By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Getting dressed this morning, I caught a glimpse of the picture of my two baby boys that is hung in the corner of our bedroom. I smile and in that simple moment, I am struck by the magnitude of time that has passed since I was a Mom of a baby and a toddler.
One question plagues my mind: Where has that time gone?
Relieving Pressure to Savor Each Moment
The harsh reality is I can never go back to re-live that precious season that was filled with some tears, so many snuggles, and the most adorable chunky baby thighs. I will never again get to be the Mom I once was. Life only moves in one direction…. always forward.
I no longer am that ‘new-young-cute-Mom.’ As a mother of preschoolers, I remember being so unsure of everything but was completely enamored with love for my new small humans that I had helped bring into the world.
Now, to my great surprise, I am years away from that time of my life. I now have bounding boys that laugh at butt jokes and whose thighs have grown into long lean soon-to-be-men ones. Our house is always filled with loud voices, their quarrels robust, and the presence never subtle.
As a mother, time has given me the chance to fail, grow, and love these humans I have been given with a fierce and proud Momma love. When I just had given birth to my precious babies, the passing time was a constant source of anxiety for me. It was a weight that pulled at all the sweet moments I was being gifted. I felt greedy for time...wanting more of the snuggles...more of this season of life than God had gifted.
I was pestered by a whisper that said I needed to do it all right – I dare not miss a thing. It pressed me by constantly reminding me that time passes too quickly. It nagged by saying that I must remember that I can’t go back.
The pressure I put on myself is one of the biggest regrets I have about new motherhood. If I could go back now, I would urge myself to embrace grace over perfection. I would let myself know that I will never get it all right but what matters is that I keep showing up. I can trust that God always takes care of the rest.
That nagging whisper, that relentless fear, that greed in my heart that desires more time and is never satisfied with what I have been given… it all still pulls at the edges of my mind. I am tempted to get stuck in a cycle of either grief or guilt as a mom. What God wants is for me to instead be present and thankful for what I have been given – to be a part of the now.
Time continues to move along, as it so mercilessly does. I have started to see my motherhood journey through a new lens. When I look back at that picture on the wall of my two fresh and adorable baby boys, I am not sad; instead, my heart swells with gratitude. I know I can’t go back, but I don’t need to. Those moments, the many sweet memories that may be long gone, are now something I carry with me. Each memory is a treasure buried safely in my heart.
Enjoying Every Season of Life
Each season I have been gifted has things I can praise God for! When I look back, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. He carried me through months of post-partum depression, he saved my marriage when it was at the brink of divorce, and he led me to friends that allowed me to complain endlessly about being sleep deprived and loved me anyway. God grew my faith as I questioned who he is and how so much suffering fills this world alongside such intense beauty and love. Motherhood has been one of the most profound ways I have experienced the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).
So, when I gaze back in my mind to that season of life, when I had two boys under the age of two, I can feel the joy of what it was to care for those babies rise up in my heart! What I am beginning to understand is that time is not lost, but new memories, insight, and joys have been gained. Those babies are still mine to love but now I laugh at their jokes, play games with them, and watch as they explore the world in new ways every day.
It is time for me to let go of the greedy voice of pressure and fear and embrace the joy of each new season I find myself in. I must grow with my children if I am to do this thing well alongside them. I must embrace who they are becoming if I am to be the one that stands by their side as they launch out into the world, each tiny step forward at a time.
Nonetheless, as time moves forward there is always a quiet hum of grief that lingers in the background of each new milestone achieved and each joyous birthday celebrated. The full and heavy reality that we can’t go back – can’t do it again – never totally fades. The discovery that these moments we share are like a collection of precious stones stored up in my soul gives me peace.
Each new season offers new joys to be shared, new lessons to be learned together, and new struggles to overcome. This newfound truth is the salve that takes the sting out of our kids growing up and us parents growing old.
I am reminded by this sweet picture and by the joy that is running around my house in the now of one truth that gives us hope as one season fades and a new one begins:
The best is yet to come.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Anna Pritchard
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.