12.5 hours to be exact. Oh, but that was just the actual driving part. 12. 5 hours if someone were to drive straight without getting stuck in traffic or stopping to use the bathroom or needing items such as food and water.
Add those things plus two small children and Grant and I were looking at a much longer drive. More like 16 hours or longer. Thankfully we whittled it down to 14 hours after finally finding a route around construction and making as little stops as possible.
But nevertheless, we found ourselves driving on the interstate, late into the night, with two little people in the backseat who don’t sleep very well sitting straight up in car seats. Go figure?
I was feeling the tension rise in my soul as the road seemed to stretch continually before us and the tears seemed to escalate in the backseat.
It also probably didn’t help that I was 8 weeks pregnant and in the thick of “morning” sickness.
Nor did it help that we left way later than planned because of a necessary doctor’s appointment.
These things were working against me.
Including the stop for gas we had to make around 11pm when the girls were soundly sleeping.
Were soundly sleeping.
But now there was crying in the backseat and we were only in Texarkana.
Thanks to a husband who knows how to make us both laugh and stay awake in the middle of the night on a quiet interstate, we finally made it.
But when I woke the next morning, I felt tired.
I went into the bathroom, closed the door, and looked up my “verse of the day” on my phone:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Thessalonians 5:16-18
I didn’t feel a lot of happiness in that moment as the “morning” sickness started returning, but those words brought joy to my soul.
I thought about all the things the day before that had been out of my mothering control. The simplicity of the truth before me brought conviction and hope.
This was God’s will for me in Christ Jesus.
Dear Mom, Your Kids Are Fine
In motherhood, there are many things I cannot control. Even though I try to keep my children on consistent and healthy routines, there are times when plans and intentions and attitudes (including my own) fail.
I’ve found that the more I try to rely on my own strength instead of leaning on the Lord, the more I end up feeling defeated.
As mothers, we have all felt exasperated or defeated from time to time. The times when we are traveling and things are all out of whack or our day goes completely NOT as planned and we feel the anxiety rising in our souls.
As I grow as a mom, my own mother’s words often ring in my ears. “GraceAnna, they are fine.” And in 99% of everyday cases, this is true.
My kids skipped their nap. They are fine. My kids had chocolate. Three times. They are fine. My kids went to bed really late and instead of sleeping in they woke up early. They are fine. My kids are whining in the backseat because they’ve been sitting there a while. They are fine.
There are many scenarios every week when as a mom I can be tempted to worry and fret, when, majority of the time, my children are just fine.
The real question is: Mom, are you fine?
Dear Mom, Give Thanks
I knew it was no accident that morning standing alone in the dark bathroom that my “verse of the day” was 1 Thess 5:16-18. It was the Lord speaking to me: “GraceAnna, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (emphasis mine).
God’s Word jolted me out of my self-sufficient attitude and turned my heart to my Savior. His Word was a spring of water in a dry place and a reminder that I don’t have to do this on my own. He will help me.
God’s will for me was not to make sure my children never experience any disruption in their little lives or make sure they always keep their shoes on in public places.
God’s will for me right now is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.
Lord, thank you for giving me these children. What a gift!
Lord, I need your right now.
Lord, thank you for this situation that gives me an opportunity to teach my child about you (and teaches me to call to you for help!).
Lord, You are good.
These aren’t “super spiritual” prayers. These are the prayers of a mom who realizes she cannot mother in her own strength. These are the prayers of a mom who loves Jesus.
Dear Mom, there are more books out there than you have time to read on parenting. And many are so very helpful. But remember what He has said:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes me feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go to the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19
His Words are truth and they are life.
Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.
For this, young mother, is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.