Your Kingdom Come…

I was recently asked to write a bit about motherhood.
Ahhh, yes, this is such an every day, in the trenches subject for me right now.
So I was grateful for the opportunity to sit still, to ponder what God has been teaching me.
And most of what He has taught me, He used my children to be his little teachers.

Feel free to hop over to the daughters of promise site to read “Your Kingdom Come,” or read it below…

Your Kingdom Come
 
I rolled over and turned my beeping alarm off.
Soft morning light drifted in the window, and in spite if it being Saturday,
I shook my husband’s shoulder. “Wake up, Honey. It’s six.”
We are not morning people, especially my six-year-old son.
I knelt over him and whispered, “Remember the race? Gotta get ready.”
His eyes flew open.
It was surprisingly cool for a morning in late May,
and as we crawled out of our car at the park, I wished I had brought a sweater.
The runners lined up for registration, pinned on their numbers and warmed up their legs.
A tall man pushed a jogging stroller to the line, and I noticed his son was special, very special.
The marks of Downs were clear, and I knew I would have to meet this little guy.
I knelt in front of him, smiling into his sleepy face.
“Nick isn’t much of a morning person,” his daddy smiled.
“Hey, I know the feeling…”
I looked into his sky blue eyes and rested my hand on his knee,
“I’m gonna be cheering for you, Nick!”
He faintly smiled and nodded, his blond hair glowing in the morning light.  
The horn went off and my husband along with the throng of other runners flooded out onto the track. 
Nick’s daddy held back till there was a bit more room and joined the tail end of the group. 
Nick leaned back into the stroller, and settled in for the ride.
It was a perfect morning for a run.
I bounced my eight-month-old baby and chatted with the others who were waiting to cheer the returning runners. 
I kept scanning the track, and finally I heard someone say,
“Here comes the first runner!”
Sure enough, that thin guy, wearing all black, with that beautiful stride. My man.
The little girl in me came alive and I bounced over to the finish line,
“Come on, Honey! Your amazing!”
He came flying in, beating his race record time by several seconds.
More and more runners came through, my sisters, cousin and a friend.
I cheered for each one of them. But I kept looking for that blue jogging stroller.
I knew he would be near the back, since he started out last. 
And finally he came, his sweaty dad pushing that familiar stroller. 
The finish line filled with people and we waved and cheered,
“Good job, Nick! You did it!”
Here I was, screaming my heart out for kid I’d never met until today.  And He was all smiles.
A few minutes later, they handed out the medals.
One by one, the best times and names were called. And for his age group, Nick did the second best time. 
He crawled out of the stroller and ran up to the medal table. 
As he was handed the red ribbon and the shiny medal a huge smile spread over his face.
Instead of going back to his seat, he twirled the medal high over his head and
danced around the pavilion.
We screamed. We cheered. We laughed.
His eyes glittered and his face glowed. Tears stung my eyes.
We all watched this little guy dance in sheer delight, and we tasted heaven.
I had to think about the story in Matthew 19, where Jesus and his disciples had been teaching and healing the thronging masses. 
Everywhere they went, people were pressing, shoving, reaching for that healing touch. 
Then came the children, full of energy and mischief, brought by eager mothers. 
I can just imagine the disciples’ exhaustion as they began to intervene.
“Not today, not these kids…”
But Jesus pulled the children close, and looked reprovingly at the disciples,
“Let these little ones come to me, don’t keep them away;
my Father’s kingdom belongs to ones like these.”
He touched them. He held them close. He blessed them. He saw their worth.

