Though it pushes me to a breaking point every year, there’s no way the chaotic end-of-school-year-stress makes me forget what follows in the summertime when everyone is home together, all day every day. We all must adjust to being back together again, and in the Estes house, the early stages of that transition aren’t pretty! The extended time together and less rush are blessings, yet just as real is the weightiness of training three kids through the inevitable relationship and attitude challenges summertime brings. It wasn’t going to take me by surprise this year. I knew I’d be stretched, and I’d be asked to die to self in a million ways. It is WORK, y’all – heavy heart work – and I didn’t jump into summer ready to embrace that.
But six weeks into summer break, I’m slowly coming around to accept that I may just have to deal with some of the things in my heart that this new season surfaces.
I know that parenting is always work. It’s meant to be, and I want to embrace the sanctifying work of motherhood in such a way that my faith – and my mood – isn’t affected by the hard days, by the toiling and striving that is this beautiful calling I love so much.
Some seasons of mothering press us harder than others, but the gospel teaches that pressed isn’t the worst place to be.
I’m brought back to a greater dependence on the Lord, and I’ll daily have to make hard choices about where to set my gaze and whether to receive the gift (that doesn’t really feel like a gift) of motherhood brokenness and the grace to heal that follows.
Because isn’t that the truth about motherhood? It shows us our sin. As our children mirror our hearts for us, our truest needs are exposed and we face the idols that reside there.
It IS hard to take these deeper looks at the sin in your heart. I’ve resisted in so many places, yet the gospel continually pulls me back to it. It’s the beautiful thing about how grace works:
The longer I dwell on the “It is finished” work of Christ for my parenting and the deeper it penetrates my soul, the stronger my desire to be changed. I realize his grace covers my fails, and I actually want to fail less. Because God is that good.
This summer so far has largely been about taking that longer look at my heart as a mom, and what I’ve seen is a whole lot of selfishness. It’s been ugly. But I want to grow in wisdom and grace in how I parent my three. I desire for Christ to change me in the places that need changing. The grace He offers is sweet, and it makes me willing to brave the painful exposure and let Him show me more. I want to go there with him this summer and stay there as long as needed.
I don’t know what it’s like for you in a pruning season like this, but I find myself more desperate for prayer and for people to remind me that the gospel makes it safe to have my heart pried open like that, that the work of grace to bring transformation is a good one.
I’d love to know if you’re on a similar journey this summer. Where is God’s grace directing attention in your heart right now?
Isn’t it so freeing to know that in Christ, there is no condemnation, that we can fearlessly move forward in being transformed? Jesus really has paid it all, and that’s the good news we need spilling into our change journeys.