Today, I’m 31. And for the life of me, I cannot understand how. I’m pretty sure it was just a couple of years ago that I was 19 and crying that my teen years were almost over. Seriously, it feels like my 20’s just flew. Ugh. But, the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot over the last 30ish years, and especially my last decade.
Here’s a quick overview: I skipped a few grades and graduated high school early, got my degree at 18, and was simultaneously named as the senior editor of a newspaper. My first year as editor, I won statewide journalism awards and my boss pleaded with me not to tell anyone how old I was at the awards ceremony. Since then, I’ve won more awards, traveled extensively, worked for an International ministry, published 7 books, made #2 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list, started a children’s clothing brand that is worn nationwide, served on committees, taught, spoke, and am about to launch my first Bible study. And yet, as I’ve reflected back the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized that everything I’ve done and accomplished, pales in comparison to the purpose I see in the six little eyes (2 eyes x 3 daughters…no six eyed kids here!) that look up to me every moment of every day.
The gift of raising them, teaching them, loving them, training them – it is the most important thing I will ever do.
I’m sure you have your own list of “achievements,” and please understand I only share mine to demonstrate that in my last decade, there is nothing I’m more passionate about or find more purpose in than raising my girls.
Three years ago we moved into a house where we gained a dear neighbor whom we came to love very much, who never married or had children. For decades, she focused on her career, and a family just never happened. At the end of her life, she talked frequently about how our girls are our contribution to society. With tears in her eyes, she spoke about regretting not having children of her own, and she voiced her need to have something lasting to contribute. She had a spectacular career in which she helped so, so many people, gave large sums of money to charitable organizations every year, and yet her aching desire to contribute something of worth continued.
Her story reminds me daily that while careers are important and accomplishments good, our children are our legacy. Our children are what we can contribute to society. Our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren are our biggest opportunity to make the world a more wonderful place.
How we mother will influence how our daughters mother, how our granddaughters mother, how our great-granddaughters mother and so on. The characteristics we teach our children – kindness, generosity, self-control, compassion, unselfishness, joy, mindfulness, helpfulness, respect, work ethic – will influence generations to come. Those characteristics – if enough of us teach them to our children – can change the world.
So, whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, whether you’re pursuing a career or working during naptimes like me or just barely keeping up with a houseful of toddlers or the hectic schedule of school-aged children, whether your children are grown and you’re doing your best to adjust, please hear this, friend – your motherhood is your most important job. And those little humans that call you mama, are your best work.
Promotions, awards, money, dishes, dust mites, and jam-packed schedules will all pass away, but your children, your grandchildren – that is what you leave for society. That is what people will remember you by. So while work, career, and family can definitely coexist together, don’t let anything get in the way of mothering in however many hours a day you get with your children, because that’s the work that truly lasts.
So, as I reign in my wandering thoughts and wrap this up, I want to encourage you today that you’ve got this. Whatever season you’re in with your kids – whatever the present challenges, you’re going to make it through. And whether or not you feel like it, you are making a difference in this world every single day. What you’re doing as a mom is so, so important. Your purpose as a woman may not be completely consumed by your motherhood, but there is so much purpose in your motherhood. So embrace this journey you’re on and know that those dreams you might have had of changing the world, are being lived out every single day that you get the privilege of raising your children. Your motherhood today is shaping tomorrow’s world.
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