I just sent my sis-in-law-to-be a bit of a study through the beginning chapters of Genesis. In re-studying, I am again impressed to substantiate the difficulty, exhaustion,and complexity in mothering my children as coming directly from the fall. It is so wise of God to give me this information by means of Ancient Words! After Creator God makes a place for Adam and Eve to dwell, thereby establishing theological, bedrock, Trinitarian truth, the disobedience and drama unfolds so quickly. God curses Eve with pain in childbearing, then repeats the phrase in a different way, "in pain you will bring forth children" to extend the meaning toward sorrow or hardship in raising children. There are direct marital implications in the curse for Eve as well, but for today, I am really feeling the first part.
There are about six loads of laundry waiting on me in the next room. We didn't quite finish school today, but that can (will have to) wait. Babies are teething, fussing, smiling, eating their hands, hitting themselves with toys in the face, and already trying to take things from each other. Each minute today, measured in number of used baby wipes and tablespoons of coffee brewed, has moved by at a sprinters pace. Friedrich Nietzsche and C.S. Lewis are sitting at my kitchen peninsula having a most important conversation (I won't disclose to which of the boys each description refers).
"What if parents make up God as a way to get kids to obey?" Nietzsche asks. This is not his first intuitive question about the existence of God. C.S. Lewis comes to the defense with creational logic and catechism recitation. "What do you think, Mom?" I am asked in reference to one of the most pivotal questions in the universe ---as I step in squashed watermelon on the floor and clean spit-up off the exersaucer. Just moments before, my escalating voice could be heard over all five children requiring adherence to the simple house rule, No Jumping on the Furniture. I was definitely not engaged in meaningful, patient conversation with my boys. Micah of course is working this particular evening so I have been stretched in every way to get to this point in the day and I am mentally and physically exhausted. Here we are, big and small products of the fall. And here is where things matter most.
These are the conversations I so desire~ when my children have been considering the eternal, asking intelligent questions, and want my input! I pray for opportunities that ears are open and ready to listen. Then, it suddenly occurs to me that I have already answered the question, over and over throughout the day... and throughout their young lives. It does matter what I say, but then again it really doesn't. I could sing "Blue Skies" but if I live in grey, they know. They are smart like that... especially Nietzsche. This realization puts me into a bit of a panic. For me, words are easy... actions speak louder.
Enter pain. God made what is most inherently near to my heart and most true to my biological fabric ~conception, birth, and the raising of children~ the thing that always brings me to the brink of knowing something is terribly awry. My relationship with Micah does too, but it is not built and nurtured in the same way. Who are those in the animal kingdom we want to avoid for fear of serious retaliation? Mamas with babies nearby. On top of nature and nurture, the ways I am called to love my children make the stakes much higher. I love my little ones with a fierce love; a love that is unmatched by any other. It was indeed painful to bring them into the world and it is painful to love them so deeply as I watch them learn lessons for themselves. I have 18 years to prepare my completely dependent babies and fewer for the boys starting to make independent logical connections to go out into the world alone. It is painful to discipline and constantly morph into the mom they need as they grow and develop. All the time, they are a mirror to the very worst in me. I know from which side of the family tree they inherit and perpetuate behaviors both helpful and harmful. I want to do right by them. I want to do all those things stated in Proverbs that show I am a wise mom. Their souls are at stake. I want them to rise and call me blessed. How do I do that with watermelon on my foot, feeling overwhelmed with my own lack of patience, while drowning in a sea of laundry?
Not too far from the curse it the cure.
Interestingly enough, the cursed Eve, mothered by extension the One who would crush the serpent's head. Clothed in animal skin, she lives out her life connected to the Cure~ the Victor and One who abolished the curse for all those who believe. There is life changing power in His name and work. So much power that simply being carried through the day by my Loving Shepherd is enough to challenge my questioning children. They need more than a right answer. They need to see me needing Jesus. And in God's wisdom, mothering provides an unending number of opportunities to do so.
It is obvious to my husband and especially my children that I am not able to do the right things always, often, ever... Sometimes I do and there He shines through me quite clearly. Whether drawn to the cross for forgiveness or continuing to realize who I already am in Christ, He living in me is the attribution and I pray it is obvious especially to those who watch me the most; my children. I can have compete confidence in His work in me and there is absolutely nothing more assuring. He who promises is faithful. All I can say on this particular evening is that God saved me. I sit and confess to my boys that I once was lost and hell bent. I own all they already know about my current state~ sometimes struggling, many times failing. But God saved me. He knows me. He loves me. He has clothed me, like Eve, in garments fashioned just for me that make me beautiful in his sight. Jesus Christ is my righteousness. I can trust Him with all my desires for my children as He weaves my prayers into the fabric of their lives. And that makes me want to jump on the furniture, too.