The heat has returned to this part of my home state and in an effort to build fond memories and keep us all cool, I loaded the middles and little into the car and headed to a local park with a water feature and playground. To get there I had to drive past the University where I work. There is something magical about universities. All the old brick and surrounding houses that have seen so many lives and dreams pass by. I followed a truck pulling a U-Haul and couldn’t help but wonder if it held a new student, traveling here to set wings to new goals. Or maybe a married couple, starting out and excited for what the future may hold. I remembered my own travels and college days. The smell of rustic buildings, floors polished and hardwood gleaming. The rush of excitement when we pulled into the city that would be our home for the next two years while the Hubs completed graduate school. All the anticipation and excitement that went with those new beginnings- the budding of new dreams.
They seem so far away now. Time has softened the excitement and now we are in a life so different from those early days. Sometimes it feels like the dreams were just that-dreams. Never coming to fruition. When day in and day out is filled with driving kids to different activities and appointments. The washer on an ever present spin cycle of load after load and each day runs into the next, split only by the small moments of quiet you receive when everyone has gone to bed. It’s these days that are long adding up to the years that are so short that make it seem like maybe we’re not living the lives we are called to. That dream we worked so hard for has now taken the back burner to the fingerprints on the patio door. Grabbing that ever needed glass of milk seems small fry to that desire to change the world. The salary of motherhood may make the bread but doesn’t pay the student loans.
I know I struggle with this. The feeling that I was maybe meant for more, that somehow the gifts I’ve been given are being toiled away, washed down the drain at the kitchen sink. It seems so small a thing, to raise these children, when the whole world seems like it needs something big. But then I wonder if maybe raising these children is the biggest thing I could possibly do. For these few years it seems like my life only intersects these four. To an extent, this is true. But they who receive all the attention now will touch thousands of lives in the future. They will have friends and classmates. Boyfriends and girlfriends. Teachers and coworkers. Spouses and children of their own. They will continue or not this legacy of building the kingdom to which we have been called. I may touch a thousand lives in the span of time I take these breaths, but my reach will extend through the lives of my children.
This morning I read in 1 Corinthians. Chapter fifteen, verse fifty-eight says this:
Always give yourselves fully tot he work of the Lord, because you
know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
As mothers we labor long and hard over this work of child rearing. For some that labor begins in a delivery room, for others it is a paper trail that leads to a courtroom. Either way, the work put in is toilsome and encompasses each square inch of our hearts. Yet at those moments, the work is just beginning. The labor will continue through sleepless nights and potty training. Through school years and dances and first heartbreaks right up through the day we drop them off at that university with the big brick buildings and the old polished floors. This calling to motherhood is not for the faint of heart, and it is not a thief of dreams or callings. It is a love laden work set in motion by the hands of the Father. I promise, each moment you put into those small souls around your table? They will not be in vain.