Having an unmarried 24 year old non-mother in my home Friday night was a huge reality check for me. I think it is so easy to forget how chaotic and noisy our life is, because, well, it is our life. Watching my family through the lens of someone who is not accustomed to such craziness and energy entertained me a great deal (and mortified me a little.)
At one point we were driving to dinner in the Yukon with my three WIRED children each making the noisiest, silliest wild animal noise they could recreate...as loudly as possible. Meanwhile my husband and I were carrying on a fairly normal conversation in the front seat. I caught a glimpse of Amy Beth's face in the rear view mirror. She was grinning as she said, "This is a great reality check for a 24 year old!" In other words, we are powerful birth control. :-)
Later that night, after my angels were all sleeping, as AB and I were having a fireside chat, she asked me a question that has stuck with me since: "As a Mom, how do you know what to say and do? I mean, how do you know how to handle them?"
I couldn't help but laugh.
Then I explained that many times Moms don't know the exact right thing to say or do and that is why we pray, we read, we talk to one another and we pray some more. I explained that I thought the biggest lie of motherhood is that you always 'know' just what to do.
Being a Mom can often feel like being in the line of fire. You never know when you will field a major theological question, be standing on the verge of a teachable moment or be in the midst of making a lifelong memory. Waiting until you are in the moment to do your research won't cut it.
Downtime must be used as continued training for the next time you walk back into the line of fire-- so that when the moments present themselves and you are rapidly running through the multiple choices for your response in your mind, you will be deeply rooted and firmly established. When I am put through the fire, I want to be found faithful--and for the times when I am not, I pray God's grace will be made perfectly clear despite my weakness.
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)