Over the Christmas holidays, I realized that I was in the 'Hump Days' of parenting my children within our home. What I mean is that I stood exactly at the center point in time from when I idealistically brought home swaddled 4 pound babies to the Fall day when I send three 19 year old high school graduates off from our nest. It was a startling realization.
We are only three months away from double digits. How can it be possible that a decade of parenting is under my belt? All three are signed up for Summer camp sessions this Summer. There are sleepovers and long play dates--and I am reminded that their activities, interests and budding independence mean less time with me.
I confess that this sometimes makes me feel a lot more pressure during the time we do have together to teach something! Improve something! Make a mark! Make this count! Yet, there is life and homework and dinner to prepare. After long days and busy weeks, my kids are tired. They want home to be a place of love, peace and rest (and honestly so do I). So there is another tendency and that is to simply let things go.
My husband and I have been talking about this a lot lately. We've been discussing how the difference in good parenting and great parenting seems to be in perseverance. Of course the greatest gift we can give our children is a grounding in the Truth of God and unconditional love--but living out that love with intentionality means a whole lot of coaching, praying and paying attention especially through the tween and teen years. We don't want to get tired and flake out.
We keep coming back to one of my favorite metaphors. In Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he describes an overnight kayaking adventure in British Columbia that required five hours of paddling across a large body of water in darkness. Miller writes of how in the first hour he was motivated by the adventure before him, even as the lights from the shore faded into the distance. He wrote of regaining his strength again as he approached his destination--energized by the goal being in sight.
The struggle, however, were those 3-4 hours spent rowing through the dark with the objective still too far away to feel relevant. His beginning enthusiasm waned and there were no lights yet beckoning him ashore. Miller had to keep rowing in the dark--trusting that it was part of the process. He persevered knowing it was necessary to get him to his goal.
And so it is with us.
These seasons of 'crossing' are the stuff of life. It is where the rubber meets the road. In our marriages, our careers, our families, our God-placed dreams...things get hard. Sometimes we just have to keep rowing. In the dark. Not seeing or feeling any progress. With muscles aching. Just wanting to take a nap.
Rest is a blessing from the Lord--but may we NOT be quitters.
With the lives of little people there is too much at stake.
"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured..." Hebrews 12: 1b-2a ESV