Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This, too, Shall Pass?

I remember when Elizabeth was a new born. She cried an awful lot. We had trouble figuring out the nursing thing. I was tired and overwhelmed. Friends told me, "Hang in there. When she hits three months, things will get better."
And then there was Joshua. While Elizabeth started sleeping through the night at 9 1/2 weeks, Joshua took a while longer to figure sleeping out. And I was tired and overwhelmed, again. But people assured me, the sleepless nights would pass and I would make it through.
However, then I had to potty train him and that? Didn't go so well, either. My mom tried to encourage me by saying, "Karen, don't worry. He won't be wetting his pants when he's in high school."
Matthew did a little better when it came to potty training. But shortly after I thought he had it figured out, he started having accidents. Regularly. Too regularly. And Mom stepped in again saying, "This, too, shall pass."
Ahem. I'm still waiting!
Now Elizabeth is a pre-teen. And she is hormonal, I tell ya! Weepy, touchy, picky and precious all wrapped up in one. Some moments you want to squeeze her and not let go, and other times you want to send her into her room until she can get a grip on her emotions and remember what really matters in life. Yeah, until this, too, passes.

It seems the most frequently offered words of comfort I have received as a mother (And I bet the same is true for you.) are, "This, too, shall pass." Certainly, these words are true. We live in a bunch of phases and it is highly unlikely we will live out our entire lives stuck in one of them. Each one will pass.
But another one will come on its heels. We'll struggle to see the light. We'll become frustrated at times. We'll sigh heavily and maybe cry a bit. Then someone will come along with a hug and remind us, "This, too, shall pass."
And we'll look forward to tomorrow, hoping it will be better than today.

It was in this looking forward that I found myself in a sad position. I realized one day that I was dangerously close to wishing my children's lives away. With each trial, each unpleasant phase, I played the mantra over in my head, "This, too, shall pass. This, too, shall pass."
I rehearsed that mantra until the day I realized I was longing so desperately for tomorrow, that I was missing today. And I don't want to miss today, because today is the only day I'm guaranteed. I don't own tomorrow. And I surely don't want to arrive at some place twenty years down the road with a grandchild on my lap, wondering to myself, How did I get here? When did my children grow up? Why did it happen so quickly? I know I always wanted to get past the hard times, but I didn't mean to miss so much!

This is the heartbeat behind my new book, Finding Joy. I want to live in the present moment, not hang somewhere between today and the future. And the wonderful thing is, God has shown me that I can have joy in the present moment - in the midst of the trials, the frustrations, the mundane and ordinary - because HE is in the moment.
When I take my focus off the situation and fix it on Him, I find joy! This is a wonderful journey, and I hope you will join me on it - by thinking about what I've written in this post, and even getting a copy of the book when it's out.

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By the way, my printer gave me a tentative completion date of "The week of 9/30/08." I'll open the give-away post next week!


Stacey said...

Incredibly wise and encouraging words, Karen. I have unfortunately been in that "wishing away" phase already, and my kids aren't even that old yet. I had 4 girls in 4 1/2 years, so all I could see was chaos and craziness. Thankfully God didn't let me stay there and drew my eyes to Him once again. He renewed my mind and joy came as I gave each and every diaper change to Him :) Thank you again, and can't wait for your new book!!!

Anonymous said...

I have uttered those words too many times to count. And I too ask God daily to help me to cherish these days, not wish them away. (it's a lot easier now that school started!) Look forward to your new release! Congrats!

Iris said...

So encouraging! I've been challenged during my parenting years to answer the question "And what if it doesn't pass?" What if issues my children are struggling with don't go away in a year or two? Will I still love my child? Will I still treasure the joy of being their parent? The answer is "Yes!" and the fresh perspective changes my attitude, just like your post did today. Thanks.

Becoming Me said...

Very encouraging, Karen. Thank you. And I soooo needed this reminder today as I am struggling with my patience level as I home school...

JanMary said...

Amen sister!

Even more ready for this book now :)

I am sure many mums will be blessed by it, and you.


Staceystace said...

I'm looking forward to it!

annie said...

After Amanda turned 18, it suddenly occurred to me how fast it goes! I am trying everyday to enjoy each day with them. Whatever stage, whatever joy or problem.

MoziEsmé said...

Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the moment. I think I've followed your footsteps in the "this too shall pass" mantra - but I've realized that I've been missing out on the joy of the moment.

ThreeGirlyGirls said... know that this hit home with me. =)

I love your insight on this. SOOOO true. I am just at a rough phase of motherhood, or so it seems, but I think you are so right, there is always going to be "something" to wish away.

I can't wait to get my hands on that book! Sounds awesome!

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Good word, Karen. Can't wait to see what you're going to do for your give-away! Lots of fun going on over at your place!

luvmy4sons said...

Amen. It is so easy to always be looking forward to something else instead of enjoying the now. When truly all we ever have is the now. NOW for me is recovery...being still with this injury is not a fun place for me but...maybe there is much for God to teach me and my children through this. Loved this post. Thank you.

Jessica said...

YOu're right! My first son didn't start totally sleeping through the night until he was three. Just his personality. But it made things difficult when I had a newborn. Those days did pass. Sometimes I wish they hadn't.
Wishing for tomorrow takes away the blessing of today, sometimes. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for my attention-sapping, adorable toddlers :-)

Mrs. Sidney said...

I want to be present with God, no longer look over my shoulder or worrying about my future.

I can't wait to hear more...

Thanks for sharing,

kreed said...

I heard "this, too, shall pass" from my mother more times than I can count while growing up. And I find myself thinking it while in the throes of nightly feedings, but I always remind myself that all moments are precious - even the not so pleasant ones. Thanks for the reminder of this!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Oh, so true.

I am so excited for your book release, I can only imagine how thrilled you are!

Deborah in Amityville said...

At the loss of my 7th or so pregnancy, that one at 19 weeks, I was given the Precious Moments statue “This Too Shall Shall Pass”. Eleven years later, as my one and only surviving child of 14 or so pregnancies sits on my lap weeping from an adolescent hormonal anger event, I tell her “this too shall pass” remembering my little statue and the pause those words gave me (unfortunately it was broken after throwing it at the person who gave it to me: my husband - in a fit of unprescedented frustration and anger due to the inevitable male-female role thing we find happening in long marriages: who’s responsible for what…but that’s another story we can all tell- someone just ASK me!!!). So to calm my eleven year old daughter down, I Googled [oh man, to NOT know the Google luxery…]those infamous words and this blog came up. What lovely and true words.
I would like to add however, that no matter much we regret wishing the hard moments would pass by quickly, no guilt for feeling this way should EVER be allowed a nanosecond of time to fill our hearts. Even the most perfectly “easy” child is raised perceptively QUICKLY, and the mothers of them ALSO wonder HOW THE HECK DID I GET TO BE WHERE I AM NOW!!!! The years fly by JUST as fast for those who had it “easy” as those who wished it to! In the end, when those first feverish 21 or so years of our oldest or only one’s life goes by, we all wonder the exact same thing. And I’m not even there yet; these are truisms I hear, and really feel to be true, from my Mother in Law, the dearest woman I know.
Don’t waste a second on guilt. The love good people give their children is what perpetuates US. God is LOVE, God is the POWER of love, the end.
Deborah Wimberger Amityville, NY