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At Our Best Bravely (Encouragement for Tired Moms)
"We are not at our best when we are most exuberant, most impetuous, most abounding in strength, most enthusiastic and most eager. But we are at our best when we are pulling most gravely, steadily, courageously in our appointed duties; when we are almost swamped by difficulties, weariness, seeming impossibilities; but all the time our face bravely turned towards eternity, our hearts lovingly turned toward God, and our wills determined to fight and fight to the death." Janet Erskine Stuart
I am certainly not always exuberant as a mom. Many days it is just plain plodding, day by day, step by step, not knowing what will happen next. Maybe that's a good thing.
Here a little, there a little. Our children are watching (even taking pictures!) as we go through our daily duties, dish by dish...
Anna Robertson Brown, one of the first women PhD's, wrote over a hundred years ago, "We are spending time well when we are paying it out to God, to buy the things he means our lives to own, whether he is putting before us a duty to be done, a friend to be won, a small service to be rendered, a child to be consoled, or a house to be set in order. There is time enough given us to do all that God means us to do each day and to do it gloriously! How do we know but that the interruption we snarl at is the most blessed thing that has come to us in long days?... Let us not try to escape our work, nor to shirk it. Above all, let us not fail to see it. As long as we live we have a work to do... That we are alive to-day is proof positive that God has something for us to do to-day. Let us ask ourselves as we arise each morning, What is my work today? We do not know where the influence of to-day will end. Our lives may outgrow all our present thoughts, and outdazzle all our dreams. Every day is a test-day; every hour is an examination-hour. God puts each fresh morning, each new chance of life, into our hands as a gift, to see what we will do with it." (More here: What is Worth While?)
I found the quote at the top of this post while looking for a short story about St. Augustine for my English students, who are learning about him in their history class. It was shared by by Elisabeth Elliot in her story of the prayers of Augustine's mother Monica of Tagaste, who prayed long for her profligate son. Her prayers were answered! Praying for our children is part of "gravely, steadily, courageously... all the time our face bravely turned towards eternity, our hearts lovingly turned toward God." Yesterday in class, we were talking about the faithful service of Amy Carmichael, a missionary who rescued nearly a thousand children in India from temple slavery or moral degradation. You can read her "A Parent's Prayer" here: Praying for Your Children. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, had wandered from the faith as a teenager but his parents' prayers prevailed, as you can read here: What Are You Looking For?
Keep going, Moms. With God's help, you can do it, even if you don't feel like it, even if you can't see the results right now.
"Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."