"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Labor of Love

I should have known it’s called labor for a reason. Yes, childbirth.  It begins with ‘labor,’ and has continued  with ‘labor’ for as long as moms and dads have been able to survive.  Did I just say, ‘survive?’  I meant to say ‘exist.’  When people have asked me how long my labors were for each of my children, I would always give them the, ‘I was in labor for 90+ hours with each daughter, and I scheduled a c-section with my son.’ Ha.  At least I had some foresight with my son’s ‘labor.’  But what I should have said was, “My labor has been 20 years and counting.” 

Being a mother is the single most exciting, adventurous, loving, thrilling, consuming, difficult, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, rewarding, captivating, tiring, uplifting, exhausting, difficult and rewarding job in the universe.  Did I mention , ‘challenging?’  I personally think it should be mentioned about 1000+ times, but I guess you get the point. 
Over the years, I have experienced many times where I have just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and announce my motherly defeat. But then a little voice inside me reminded me not to give up; It reminded me that the Lord has never given up on anyone, least of all me and my children.  It still reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, “ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Wow!  How could I ever even remotely forget that?
I’ve recently read the story (and I googled it again for further information) about the Chinese bamboo plant.  First the seeds are planted, then watered, and then fertilized.  During the first year, nothing visible appears to happen.  No little sprouts; no greenery peeking through the soil. The Chinese then continue to water and fertilize the seeds during the second year.  Still, nothing visible happens.  What?  They continue this process for three and four years, without any visible results.  Hmmm.  I know that I would have given up after the first season of nothingness.  But, nonetheless, the Chinese apparently have much more patience than I do.
Sometime during the fifth year, over a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo plant grows 90 feet.  Yikes!  Yes, 90 feet! That’s 9 stories tall.  OK.  So we know that it didn’t really grow that entire 90 feet in six weeks.  It actually grew over the five years.  Although the farmer hadn’t seen any visible results, he continued to water and fertilize the plant—knowing that it would eventually produce major results. That was some patient farmer.  Or….was he just smart?  I think he was both.
Ah….alas it is the same way with raising our children….our family.  ‘We pour into their lives; we plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer and fertilize with encouragement.’  Then, one day, with consistency, love, determination and a lot of prayer, we will see and enjoy beautiful results.  We, as parents, are smart enough to know that the Word of God is true, that our diligence will ‘pay off,’ and the ‘fruit of my labor’ will be worthy.
But Lord, it’s difficult to remember that when I am dealing with three hormonal teenagers, three dogs (two puppies), work and home.  But Lord, I’m smart and I’m patient (NOT!), and, and, and, and…..

Then that still small voice inside me says, “Shari, you may be smart, but I am the Creator of intelligence.  You may be patient, but I know the plans I have for you, you don’t.  Remember, I have loaned your children to you, for such a time as this; it is merely up to you to train them in My ways, and leave the rest to Me.  I will cause them to prosper, to have hope and a future.  With patience, remember that!”
Well, what can I say to that?  Geesh!  This doesn’t mean that I may not have any problems with my hormonal teenagers; it merely means that God has it all under control. It doesn’t mean that my puppies (90 pound, Koda, and 10 pound, Rosie) won’t chew my third set of living room furniture; it just means that God is in control.  It doesn’t mean that I may never feel stressed about work and home; it just means that He is in control.  Hmm…..Well, I sense a prevailing theme here.  How about you?
My prayer for everyone today is that we will all always remember that God is always in control.  He always has been and always will be.  We may just need to get out of His way and allow Him to ‘do His thing.’
Dear Lord, sometimes I get really tired and frustrated as a mom.  When I grow discouraged, will You help me to keep the goal before me...to raise women and men who are after God's own heart?  Help me to remember that You, as my heavenly parent, never give up on me.  Even when You don't see the results that You desire, You continue to love, nurture and teach me.  Help me to be more like You and less like me.  Thank You for being my example of persistent and consistent love.
In Jesus' Name,

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