As a mom of two young boys, I feel an invisible tug-of-war play out in my heart everyday.
I face countless scenarios where it just boils down to two choices: the eternal versus the temporal. My resolve to point my boys to the love of Jesus can be tugged by the temptations of the temporal. It has been easy to be driven by my comfort and convenience, rather than gospel-driven convictions in my parenting. The tug-of-war is for real in this momma heart.
So that’s why I’m grateful to be reading Gospel Centered Mom, Brooke McGlothlin’s newest book that just came out this month. I’ve been refreshed by Brooke’s transparency about her own struggles in motherhood, and how it all drove her more to the feet of Jesus. She really “gets” the struggles of Christian moms like me, who feel the tug between the eternal and the temporal everyday . She aptly reminds:
“We were designed for the eternal but spend most of our time consumed by temporal concerns…We have to take the blinders off and choose to see that God has the better plan. There’s more than just now ” (56).
I had to stop and savor this remarkable quote: “There’s more than just now.” It felt like a Holy Spirit hug of reassurance to my momma heart that has felt so torn between the eternal and the temporal in many parenting sagas. How I wish I’d gotten to read this book last summer! And here’s why.
So last summer I decided to enroll my two-year old son in group swim lessons. It seemed like a grand plan at the time. I imagined myself leisurely sitting in a chair, cheering on my little swimmer from the sidelines.
But then reality hit on the first day of lessons.
I nervously watched as my son kept refusing to sit on the steps of the pool to wait for his turn with the instructor. Waiting was simply not an option in his toddler mind.
Seeing my son slyly creep back into the water step by step, I knew it was time for me to intervene. I hastily walked over to my son, looked him squarely in the eye, and firmly told him to wait his turn. I also warned him that he would not finish his swim lesson if he didn’t obey these instructions.
I sat back in my chair, getting ready to pick up my phone to take some pictures of my little swimmer.
But then it happened again. My son slyly slid down step by step into the water. I ran over and almost jumped into the pool.
I clasped my son’s hand and pulled him out of the water. I hastily told the teacher that we were leaving early due to my son not waiting for his turn. The instructor asked me to reconsider, and I felt so tempted to comply.
Here I was looking like the “mean mom” that pulls her kid out of the pool and creates a scene.
But then I said something like this,”Listen, I have to be consistent. If I let this slide now, then my son won’t learn to follow me in other areas too.” And with that, I slowly pushed the handle of my baby’s stroller with one hand, while clasping my son’s wet hand with the other as we left the indoor pool.
We trudged our way to the nearby playground outside. Its plastic slides were practically melting in the blistering sun. There was nothing to do but sit at a nearby bench before meeting some friends at our outdoor pool. My son started to nibble on his PB&J sandwich that I had packed for lunch, while I took my baby out of the stroller to nurse him. He started to cry, and so did I.
As I sat there nursing, drops of sweat mixed with tears rolling down my face. Here I was nursing a baby in the blistering sun when I was supposed to be sitting indoors, leisurely watching my son at a swim lesson. How had it come to this?
I felt defeated, like the deflated beach ball in our dusty garage. In that moment, I simply prayed something like this: “God, motherhood is hard. Please help me to persevere in this.” Then the words of Hebrew 12:11 sprang to my mind, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Yes, there was more than just now.
There was more at stake than the inconvenience of leaving a swim lesson early. But honestly, it was hard for me to grasp in that moment with a cranky toddler, a fussy baby, and sweat rolling down my face.
We braved swim lessons the next day, but still my son wouldn’t wait his turn on the pool steps. At that point, I pondered quitting lessons altogether!
But then the next day, I prayed before my son’s swim lesson. A lot. And I reviewed the rules for waiting his turn. A lot.
I nervously watched as the lesson began. Another child took their turn with the instructor. My son took a step down into the water, but then paused to look at me. Our eyes met in a silent exchange, and my son then stepped back to sit on the steps. Then he waited for his turn to swim during the rest of the lesson!
Joy simply exploded in my heart as I watched my son swim with his teacher. This simple phrase sprang to my mind: Faithfulness brings fruitfulness.
Yes, faithfulness to discipline my son started to yield the fruit of obedience.
Looking back on this swim lesson saga, I’m grateful for the chance to learn what Gospel Centered Mom aptly describes: “There’s more than just now.”
Mama readers out there, there’s more than the toddler tantrums, the crumb-ridden floors, the sibling squabbles-the sheer exhaustion of the daily grind we call motherhood.
The truth is what we do as mothers in the present is going to echo into eternity. There’s your soul, my soul, and our children’s souls at stake in our everyday choices between the eternal and temporal.
Gospel Centered Mom is stirring my heart to remember that motherhood is a sacred calling because “there’s more than just now.”
Do you desire more encouragement like this about making an eternal investment in your children? I encourage you to check out Gospel Centered Mom, Brook McGlothin’s new book that just launched last week! It is available online and in your nearest bookstores! It is sure to leave an imprint on your heart, helping you stay anchored in the grace of Jesus in your parenting journey!
You can find more details on Gospel Centered Mom at www.gospelcenteredmombook.com.