By Lindsay Hufford
“There really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.” ~Anne Lamott
In the book Year of Yes, author Shonda Rhimes argues we should stop referring to parenthood as a “job.” She says we minimize the importance of parenthood when we compare it to a job you can clock out from or quit. Parenthood has no quitting time.
I agree with Shonda; motherhood is not a job. Motherhood is a calling from the Lord and the greatest work of my life. I can’t imagine any other work I ever do will be more worthwhile than investing in the lives of my children.
My oldest son turned nine this week. As the cliché says, time does go by so, so fast. I realize his childhood is half over, a sobering thought. On the rare occasions he still reaches for me when we’re crossing a street, I notice his hands are nearly the size of mine. Adult teeth pepper his mouth, and his face looks more like his dad’s by the day. He walks a tightrope between childhood and adolescence, asserting his growing independence but still wanting the comfort of a parent to catch him if he falls.
This is the halftime of my first baby’s childhood, and I feel reflective. I pray for grace that will cover the mistakes of my first nine years. I contemplate what wisdom I want to impart to him during the next nine years. I list what I hope to teach before he walks out our door to embark on his next journey.
As I write down everything I hope to teach my son before he leaves home, I can’t stop thinking about Jesus. And then I realize I don’t need an extensive list of wishes and hopes. My greatest desire for my children is to live a life like Jesus. This is my prayer for my son, and for all our children: Be like him.
Jesus made friends with others different from him, even despised. He spoke up for what was right and challenged the status quo even if his opinion was unpopular and revolutionary. Be brave like Jesus.
Jesus lived a simple, humble life. The Son of Man had no place to lay his head. He washed the feet of his followers. Jesus fed those who were hungry. Do as he did.
Jesus had the attention of the thousands, but he chose to invest in a few deep friendships and call out the best in others. Invest in relationships and build others up.
Jesus took the time to care for his body and soul. He routinely rested and set aside time to pray. He knew the rhythms of work and retreat. Learn and live these rhythms in your life.
Jesus valued communion with his Father. He strived to bring glory to God, not to himself. He aligned his will with God’s will. Pray each day to do the same.
Jesus loved until it hurt. He wept with Martha and Mary before raising Lazarus from the dead. He cried out for God to forgive those who were crucifying him, “for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV). He forgave the sins of a thief and cared for his mother with his last breaths. Give love away until you have none left.
As parents, we have many dreams for our children. It’s easy to get caught up in worldly wants. But the hopes and dreams of this world will pass away. Let’s focus our energy on dreaming of what is eternal for our children. Let’s unburden ourselves of the long lists of goals and simply point our children to the One who is the ultimate goal. Let’s encourage them and each other to be like him.
Lindsay is a happy wife and homeschooling mom to three kids. Whether she is reading, running, gardening, teaching, cooking, dancing, writing, or chasing hens, she counts it all as joy. Lindsay writes about this beautiful life at searchforthesimple.com.
Photograph © Annie Spratt, used with permission