It happens quite frequently when I meet a younger mother and she inquires about my children. "How old are they?" she asks. And I tell her, "They're 17, 15, and 13."Her first response is usually about the fear of having teen-agers. But, inevitably, her follow-up question will be something along the lines of, "Tell me, does it get easier?" I smile, because I understand her feelings so well. She wants to know if there is really going to be an end to the temper tantrums in the middle of grocery shopping. Will she ever get to use the bathroom alone again? Is there any hope that one day she won't be tripping over blocks and stuffed animals every time she turns around? Can she believe the day will come when she won't have to pull into some random parking lot to change another poopy diaper? She is in the middle of mothering young children, she's tired, and she just needs hope that "these days" won't last forever. And, remembering when I was in her shoes, I want to hug her and tell her with confidence, "YES! It does get easier!" But, I can't say it. Because that would be a lie. I hate to say it, but the truth is - "It" doesn't get easier. It just gets different. As a mother of teens, I can say I am so thankful to be finished with diapers and sleepless nights, tantrums in the grocery store and fights over toys, as well as bathroom visitors and wet sheets every morning. So.glad.to.be.done! But I look at my children today, and I think about the challenges we face, and I have to say - mothering really doesn't get easier. Our struggles are just different. (And, in talking with mothers of adult children, I know they would say the same thing to me!) Now, before you begin to think I've sunk into a pit of despair, please let me finish that thought. I look back on my years of mothering babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and elementary-aged kids, and I think about the challenges we faced. I remember how difficult those days were, and how often I thought I wouldn't make it through them. I recall the tears, the yelling, the frustration, and the feelings of defeat. Then I take those thoughts captive to a greater one: God, in His faithfulness and grace, brought us through those days. He'll do the same thing today, and for each day ahead of us. And I find great HOPE in that thought. So, dear mother-of-little-ones, if you find yourself tried and tired and at your wits' end, and you want to know, "Does it get easier???" please hear hope when I tell you, "No. It doesn't get easier. It's just different." But remember: The same God who brings you through this phase of troubles will faithfully bring you through the next one, too.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.~Romans 15:13