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For A Season

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"-Ecclesiastes 3:1

I am in a particular season for my life, so are you. My season happens to be being a wife and a mom to a 3 yr. old and an almost 3 month old.
Just four years ago my life was completely different. I was in a totally different mindset and season. I could spend most of my day the way I wanted to. I could keep my home perfectly spotless. I could go to the bathroom without an audience. I could read/type a sentence without being interrupted by dressing paper dolls or changing a diaper. I could start projects and finish them in a timely manner. My body was my own, and entirely for my husband with no nursing babies laying claim to it. I could work out whenever I chose. I could eat what I liked (right now I'm nursing a baby with colic and acid reflux and have had to take dairy, all dairy, out of my diet). 
This post could easily turn into a rant. I could easily complain about how different my life is and the fact that I can't do whatever I like whenever I like. I could lament the changes my body has had to go through in order to give birth to and nurse two children. I could cry tears of self-pity over the never-ending mess my home seems to be in, and the fact that I can constantly clean it without any noticeable change. 
But I know this is only a season. I will not be the mother of young children forever. They are already growing up before my eyes and changing in ways that amaze me daily. They won't always coo and smile those toothless grins, or hug me at night and say, "Mommy, I want to stay with you forever!". I am forever grateful to God for my children.
This is only for a season. And yet there are things that will never be the same, even when this season has passed. Let's be honest, I will never look the same as I did on my wedding day, even if I could still wear my wedding dress. I will always feel the affects of having been pregnant four times (we have two babies in heaven), my body will never be as it was prior to having children. Being a stay-at-home mother who's trying to homeschool means I will not be working full-time outside the home as I used to, and money will always probably be tight.
And yet none of those things are really bothering me. Lately there's only been one overwhelming thing that is making me feel, well, a little depressed to be honest. Guilt. I feel guilt over not being the mother I want to be. I feel guilty not being able to keep my home the way I want to keep it. I feel guilty not being able to fit in many of my clothes and still be modest (nursing moms, you know what I mean!). I feel guilty not having the time or energy to be there for my husband as I would like to be. I feel guilty for not spending time being hospitable. 
But most of all, I feel guilty because I don't have the time or energy or frankly the motivation to pray and read and study God's Word as I would like and know I need. I get so caught up trying to catch up or just feeling exhausted, that I feel like I'm wasting the time I've been given. 

"It is an unpleasant mistake to think all the time as lost which is not spent in reading, or hearing sermons, or prayer. These are properly called means of grace; they should be attended to in their proper season; but the fruits of grace are to appear in our common daily course of conduct." - John Newton

I had been taking out my frustration from this guilt on anyone and everything. Now granted, I wasn't abusing my kids or my husband, and  I wasn't neglecting needs, but I was doing things with a bitter heart. And no matter how much I tried to be cheerful, my heart was full of frustration and anger, and it was affecting those around me. 
There's a lot of guilt that comes with motherhood, and it's fueled by worry and genuine love for my family. I love my kids and my husband more than I've ever loved anything or anyone ever. I want most of all for them to see Jesus in my love for them lived out in all that I do or say, for them to see the gospel in every word and deed. But my heart's wickedness can nullify that. My attitude can negate the words I say or the things I do, because they aren't done with the right affections. God has to come before my husband, my children, my home, and me. 

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."-Exodus 20:3

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."-Matthew 22:37-38

God has to have the first place in my life, but that's in the light of the gospel. What I mean is, God doesn't change the state of my salvation or my standing in Christ before Him, simply because I sin or because I'm going through a season where I can't read, study, or pray as I want to. 

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."-Ephesians 2:4-9

Putting God first doesn't mean I am living a monastic life or that I am sitting in a quiet room for hours praying and studying. It means that I acknowledge Him in all that I do. It means that I submit to His will, knowing that He created this season for me, and that my joyful embracing of it will glorify Him and be for my good. It means that my heart will rejoice in Him when I feel so depressed. It means that I will take refuge in His peace when I am surrounded by chaos. And I will serve those around me with a joyful heart, knowing that in doing so I will glorify my God and show Jesus to my family and those around me. 

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."-Galatians 2:16-21

There is no better way to be like our Lord than to be glad to take the lowliest position, in meekness to embrace the draining of ourselves to serve others, to rejoice in being made low that He can be made higher, and to be a stranger in this world by showing them our steadfast devotion to our God, Jesus the suffering servant, as we are blessed to be given the opportunity to emulate and follow Him in giving our all to our family. 

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."-Philippians 2:5-8

I watched my mother for years pour out herself for her family and others. She did it without complaining, but with a quiet and a meek spirit. She showed me Christ and the gospel by giving us grace and mercy and love, while she received nothing in return. So, I am going to ask God to forgive me for where I have wasted the time He has given, for the attitude of my heart, for not coming to Him sooner with my sins, and for not trusting Him fully in this season. And I pray He grant me repentance in these areas, and I am going to put my hand to the plow and not look back.

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."-Luke 9:62

So, who's with me? 

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