Every once in a while, God slaps me with a change in perspective. And it hurts.
I sat at the family dinner table on an ordinary Monday night, cutting a pork chop and listening to our five-year-old rattle off her favorite activities of the day—our usual suppertime discussion. “I liked when we went to the park, when we blew bubbles outside, when Daddy came home from work. . .”
Just then I reached for a forkful of rice and heard it—a strangled, guttural sound coming from across the table. My head jerked up and in an instant my brain registered the source.
Our eight-year-old daughter was choking.
In a single motion, my husband leapt from his chair, lifted our daughter over his forearm and slapped a hand to her back. Praise God, the obstruction dislodged from her throat and she spit it onto the table. I wrapped my arms around her and didn’t let go.
In moments like that, a mom realizes what she has. And what she could lose.
“Are you okay?” I held my daughter’s face in both hands and searched straight into her eyes.
“Yes, momma,” she whispered and nodded.
“Well, I guess we’re not having those pork chops again!” My husband attempted to lighten the mood. But I knew it freaked him out, too. Our daughter sat on my lap for the remainder of the meal, although neither of us was hungry anymore.
The choking incident itself lasted a matter of probably seven seconds, but in my panic mode, I experienced the whole ordeal in slow motion. Then the adrenaline rushed throughout my body and I fought back tears. Suddenly I saw my daughter with fresh eyes.
Not as the girl I scolded two minutes earlier for poking her sister with a spoon.
Not as the child who would waste a perfectly good plate of vegetables then ask for ice cream before bed.
Not as the kid whose homework drains a portion of my dwindling energy night after night.
Again she was my gift. It was like the scales sloughed off my eyes, and for the rest of the evening and all the next day, whenever I looked at my daughter I saw her more clearly for who she really is—a treasured possession on loan from God. And I shuddered to remember he has the right to take her away at any moment.
The question is—how am I spending the moments he gives me?
I know on this blog I often focus on the common frustrations we moms face. The sibling bickering, the sleepless nights, the mommy guilt, the puking kids—you name it. If we struggle with it, I’m going to write about it, and I love that you’re here, joining me for the ride. I truly believe we can find God in the midst of our everyday annoyances.
But I hope you also know that at the core of everything we explore together, I love being a mom. My heart has grown ten times its size since parenthood rocked my little universe. And my children—my precious, beautiful children—are worth every single challenge the Lord has thrown my way and so much more. And the same is true for you.
It shouldn’t take a life-or-death moment for us to realize how much our kids mean to us.
So today I don’t want to whine about laundry or glitter or the ridiculous cost of braces. I just want to encourage us all to cherish our kids. Whatever busy work you had planned today, will you toss it aside for a minute and hug your children tight? Because none of the other junk matters compared to them.
Let’s love our kids while we have the chance.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).