Thursday, August 25, 2016

What Motherhood has Taught Me About Perseverance

By Amy Hayes

When I was a young mom, an older woman in the grocery store leaned in to tell me parenting didn't get easier, it became harder in different ways.
I stood there with a toddler who had removed the twelfth Peppermint Patty from the shelf next to him, a five-year-old who was scolding her younger brother for the foiled mess on the floor and an inconsolable baby in my arms. I looked at this woman with incredulous disbelief.  How in the world was that, in this moment, supposed to make me feel any better? 

Those years were the most difficult mom-years for me.  I wish I could say I enjoyed that phase but honestly, I wanted to jump ship.  I feared the endless stretches of three little ones and their constant needs might one day do me in.
And even though I wasn't ready to hear it, this older woman was trying to say to me,"Persevere, young mom.  You are running this difficult race for the long haul." 
Little did she know, I didn’t want to persevere much longer at all.  In fact, I had a date marked in my calendar when perseverance would "officially end".  Kindergarten. For child number three.
Today our children are all teenagers.  They are bright, beautiful and talented people who love life and God.  But, the woman at the store was partially right. The race, the persevering, has not ended.
We have days of emotional ping-pong, strong wills, questionable choices and differing opinions, contorted eyeball movements, challenging clothing selections and friend drama. There is A LOT of driving: my driver's seat is much more familiar with my behind than the family room couch will ever be. The worry is constant.  The moments of seeing the fruit of all the years of mom-labor are few.
But she was not completely right...about it being just as difficult.
The challenges are some days incredibly daunting, the mountain steep, yet I do not feel overcome, exhausted and wanting out.
 It is easier.
I have one explanation for this shift of perspective: I am persevering better.
I have learned to run the race set before me.  I am no longer gasping for breath, hoping the finish line is just around the corner.   My stride is long, my gait efficient, and I know the end is nowhere in site, and it's okay.
I have grown comfortable being uncomfortable in parenting.  It is where the grit and raw emotion of life exists. Mothering is like fertilizer that makes me grow spiritually and emotionally faster than anything else this world throws at me. I know this season of raising teenagers will be over, and another season will begin as I watch our children grow into adults and make adult choices.
The past several years of parenting have thickened my skin a bit.  Grown me up.  

Mothering is a wild mess of joy, stress, love, scrapes and full-on face plants. And I am not going to wish it away.

Hang in there, you too will catch your stride.

  • What is God asking you to persevere in? For the long haul?
  • What is He whispering to your soul...encouragement?  Patience? Hope?

Amy Hayes lives in Broomfield, CO with her husband of 22 years and three teenage children.  She loves questionable TV shows like the Bachelorette and blogging and moving furniture around in her house.  You can see more of her thoughts on life, faith and interior design on her blog

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