* * * * * *
Last Saturday I rolled over in bed, cocked one eye open, and glanced at the blurry clock. 8:27 wakeup is late for me, even on a weekend, and I sighed the grateful breath of a not-exhausted person.
Because I remember when 8:27 was impossible.
When my girls were small and needy and wide awake at 5 a.m. asking for crackers or Blues Clues or “Momma, Momma, Momma.”
When success meant keeping the baby occupied with plastic stacking toys long enough to zone out to an episode of 19 Kids and Counting on low volume in the living room because it was the only show on at that ridiculous morning hour.
When Saturdays were no different from Mondays or Wednesdays or what-day-is-it-anyway?? because toddlers and preschoolers and even hungry second graders don’t discriminate. They wake up when they wake up and they want what they want, and a mother just learns to kick her sleepy tush out of bed and be a mom because that’s what she signed up for. And tired as she is, even she’ll admit those bleary-eyed, crack-of-dawn moments are beautiful in their own way.
But now. At ages 10 and 13, my girls have finally learned to sleep. They pour their own cereal, navigate their own TV shows, read their own books and scroll their own Pinterest accounts. They can keep themselves occupied for an hour or three without a mother person in the room. And nobody bothers to wake me on a Saturday.
Can I repeat that? Nobody wakes me up on Saturdays anymore.
It’s a whole new magical stage of motherhood, and I love it.
And yet. At my baby shower more than 13 years ago, a mentor mom gave me this advice, which I’ve held close ever since.
“Don’t wish away the hard parts of each season. Because with them go the beautiful parts of that season, too.”
We’re in a hard season right now, aren’t we? This pandemic. Social separation. Virtual school and cancelled extracurriculars. Here in Wisconsin we’re dreading winter like never before—not so much because of the snow but because of the outdoor gatherings it will render impossible. At least COVID in summer was manageable with backyard picnics and bike rides. Soon we’ll have no escape. And even more limited opportunities to connect with people in real life.
And yet. There have been some positives to this season. If we dig deep, we can count them.
Families have had more time to spend together, eating dinner at the table, taking the dog for a walk, playing board games. While that hasn’t been entirely easy—I mean, so much togetherness has also led to the raw effort of working out long-standing issues that used to get swept under the rug of busyness. But even that is a blessing. Our real-life relationships are more authentic. And God can do amazing work in our authenticity.
We’ve had the rare opportunity to halt time and discern our true priorities. There are some activities I’ve been unable to add to my calendar since COVID hit in March, and even I’m surprised at which ones I miss—and which ones I don’t.
And let’s not lose sight of the biggest gift from this crappy season overall: the chance to trust God on a deeper level. Most of us have had to learn how to lean on Him and consider His sovereignty in ways we haven’t before. If we allow this pandemic—and all it entails, the anxiety, the economic uncertainty, the social isolation and confusion—if we allow it to draw us CLOSER to God rather than away from Him, we will have gained a tremendous benefit that only a season like this could bring.
So. I do miss sitting in a restaurant with a table full of girlfriends just like I miss the kisses my daughter used to give me freely when she was in preschool. Those were blessings from another time, another season.
But I also relish a slower schedule, our Friday nights at home with pizza and a movie because there’s nowhere else to go, just like I relish sleeping in ‘til 8:27 on a Saturday morning.
Every season has its hardship. Some more than others.
But every season has its beauty, too.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)
Let’s work hard to find the beauty in the midst of the hardship. Then maybe we’ll see God has been in it with us all along. And He’ll never leave us.
Not now. Not ever.
What to Read Next… today is my birthday, so, let’s dig into the archives for this one: How a 40-Year-Old Woman Can Look 20 Again