Ten years ago we only had one child. She was easy going, well mannered, and shared with other children. I would dress her in precious outfits with her hair pulled nicely in a bow. Our house stayed clean and we were usually on time wherever we went.
As a young mother, I never really understood when I saw mothers with multiple children. They often seemed to be barely hanging on. They told stories that I didn't quite understand. I remember wondering how they let their children leave their homes dressed in many of the outfits I would see. I didn't understand how their children could “act” the way they did. I thought I had it all together. I thought things would never change for us.
I now see how prideful I was and how sinful my thoughts were. I am honestly quite embarrassed as I think back on those years.
Now, we have three children. I have laundry that is never caught up. I feel like we are never on time. I often go to bed exhausted with dirty dishes in the sink. Baths sometimes get skipped and the clothing battles with our youngest aren't worth the fight.
I have learned so much since we had our third child. Her strong willed nature and her flair for fashion have taught me many lessons. I no longer wonder how a mother can let her child leave the house wearing a glittery Elsa dress and crazy red boots. I no longer wonder why a child’s hair is a mess and face is juice stained red. I no longer wonder why a child is having a tantrum in the checkout aisle. I no longer wonder why a family shows up late for a dinner invitation. I no longer see messes in the homes I go into. I have learned that the people I see daily all have a story. Every family has a story. Each person has their own story. There is a story I deeply want to know.
I see so much beauty I didn't see before. I see mothers who love their children and are doing their best to care for them. I see mothers giving their children freedom to make their own choices. I see houses that are lived and loved in. I see children, who are slowly learning how to interact with others, but still in need of guidance and love. I see families that are doing their best to fulfill commitments; even if they are 15 minutes late. I see grace overflowing. Yes, grace is what I see now.
Ten years later, I see the world differently. I am grateful I can humbly see we are not a perfect family and I am not the mother who has it all together. I am a mother in need of God’s grace and love daily.I am a mother who loves my family and is doing the best I can. And I am a mother who still has so much to learn.