By Jean Stockdale
Let’s face it. Most days we operate in survival mode. Getting a shower is usually out of the question. You wear whatever is on the top of the pile in the middle of your closet floor. Fixing your hair consists of putting on a hat. Make-up is a waste of time and energy, two things in short supply. Breakfast consists of eating the leftovers from one of your kids’ sandwiches while standing over the disposal. The urgent demands of motherhood tend to supplant the daily pursuit of eternal things.
Concerning the virtuous woman, the Bible says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future” (Prov. 31:25 emphasis mine). The Bible urges us to live with a future eternity in the forefront of our mind. With the stress of mothering, we rarely give much thought beyond the urgent to ponder the important.
Refereeing sibling rivalry, teaching children not to run with scissors, kissing boo-boos, cutting gum out of a toddler’s hair, making countless crust-less sandwiches, sitting in the backyard with your feet in the kiddie pool while little ones splash you in the face, and doling out huge doses of hugs and kisses would tax the brain cells of most mere mortals. But, like that battery-powered pink bunny, moms just keep going and going, usually to the brink of exhaustion. As you wade through mountains of laundry, running the vacuum with a two-year-old riding it like a recreational vehicle, and dusting by turning the ceiling fans on high, you do not typically have time to give adequate thought to the future, much less eternity. The crisis of the moment demands your full attention. Your only conscious thought, most of the time, is “Where is your daddy?”
In the midst of this controlled chaos, thoughts of the future are generally pushed back into the dark recesses of the mind. Who has time to contemplate the future, much less eternity, when you are drowning in the commotion of clutter and the constant chatter of little people?
The future is an interesting concept, but most moms are completely immersed in the moment. Since it is difficult to steal away five minutes of privacy to sneak into the bathroom alone, it is little wonder that few moms can devote any time or energy to look very far into the future.
When our firstborn Jason arrived, not only did I not have time to think about the lofty concepts of eternity, I did not have the mental capacity! When Dawson came two years later and added another limb to our family tree, the complexities of parenting increased exponentially. Overwhelmed with the constant demands of two little ones, I often found myself looking back and longing for those simple days of the past before my life became complicated by the addition of two little boys. Now please understand that all I have ever wanted to do was be a mom and I found it very fulfilling, but I will be the first to admit that parenting is a hard and often thankless job. I was often overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity as a mom. The stress and strain of my career choice to be a fulltime mom was merciless. Our personal conviction for me to stay at home with the boys required Craig to work long hours and weekends, leaving me feeling like a single parent.
Alone and alienated as a young mom, I occasionally plummeted into the depths of despair, thinking my life had been so easy before I had complicated it with children! I am assuming you can relate. During one of these melancholy moods, God gently spoke to my heart through His Word. Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” When I longed to return to the less complicated past, I was focusing on the past (which I perceived as easier). I was discontent with my present circumstances, and I was giving no thought to the future. This one truth made a critical adjustment in my thinking and revolutionized my mental outlook on mothering. It has become one of the defining truths of my life. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Beloved mom, as you train your children in spiritual things of the Lord, you are engaged with God the Father working eternal things into their lives. Don’t lose hope. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Focus on the future. Live with an eye on eternity. This mindset changes your perspective. The temporal and the eternal become clearly defined. The urgent and the important are easily delineated and you will find yourself smiling at the future.
Jean Stockdale is a wife, mom, grandmother, Christian author, Bible teacher, and disciple-maker. Her ministry, Standing Near the Cross, Inc. allows her to fulfill her vision by passionately encouraging and impacting families through discipleship and the study of God’s Word. The Lord has gifted Jean with a winsome combination of humor, profound spiritual insights, practical life lessons, and the ability to communicate scriptural truths with personal illustrations. She writes and speaks with a passion that comes from her devotional love for the Lord Jesus and others are blessed out of the overflow. She is being widely used of the Lord in motivating and challenging women of all ages and stages of life to be students of the Word and to live out in everyday life the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.