It can be a shock how slow life becomes once you’ve had a baby. Especially if you have been highly productive in your “past life”.
As a mother of 5 kids I get it, sometimes I’d find myself so stressed by the slowness of the family juggernaut that I went looking for what help the bible had to offer.
I wanted a verse to speak over times like getting out the door, getting into the car, bedtime. Situations that were becoming “high pressure” zones in our family.
What I found surprised me.
Mainly because the scripture never offered to speed everyone else up, it simply addressed my attitude.
Philippians 3:12-14 says;
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
At the beginning of these verses, Paul candidly admits, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal.” He is talking about having the righteousness that comes from knowing God.
He’s not talking about self righteousness but that deep inner security the comes from knowing God, the confidence of faith.
‘No, says Paul, I do not have it all together, I still make mistakes every day. I haven’t even reached my own goals in this matter, I continually fall short!’
And that is where we all begin our parenting journey, no matter who we are, no matter how educated, no matter how old, no matter how rich, poor sick or well, we begin in exactly the same place as Paul; still falling short of righteous in God.
As we begin our new “parent” role and relationships, we too need the “one thing” that Paul speaks about next in his comment to the Phillipians. What is the one thing? He doesn’t say straight away.
First he tells us the posture he needs to assume before he can do that “one thing”. That is a posture of “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”. This is the exact same posture that we too need to adopt as we begin our journey as parents.
Step One – We forget what is behind;
Forget our old view of ourself, our old view of our spouse, our past expectations of each other, our past expectations of ourselves, our past expectations of our success.
Step Two – We take the “strain”
Like in Tug-of-War battles.
I’m sorry to say it, if you don’t already know but it is a strain, living with babies, it’s like driving with the handbrake on. Everything that used to be easy is now a strain; standing up, sitting down, showering, getting dressed, walking out the door.
Agreed, Nothing happens quickly anymore.
Step 3 – We live by faith for our kids.
As Paul says we move “towards what is ahead”.
We don’t see our kids, stuck as they are now, we see them as the fabulous humans they will grow to be.
Being a parent is consistently having faith for what we cannot see.
Step 4 – We “Press on”,
God says, keep going, you can do it. You can train them.
It is encouraging to know that these things in our lives that used to just happen are suddenly lengthy opportunities to do the final thing Paul says to do;
Step 5 – We keep our eyes on the prize.
Pauls says press-on “toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” When we fix our eyes not on the situation but on the end goal everything changes.
The goal, and our prize, is two-fold.
We are not called “heavenward” which means “towards heaven” for no reason. We are called heavenward while we are still on earth because God has blessing for us even now. Jesus himself said the kingdom of God is here.
When we do all five steps; forget what is behind, take the strain, live by faith for our kids, press on, and keep our eyes on the prize; The Holy Spirit has reward for us even now.
And that reward is not frustration and anger.
The prize the LORD has for us is the character of Christ himself, a character full of the Holy Spirit, of peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control and also the sweet, sweet reward of eternal rest with our Lord! (And for those with waking new borns, that rest is a sweet, sweet prize indeed!)
God bless you amazing moms (and dads) and encourage you as you parent today,
There is hope.
Lots of love,