Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Long View

I had a whirlwind of a day today and it isn't over.  School is back in session.  Such is the life.  Once the kids were dropped off at school, I zipped over to a friend's house for tea.  While our two fourth children played and baby Nathan slept in my arms, we chatted and she encouraged me about some of the most important things of all-generational thinking.

It's easy to get narrow-minded in my thinking, as I mother in the trenches.  It's hard enough to put one foot in front of the other to attempt to meet the many needs that stack up in front of me.  So if it's hard enough to do that, then how can I even think much about next week let along two years from now?  How is that even possible?  Yet much of what I am doing now, has the future in mind.

We can't escape it.  Our kids will be who we are someday.

Here's the thing though, mothering with the long view in mind is what gives me hope.  And hope is what carries me in the day to day craziness.

This is what I mean.  It's a lot easier to continue to do something when you really believe it is going to make a difference.  Because whatever we do, there is a goal in mind.  We may not realize it but there is a goal.  It may not be a good, godly or healthy one, but there is one.  When we're parenting well or not, there are always consequences.  They are blessed consequences or curses.

If my little two year old darling girl continues to throw fits despite my consistent efforts to train her, then I can become discouraged.  But if I take the long view, commit to the training regardless of the immediate fruit, then I will hope to see results over time, not just in the immediate short term.  This way I am relying on what is right, not on my heart and the feelings it produces.

This sort of view can be tiresome because immediate results are what spur one on in the process.  I'm not bemoaning short term results.  They can be encouraging!!  But often times in life, and in the long span of parenting over many, many years, the long view is what wins out every single time.  It's the long term benefits, the generational building that produces the most fruit.

This is hard for us American parents who are used to getting what we want quite quickly!  But parenting isn't about quick results.  What we build now our children will be in the future.

The long view always wins out.  A man will reap what he sows.  I cannot think so much about where I have come from or where my husband has come from- although we both have wonderful parents that love us and that we love tremendously!  I must act as a responsible adult and think about our future generations and the ones who will come after us.  We must honor our parents for all they've done for us, but then we must look to the future-always to the future.

What am I building?  How can I change?  What do I need to be or model for my children so that they will know how to love their future wives/husband?  What sins in my heart need to be addressed so that my kids can live free of my guilt and not be compelled to do the wrongs that I have done?

This is the long view.  It won't change things for tomorrow.  It will just force me to keep going.  The long view is letting go of past sins, confessing my own, and sowing the future with patience in mind.

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  Isaiah 43:18-19

What do I want to see in twenty years?  (We often ask this of ourselves as we're talking about our children.)  Here is what I want to see- I want to see faithful children who love God, love others and who are wise.  I want them all to want to be around us and to want to be with each other.  I want them to get along.  And I want them to sit around our table, talk about God's faithfulness, and teach it to their own children.

This is what God has given me.  We are a "new" thing.  It starts now.

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