of loss and love, joy and pain… and it won’t be the same. How are you preparing her for that today? Your inquisitive son with his curious, messy ways and kissable dimple will succeed and fail, build and bail, maybe lie and cry…on somebody else’s shoulder. How are you preparing him for that today? If we mothered and fathered in the light of eternity we’d consider each.mundane.act.of.service as a gift; a privilege and a joy.

If we mothered and fathered in the light of eternity we’d sow our words and reactions actions carefully, intentionally and whole heartedly.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

When I look at my children I’ve tried to train my eyes and heart to see the men and the women they will become.

The mess and mundane is mould-able, we shape the confused and chaotic into character, we see the simple and small as an echo of His call.

I daily declare my imperfections and fragility as a parent yet I daily proclaim my reliance on His grace. He turns my weaknesses into His opportunities. When I consider the gift of their lives I daily point them to Jesus; the author and perfecter of our faith. And if they see Him, they see forever. If I can just reveal a glimpse of heaven’s heart for them, if they can breathe when the air is thick and the pressures on and it seems like hope is gone – they’ll find their song.

Eternity.

You can read part 1 of the Eternal Perspective series here 

 

Your life is SO much bigger than today – Eternal Perspective Part 1

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Afternoon light fading in the school room

I have a friend; a beautiful arty friend (I really admire ‘arty’ people), who lived in a small house in the early years of her married life. She and her husband set up a cute little studio in their small cellar. She’s the kind of crafty/creative type who can cut up bits of old books and pretty papers and make a master piece out of it .

One day I popped in to see my friend; she was working in her studio and had lots of little pretty pieces of paper all over her desk; they were arranged in a particular way that was important to her work. Whist I was there her husband came down, I can’t quite remember what he did, or why he did it but he either blew, or set something big down on the desk or swiped his hand across the desk, but whatever he did totally disrupted the table; her pretty papers flew everywhere, at which point my friend and I shrieked ‘noooo’ like the slow motion bit in a movie.  Her husband, suddenly realising what he’d done, launched into a high pitched apology whilst scrappling on the floor trying to retrieve these important, intentional bits of paper.

This was when my friend said something that I have never forgotten, she said this: “You know, it’s OK, in the light of eternity it doesn’t really matter” This phrase, this expression of love and forgiveness for her husband and this beautiful nugget of inspiration crossed her lips and leapt into my soul; in.the.light.of.eternity – what really matters?

I’ve often reminded her of this moment; she doesn’t remember it but I know she lives it.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecc 3:11

God created us to consider eternity in the here and now; to store up our treasures in heaven and not here on earth.

Our sight can get so clouded by our fast paced lives and our love affair with knowing what other people are doing social media. Even when we’re consumed with the full and fast; the loud and the living, that whisper comes again, ‘eternity’

An eternal perspective readjusts our vision; helps us see longer and further. An eternal perspective makes the mundane look magnificent and the boring, well – look like a blessing!

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

Henry Thoreau

We’re so much bigger than today; every moment matters. I hear you mothers – it’s been a long day, you’re sleep deprived and coffee dependant! Your hormones are crazy wild; you’ve yelled at your husband and kids and nothing is working as Pinterest like as you imagined when you planned your week and scribbled out your long list of ‘to do’s’! You’ve cooked a lot of meals, washed a lot of dishes, changed a lot of nappies, picked up after the dog and helped others heal…whilst you hurt.

Look up! He is the lifter of your head – He catches the glint in your tired eyes and whispers it again, ‘eternity’.

It’s time to start looking past the pain of today and begin to celebrate the echo’s of eternal hope living inside of you – nothing is ordinary, everything you do has worth and significance.

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C. S. Lewis