29 September, 2016

MESSY, CONVENIENT, SOUL-SHAPING: MOTHERHOOD AS MINISTRY

I've been thinking lately about what motherhood is to me.  I'm meeting a lot of mums in the park, the library, the school pick-up line, and it's quite obvious its different to each of us.



Motherhood is a lifestyle, a ministry, and a gift.

Its forsaking yourself to give your very best. Its laying yourself down every day for the nurturing and teaching and training of souls. Its an imperfect heart shaping hearts. Its stewardship, not ownership. Its clinging to grace every waking moment. Its constant, unending ministry. Its presence and patience and believing the truth that by grace, yes, I am enough.

Its viewing children as humans and treating them so.

We were at a barbecue last weekend and upon arriving inside, Peter and I instructed our children to take their shoes off, and only after they were off did we realise this was a shoes-on party. Sebastian and Katharina slipped theirs back on quickly and ran off to find their friends in the same amount of time that Philippa had just pulled back on her first sock. I stood across the kitchen watching her there on the floor-- rushing, excited, alone-- and it struck me: what is it like to stand knee-high to all adults? To be slower, less coordinated? To depend on someone else for nearly everything?

I felt such a pull in my heart; its the same pull you feel when you see someone being mistreated or sitting alone, and its the pull we talk to our children about watching for every morning before school. Its a pull you don't often feel unless you're looking for it, open to it. Its a pull that takes you out of your way for another.

I set down the salad I was holding and went across to her, "Would you like help with these boots?" And her face lit up because in that moment there was no where else I needed to be.

Motherhood is not having an agenda of what we want for or from our children, but constantly seeking What is this doing in me? Its taking up the cross, again, with gladness. Let's not be more motivated in our parenting by what we want for or from our children, than we are by what God is doing to us  t h r o u g h  our children.

Parenthood is miraculous. There are so many joys in it. So many wonders to behold. So many inconveniences waiting for you to realise they're conveniently leading you to The Cross.

If only you had the time.



This is what I'm passionate about; being slow with your children. With all of life. Taking time for the things that you think you can't be bothered with. Sitting with the little ones at the barbecue not to intercept messes but because you genuinely with your whole heart enjoy their company. Giving them opportunities to be more than a three year old. Talking in real adult voices about real things.

Its miraculous and I don't quite know how it happens, except God. I know he's in this motherhood business and he's busy in my heart and theirs. And I can feel his presence moving every single day as I shepherd these tiny people he has given me to make  m e  holier.

Ministry is everywhere-- in the dishes, in the wet bed, in the tantrums, in the quiet cuddly weekends and the exhausted midweek slump. Ministry is everywhere, because the gospel is everywhere. Right here, right now.



So what are we doing? We're teaching them to trust God. To love Jesus with all their heart and strength. We're teaching them to love in a world so full of hatred. That showing compassion doesn't make them weak; that listening to their heart makes them strong. We're holding them close and smiling when the orange juice spills and laying ourselves down to raise them up. Its being a parent, and its a messy, convenient, soul-shaping gift.





20 June, 2016

ITALY.





It's a bit hard to think of sitting down and writing a blog post encompassing our time away. I had a lot of moments while we were gone where I found myself wondering How can I ever write about this? 

This holiday came as such a breath of fresh air, as they usually do, don't they? Peter spent the past six months working or studying seven days a week in preparation for taking the CFA. We kept pushing forward with the promise of quiet and calm at the end of the tunnel. The children endured a lot of days without their Papa. Somedays it seemed it would never come, but each day we prayed for grace and purposed to be intentional about what time we did find together, and intentional wherever we were-- in the office, at home, having dinner alone, studying on a Sunday afternoon. 

And I look back at that season, so long, but so seemingly so long ago, and I can't even believe we are through it. I see God's gentle hand guiding us through every single day of it and I'm just in awe. 

His goodness to us-- the wicked, his grace to us-- the unworthy, his faithfulness to us-- the faithless.

This time away was peaceful and rejuvenating, we all bonded a little bit more and built our relationships a little bit stronger. We unashamedly consumed far too much gelato and came home with bronzed skin and sun-streaked hair. There was laughter and snuggles and living slowly and loving deeply.

I just love that we can so clearly see how much joy God finds in beauty and how He delights in delighting us. I mean-- look at these mountains! These photos are treasures to all of us.