Yesterday morning, I spent about four hours sitting on my deck with my Bible, my journal and my computer. I’d like to say it was because I was immersed so deeply in Scripture and documenting God’s voice that I couldn’t pull myself away.
In reality, it was more like five minutes of reading a passage, followed by a child requesting I cut the top off his frozen Go-Gurt. Followed by ten minutes of me trying to figure out where I had just left off in my Bible reading—or was I writing? Or was I praying?–only to have another child requesting I fill a sippy cup of juice (back to reading?/writing?/praying?) and change the channel (back to reading?/writing?/praying?) and spread peanut butter on her banana (back to reading?/writing?/praying?) and open the box of toaster waffles…
Four hours of that.
It came to an abrupt ending when I saw my naked 3-year-old standing in the kitchen with her faced pressed up against the glass door. In one hand she had a clean dress. In the other, a pair of dry panties. Knowing I had already dressed her, I approached the scene cautiously.
After promising her she would NOT be in trouble, I followed her down the steps to the bathroom in the basement, where my newly potty-trained sweetheart repeatedly flushed a clogged toilet. A small fish could have survived in the inch of water on my floor. It was FLOODED. Literally. And let me just mention here, this is the bathroom where we also keep the cat food and the kitty litter. It was a disgusting mix of used toilet water, toilet paper, cat food and kitty litter. Yum.
As I sopped up the mess, heaving a garbage bag full of drenched rags, throw rugs and clothes over my shoulder up the stairs and into my washing machine, I wondered how I could really accomplish anything outside of parenting, while my children are still little. Or if I should even try.
Then last night, just before falling asleep, I picked up my new copy of Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson. And I read this:
“To both fathers and mothers, let me share a suggestion that you may not want to hear: good parenting almost always requires sacrifice. Childhood lasts for only a brief moment, but it should be given priority while it is passing before your eyes. Watch your kids carefully. Think about what they are feeling, and consider the influences they are under. Then do what is best for them.
Let me acknowledge that successful family life is difficult to achieve. It is never perfect and is often problematic…Nevertheless, if there is any way you can give priority to your children amid those limitations, even if it requires sacrifice, you will not regret giving it to them.
This might mean staying married when your impulse is to divorce. It could cause you to make choices that will handicap you professionally. It might mean financial hardship for the family because Mom is staying at home with her children. It might mean giving up your four-hour golf outing every Saturday (or in my case, four hours of writing time, prayer time and scheduling weekend speaking engagements to ‘build my platform’ so I can get a publisher to notice me). What I am saying is that from where I sit today, children are worth everything they cost us.”
So, after I write this post, rather than answering e-mails and scanning blogs or giving a single thought to “building my platform,” I’m going to play “toy food” with my pajama-clad kids. The ones who have already come in here 3 times asking when I will be finished. And then maybe we will go to a movie. Today, God is telling me to build my family, not my platform.
Speaking of building my family, I will have a few days over the next 3 weeks of this series where I will be out of town with my family. On those days, I will suspend my daily posts, but I will still put up a linky so you can continue with yours, if you wish. I was toying with the idea of trying to write even while I am away, but after God’s clear word to me yesterday, I think I’ll just do the family thing and get back to blogging when I return. Thanks for understanding.
So…time to tell us what He’s saying to YOU.