As I sit here this morning listening to the rain and reflecting on years past, I am reminded of how important it is to leave a lasting legacy. I can’t help but realize how quickly time passes and if we don’t stop for a moment to stand as an observer of our own world, it rushes by and today is gone.
I want to leave something for the next generation and this has been a cry in my heart for years. What does the word legacy mean? According to the dictionary, the word means to leave something to someone in another generation. It is also a derived characteristic from a parent and something left to you. With that in mind, let me share for a few moments my life as a young mother and teacher/worship leader and then hopefully, give you few helpful tips.
Trying to balance family with your own dreams and aspirations can be extremely difficult at times and being a working mother of three, as I was, can seem impossible if not futile. You see, I grew up during the launching of a movement of women who highly promoted getting out of the house and having a career. This was the mantra of my generation. So to stay at home became not the “coolest” thing in this progressing culture. However, I do need to say that even though that was the cry of this new women’s movement, I was more drawn to teaching in Christian school while having young children because I wanted to be a vital part of their lives. My dream was to be where they were every day and be able to interact with them as much as I could. I deeply desired to walk by their classrooms and observe their day. It also made for the perfect family times as we were all deeply involved with the school activities. In fact, we never missed an event as a family.
However, there were some highly stressful times. Let me explain. I can remember getting up early in the morning desperately trying to have my quiet time before getting the family stirred, as my day began at 5:30 am each morning. As a teacher in Christian school, check in time was around 7:30 am. We began the day with teacher devotions so that meant I had to have the kids dressed and out the door by at least 6:30 am because at that time, my son who was 3, was attending our church pre-school. We lived at least 20 minutes away from the church and it was another 15 minutes the other direction to the school. At times, my mornings were absolutely “crazy.” There were days that as we rushed out the door with books and packed lunches in hand that would have made even your head spin. One morning the back passenger door on the car was not closed and as I drove out the garage, I took part of the door off. I can’t explain this but just trust me, it did happen. Another time, I ran into the basketball hoop as I was driving out of the garage. And on another day, I grabbed a brown paper bag containing a can of oil in place of my lunch which was also in a brown paper bag. I must have been in such a hurry, that I placed the bag on the garage floor and then mistakenly, I grabbed the wrong brown bag. Now all this sounds crazy, but when you have three children, lunches to pack, papers to grade, life can get a bit “topsy, turvey. “ Sometimes, I would arrive at school and during devotion time, I would be desperately trying to calm myself down. I look back now and wonder, “How in the world did I do all that and remain sane? I didn’t mention that many evenings were filled attending school functions, teacher’s meetings and church events as I was a worship leader. Even in the midst of my wild story, I wish so many times that I could go back and change a few things and some things I would like to relive. So as part of my legacy, I am going to leave you with a few helpful hints as a mom in the busiest season of your life.
1. If you are in a season of what seems to be family chaos, it will pass quickly. It will seem as though you are never going to sleep again or more importantly, have a minute to yourself. But trust me, take a breath and breathe in this moment of your life because the chaos or some of it, I should add, will be something you long for in your later years. I promise!
2. If you struggle with having time with God, then speak to Him all day long as scripture says in I Thessalonians 4:17 that we are to pray unceasingly. He can become an intricate part of a woman’s life as she changes diapers, fixes meals and maybe works outside the home. Just learn to talk to Him throughout the day. And this is a word for the husband as well. I am certain the men also struggle with making room for times with God as many are the challenges men face today. Just learn to bring Jesus into everything you do. When you get 5 minutes, just stop and relocate into the Father’s arms. He is a Father and He knows your life better than anyone. Turn the day over to Him.
3. Learn to live life slowly taking in every moment of your family life whether you have children or not. For instance, if you have children, please, stop and observe those important times in their lives. Take photos, have family nights at the dinner table (This can be the most important part of your day – enjoy preparing the meals together and talking) and with this high tech culture we have, set the rule that each person put their phone away at meal time and enjoy the family! Turn off the television! Many young people today are screaming for family and right now you have the opportunity to create a dinner table that the kids look forward to allowing them to talk about their day. Let them rehash their most important moments and then pray together.
4. If married and you don’t have children yet, take in this season together and enjoy your journey. Do things that bring you together as husband and wife. Go on dates alone. Plan outings and learn to enjoy each other’s dreams. Learn to talk to one another and mostly, just allow God to help you become the best husband or wife you can be. The most important thing can learn to do is talk and spend time working on your communication. This is vital.
5. If you are single, this is your “single season!” You can step back and allow God to prepare you for your spouse. Trust that He is working beautifully inside both you and your future mate. Even though it seems Father is slow, remember He is always on time. He knows your heart’s desire.
6. Never put your job before your family! The principle we live by is God first, family second and then work. If you are giving more time to your work and then bringing it home as well, your children and spouse will feel the effects. Make certain that upon your arrival home, you create this “pretend box” and put all the day inside and then determine to be there for those who mean the most to you.
As I finish this blog, I feel the joy of having gone through those seasons of my life but yet long for the basketball games, the cheerleading events, the book reports we worked on together and those times in the park where we would just enjoy the day. No pressure but just a little reminder to checklist your priorities, as it is so easy to get busy and forget.
I pray for you, today, that in this busy culture, you will be able to shelf the world, put away the distractions and learn to enjoy the “little moments” with family. I pray that we would all stop what we are listening to and listen to one another. I pray, Father, for peace in the home and that you will always remain the center even when life pulls hard at the heart. Father, thank you for family. It is your greatest institution.
We love you Jesus and need You so much. Julaine