Every day I wake up knowing by the time I crawl back into bed with my laptop, a book or a favorite movie I will have learned more than I bargained for.
I will be tired in every part of me. I will feel stretched out and squishy. I will often be frustrated that no one is staying in bed like they’re supposed to. But I will also know that the Lisa-Jo today has grown up. And the Lisa-Jo tomorrow will grow up further still.
Grown up, dragged up by her kids and the God that made them.
This unglamorous truth is my Gospel.
I write about motherhood not because I always grew up dreaming of being a mom. Not because I am a “parenting guru.” Not because I have it figured out, or have read all the books, or understand even remotely the best ways to educate, discipline or shape young lives.
I write about motherhood because it’s where I understand why Jesus would have died for me and why the Father would have sent Him. It’s the place of Cheerios stuck to the sides of bowls and self sacrifice on repeat with the loads of laundry. A parent will always lay down their life for their child. Jesus loves me this I know, for my children teach me so.
I am not a Bible scholar. I write stories. They’re not long ones and they last all of a couple days on this blog. But they are the gospel that speaks the loudest to me. Not buried in Greek or Hebrew, but lisped by baby boys who hate when I call them babies.
Gospel climbs off the pages of Scripture on Mondays during the pre-school rush and reminds me that Christ lives in me. That this must make a difference in my day. It must slow me down when I want to rush and shout and gnash my teeth and wail at the child who’s lost his shoes again.
And some days I snap, “see, that’s what happens when you don’t put them away like I’ve told you a meeelllion times before!” And other days I remember the Gospel buried here in my mess and I swallow my shout and instead work hard at remembering that love is patient and kind.
Because it is hard work to remember to be kind and patient when you know mere minutes stand between the kid who can’t find his shoes and a “tardy” note from school.
In the living room, between the discarded pajama pants and the left over bagel I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And then we buckle everyone into the car and Micah tells me school is stupid.
I talk a lot here about how small a mother’s routine can feel.
Perhaps, however, I don’t talk enough about how big the impact of that routine can be. Celebrating the small is directly related to recognizing the massive, Kingdom impact. Kids are forever. They are eternity with skin on. And we mold them like so much play-doh until one day they walk out the door and take every small moment of a family’s routine with them.
I guess what I’m saying is that celebrating the smallness of a mother’s day in and day out is more than just making it through – friends, it’s a wild dance of recognition, of celebration, of courage. It has to be more than finding meaning in the laundry. It has to be a wild Hallelujah that laundry is just the tipping point for all that you invest, that you pour, that you knead and knead and pull and knead into your kids. These are the front lines. These are the glory days. This is the stuff of heroes – not the laundry, but the conversations that take place in between the loads.
Piece by painful, sometimes mind-numbingly boring piece, you are building a mosaic of memory love – a testimony. Something that your children will see the day they open the door and turn head back over shoulder for a last look.
It will all be there, the beautiful wonder you’ve woven into them.
And the miracle they’ve stitched into you.
Come back Wednesday. I’ve got a surprise. More about this motherhood story I’ve been writing. The long version….
Oh Lisa-Jo how your words wreck me.
“Kids are forever. They are eternity with skin on.” Amen. Amen
The only treasure we may take with us… to heaven.
Love you, Lisa-Jo!
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
“I am not a Bible scholar. I write stories. They’re not long ones and they last all of a couple days on this blog. But they are the gospel that speaks the loudest to me. Not buried in Greek or Hebrew, but lisped by baby boys who hate when I call them babies.”
Yes. This. Thank you for sharing. And I love the picture of the heap of shoes.
This is beautiful and wonderful and I could read it three times a week for the rest of my life. Thank you, friend.
Thanks for the beautiful reminder that amidst all the chaos, we’re so blessed with those precious moments. I’m grateful and honored to be the mother of two! They have turned my world upside down and inside out at times but life wouldn’t be near as much fun and blessed without them!!! #lovingSheilaandSidney
When I saw the title in my inbox, I thought: “really, that would have to be explained?! Maybe, because, um, You’re a mom?!!! Who would ask that?!” I was getting ready to ruffle my feathers for you! And then I read the blog itself, and of course it was beautiful and blew me away. It’s like your blog is your River Jordan stones (Josh. 4:19-24). It’s a wonderful thing.
I’ve never heard it put that way, but it’s the most succinctly I’ve heard it done: “Jesus loves me this I know, for my children tell me so.” It’s so true. I actually told someone before that I think the reason why God keeps giving us babies — all the way up to judgement day apparently — is because they are the best tool He has to teach us about Himself and His love for us. It’s the only reason I can think of that would explain why He keeps sending more people into this mess here on earth! Yes, there are blessings amongst the mess — Hallelujah! — but it’s a mess.
I’ve learned more about God through my children than any study. And I know I’m not the only parent to have experienced that, as you said yourself in this post.
But what I beautifully written reminder about the investment we’re making. I needed that. I really struggled with God this weekend about this season in my life, and “what about all my other plans?” Sometimes I feel so lost in the process. He has been reminding me of the blessings, and now the importance, through this post. Still, I wouldn’t mind getting to do a play again sometime soon! ;)
Also — when do you go visiting the inside of my head? I think I’ve asked you this before because the timing of some of your posts and my life is uncanny. And this is the part where G.K. Chesterton would stick his head in the door and say, “Coincidences are spiritual puns.”
I hope you have a great day girlie! I struggle with my temper too. The good that I see God taking out of it is that it gives my sons plenty of practice in forgiveness, seeing that no-one (not even grown ups) are perfect, and how to apologize. I’m sure He’s doing the same with your family. Your writing is always a blessing.
LOVE this… as usual! So much yes and Amen – and anticipation for what’s next!!! Love you so – and OH MY STARS – those faces?!
Grateful for the sentiments your words express. Excited for your surprise!
Your mommy gospel soothes the soul. Every time I have a rough day, I come here to be reminded like a well loved book on my bedside table what I forget to see.
Each day is a gift, some more painful than others. And our children help us grow in ways we never imagined!
This is beautiful.
“God’s love for me is so loud when I look at my children that even my worst days can’t drown it out.”
I love this and am daily moving closer to God because of my children.
I love ready your stories about motherhood because I always think to myself- Thank God Im not the only one! and you always say something I need to hear on any given day- its one of the reasons I’m always here reading.
S l o w…smile spreading across my face. Thankful that you, indeed, allow your words to be used for the good of others, to bring dignity to a role that some do not value. The picture you paint of motherhood is diverse, complicated, exquisite…and even common. Which is exactly what mamas need to hear :).
Love reading your blogs! It always hits home for me. God Bless you!!
I needed this tonight. Kids finally tucked in after late night snack. So tired but just want to connect somewhere. Nights away leave the house used – scattered remains of the day lie in unlikely places, but it’s quiet and I can think even with my weary head. But this reminds me that what I’m doing is not in vain or wasted. It’s not the big moments that are the life-changers, it’s all the little moments “piece by piece … building a mosaic of memory love – a testimony.” Thank you for this encouragement!