The kingdom of heaven. Jesus Himself taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
May Your name be honored as holy,
May Your kingdom come, and may Your will be done,
here on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s kingdom, here on earth.
It’s a breathtaking thought. No sin. No grief. No loss. No sadness.
I saw it, there after the race as Nick danced and jumped on legs that wouldn’t straighten perfectly. 
He limped, in fact. But he was jumping for joy with sheer delight that was marred by nothing –
not even his handicap.
The kingdom of heaven is not far away.
For us mothers, it is right here in our arms.
I had no idea when my first child was born, that he was sent from God to teach ME.
The mother was now the student.
This child, who could do nothing for himself,
was an instrument in God’s gentle hands to teach me about myself and my Maker.
I learned about rest as my baby slept so soundly in my arms.
I learned about trust as I cradled him in the shade by that roaring riverside,
waiting for the body of my brother to surface after his drowning accident.
I learned about complete dependency,
as I was the only one that could comfort him when he was hurt.
I learned how holding him was comforting to me,
even in those moments when I didn’t realize I needed comfort.
I’m learning now, the vital importance of honesty, of telling my children that I messed up, again. 
Amazed at how quickly they forgive, I find my breath caught away again by these little teachers.
Thing is, it’s so easy to miss. Children are a gift. A miracle.
An opportunity to see life through pure and untainted little eyes. “Mommy, look!”
My daughter bends down over a teeny tiny purple flower I hadn’t even noticed.
I pause. Here in the stopping, in the learning to see, the embracing of a new perspective,
we get to taste life in its sweetness.
Life as it was meant to be.
It only takes one trip to the store to be reminded that motherhood is such a huge ‘chore’.
“My,” they say, “You have your hands FULL.”
I only have three little ones in my cart. I smile back, “Oh, we have lots of fun!”
They look at me oddly.
But it’s true, we are embracing today, with all its joys and trials, for today is a gift.
Oh, I know. It IS hard.
Pregnancy is not a walk in the park. And birth? Wow. 
The teething baby won’t be settled, the challenging attitudes, the outright disobedience we face. 
Not being able to go on dates like we used to, or even join the prison choir that we helped start, 
because you can’t take a nursing baby in behind bars- these are sacrifices. Salty ones.
I’ve tasted the tears.
But it’s about this calling.
The invitation to experience God’s kingdom on earth.
To choose to dive into the beauty of today.
To be intentional about taking time to look deep into these little eyes, these windows of heaven.
To see. To listen to their hearts, 
and build towers of colorful blocks and relationships that will last through adolescence and hard questions.
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And it’s about joy. It doesn’t just happen.  
As mothers, we mold and shape the way our children will think.
About themselves, and the world around them.
We can create a negative atmosphere, nagging and discontented.
Wishing for the next season, a better house, more perfect and comfortable circumstances.
We can subconsciously teach them to live for themselves, selfishly wanting everyone to cater to their needs. 
It’s terribly easy. ‘Cause its what feels good, here and now.
But you know what? Life isn’t about us.
Sounds cold, I know. But honestly, my life is just a speck in eternity.
One wave that comes crashing into the shore, in and then out, and forever gone.
Let’s look at ourselves through God’s eyes. Let’s see today like He does.
Meet those hard moments with a thankful heart,
“God, I thank You for what You want to teach me through this…”
Not only will you find your heart more at rest, you will notice the sun shines brighter. 
Your baby’s giggle is contagious. A tea party on the porch is too much fun to miss. 
That these times are not ones of lost careers and other important things, but of finding for the first time how beautiful life really is. 
You have traded the temporal for the eternal.
You will be shattered.
You will have hard days.
Your children will see you cry.
You will need tissues and burp cloths and diapers, 
pacifiers and cardboard books and moments alone in the bathroom (just for those two seconds of solitude). 
Those long hours of uninterrupted reading or journaling will give way to snack time and legos, 
to teaching simple addition and coloring inside the lines. But instead of resenting their ever-presentness,
celebrate the opportunities that these little people create.
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Like James says so well,

“Count these moments of testing as opportunities for joy. 
For you know that after you have chosen to walk through it with a joyful heart, 
God will work unwavering faith deep in you. 
And as God perfects it in you, through these days of sacrifice, 
you will be made perfect and complete.”
You will lack nothing, here in this place of agreeing with God.
Of embracing today.
Pull your little ones close,
smell their hair and feel the warmth of their skin.
Catch the sparkle in their eyes.
Laugh deep and hard with them.
Look up and smile.
God has sent these beautiful little teachers into your life.
Grasp their small hands, and dance to the beat in your heart.
Can’t you hear it, that heavenly song?
The birds, the wind and the glittering creek,
and you and your children together join in that beautiful melody.
Of God’s kingdom here on earth.
It is the most beautiful place to be.
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