There's no good way to segue into this, so I'm just going to say it: Last week, two of my good friends lost their youngest son to cancer.
It's truly unfathomable.
Life is they know it will never be the same, and yet for the rest of us, despite the sadness, things just keep marching on. Two days ago we gathered to mourn, and today my task is writing about intentional motherhood.
It's impossible to have the right words in this situation, but perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to take a quick lesson from all this, "Mamas..." I could preach, "Hold your babies tight. Appreciate every moment. Be mindful. Be thankful. Recognize all the blessings you have. Keep everything in perspective. Remember each day is a gift."
Yes. Yes yes yes. We should be doing all of those things, and more. But is that realistic? All the time?
God has blessed me with two beautiful, healthy children, and I should be thankful for that every day. I shouldn't take it for granted. I should make every effort to hug them and squeeze them and make sure they know I wouldn't trade even a minute of my life with them.
But we shouldn't feel pressured to seize every moment, or to somehow make up for someone else's burdens by embracing our blessings. We can't love out of guilt. We can't parent right to balance a wrong.
Because even my friends have to move forward through the tragedy back towards regular life. They have two older kids who still need so much. I have no doubt they will continue to lavish those kids with love, and I'm sure they'll take advantage of as many extra opportunities to show them how cherished they are. But I also know that there will be annoyances and frustrations in the daily grind of life. Despite experiencing the worst thing a parent can imagine, there will still be days when they're just regular people who get exasperated at their loud, rowdy, typical kids. And that isn't a disservice to their sons legacy. It's a testament to the reality of life.
So a call towards intentionality is healthy and good. And encouragement towards loving our kids well is necessary. But an expectation of living out a perfect attitude on behalf of those who no longer have that opportunity is a burden and a lie.
"God has not called me to be a perfect mom. He's called me to point my children towards a perfect Christ."
So, mamas...Be intentional. Hold your babies tight. Appreciate the little moments. Be mindful. Be thankful. Recognize the blessings you have. Keep things in perspective. Remember each day is a gift.
And then....when you're worn out, weak, exhausted, and impatient, remember that you are not perfect, and were never meant to be. But Christ is.