I have suddenly found myself in a new stage of life. My oldest is in second grade, my middle son is in preschool five mornings a week, and my youngest is in preschool two mornings a week, which leaves me six hours of time each week to do with as I please.
I can go to the bathroom without spectators.
I can have a cup of coffee while sitting down.
I can run errands without pushing around a cart full of kids.
I can even roam the aisles of Target aimlessly if I so choose.
In fact, as I write, I’m sitting in an empty, quiet house. It’s the strangest thing.
It’s also the strangest thing how quickly I’ve moved into this season of life. It seems as if my youngest just came home from the hospital, my middle son just learned to walk, and my oldest was hyped about starting kindergarten. In all honesty, as I muddled through those baby and preschool years, I dreamt of having six free hours to myself. Mothers of older children always said how fast the time goes, how the days are long but the years are short. I didn’t believe them. It’s hard to believe them when you spend your days giving of yourself so completely that you fall into bed exhausted in the evening.
Yet, here I am. And so quickly.
This stage is different than I thought it would be. Yes, running errands without kids is bliss. But in all those years of looking forward to my children growing more independent and having some free time for myself, I didn’t take into account that I do not own my time. I always thought that all my work and sacrifice in the baby years meant that I would “earn” and “deserve” some time to do what I wanted when my children were a little older.
I’m learning that’s not so. As the start of preschool loomed and I began planning what I’d use my six hours for, my heart grew unsettled. I talked to the Lord about it because I’ve found that, for me, unsettled usually means there is sin in my life. Sure enough, He quietly impressed on my heart: Have you asked me about how I’d like you to use this time? In the months leading up to my six hours of freedom, I hadn’t once stopped to ask Him for His leadership or direction.
In the end, His ideas and my ideas for my six hours weren’t all that different. The Lord was just concerned with the heart behind my decisions: Is it my time or is it His time? I am reminded that at each transition and each new stage in my life, I must evaluate if what I’m doing is for myself or for the Lord. Am I willing to surrender what I’ve “earned”? Am I willing to accept the time as a gift and not feel guilty about enjoying it? Am I willing to continue to serve and give of myself even though I gave myself so completely all those years? Am I focused on my own desires and wants or am I cheerfully using my time to honor the Lord?
Or was that just a stage?
By Christine Hoover from The Hoover HouseholdLeave a Comment
Helloooo, conviction. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you! With 3 littles under 3.5 I find myself a little overwhelmed. I want to enjoy these moments right now and for God to use me even now!!
Holley Gerth says
Our time is not our own…such a good reminder. I’ve started having “coffee with Jesus each morning” and asking Him what He wants me to do with my day? The biggest surprise? It often seems to be LESS than what I planned. Whew. So grateful to have grace!
Christine, I was just thinking about this this morning! My son – our only at this point – is 6 and finishing up First Grade. He is (a bit more) independent and outside playing with friends, or sometimes even at friends houses. I sometimes think about the times I wondered if I would ever have a moment to myself on a weekend…moments to almost be bored. I soak it up and give thanks for it. And yet, I know it’s time He provided and your post reminded me to remember this time is not my own. What does He want me to do with it? There’s a huge thought I have about what He wants me to do with the freed up time, and I need to be obedient with the prompting. This *could* be an in-between time for my husband and me…to steal away moments when our son is busy just-for-us…before we have another to raise someday, if God wills. And so…we never know what tomorrow will bring, and we are to set aside our plans and seek His.
I love this. I don’t say the prayer you shared enough. Thank you for the reminder.
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
This is so excellent. With seven kiddos ranging from 15 years to 15 months, I still have to squeeze groceries in between a cartful of kiddos, and nope, haven’t actually enjoyed an entire cup of coffee before it goes stone-cold, in a decade & a half.
And yet – even in this stage of overwhelming, constant demands, I need to hear the convicting truth that my time is not my own. This wild & crazy windstorm of life is just as it should be…and I need to release my own stiff-necked-control, to bend with the blowing wind!
Thanks, Christine –
Christine- Thanks for the reminder. I am often challenged by the idea that everything is the Lord’s- my time, body and resources. It is so easy to forget and think- This is my _______ rather than asking Lord what do you want me to do today with the opportunities and blessings that you have given me. Then it becomes an act of faith- that if I do what the Lord requires of me, to trust that He will meet my needs and will help me by strengthening me and providing what I need.
Thanks for your words, Christine. What a great reminder to cherish the time I have now with little ones at home and not waste it away wishing for the next season of life!
I loved this post. 🙂 Thank you so much for the gentle reminder. I’m still in the baby years, and it sounds like it’s a good question to be asking myself (and the Lord) even as *I* dream of those six hours!
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[…] Just a Stage…or is it?: By Christine Hoover I always thought that all my work and sacrifice in the baby years meant that I would “earn” and […]
Ah, such a timely reminder! My youngest goes off to kindergarten 2-3 days a week this fall and I’ve been wondering how best to fill the days. Thank you for the reminder to pray about how God would have me spend the time!