But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying. Luke 9:45
You know you’re in a tough stretch of motherhood when you catch your kids lying several times in the same week. The things my kids did weren’t all that bad: just your usual pushing-the-boundary actions. I even had to pretend I was upset to maintain those boundaries.
Where I didn’t have to pretend was when they lied about what they did. Each time I caught them it was like a blow to my heart. I began to take it personally: like each lie was a betrayal of the time, love and energy I’ve spent teaching them right from wrong. By the third lie, the blow felt more like a knife; and it cut me wide open.
I thought I went into this motherhood thing with my eyes wide open. I thought I had learned so much from watching my siblings raise their kids. I thought I was more prepared than I find I really am.
I wonder how many of us would actually have had kids if we knew all the nitty-gritty details of parenthood upfront? Wasn’t it astounding how uncomfortable it was being pregnant in those final weeks? And how painful giving birth was? And no matter how many books we read, nothing could ever prepare us for how difficult those early years were with just snippets of sleep here and there. And how about the monotony of feedings, diaper changes, laundry, rinse, repeat?
Then there were the toddler temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, bullying at school, extra curricular mania, and the down and dirty day-in/day-out challenges unique to us all.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of the heartache that comes with raising teens. I’m just putting my toe in that water. I don’t even know the majority of the future challenges that will pull me under, make me feel like I’m drowning. When I look at the big picture of it all, I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.
In Luke, Chapter 9, Jesus is trying to tell his disciples He is going to be turned over to His enemies to be crucified. Not only did they not understand what he was saying, but “its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it.” The passage goes one step further and says they were afraid to even ask Him what He meant. This triple blindness is like playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey: when we make kids close their eyes, blindfold them, and then spin them around. After that, there’s almost no chance they’re ever going to pin that tail where it’s supposed to go.
But life isn’t a game. God has a purpose and a reason for everything.
He knew that if the disciples realized upfront all the details of Jesus’ final days on earth, they would have been too overwhelmed to follow Him. They needed to know Jesus first, learn from Him, and feel His love. Once that foundation of mutual love was built, God could then let the details unfold one at a time. Even with that foundation being so solid, most still abandoned Jesus at the end.
God also knew that if He revealed all the difficult parts of parenthood to us upfront, some of us might have been too overwhelmed to chose this journey. Yes, if we hadn’t, we’d have been spared all the struggles and pain that go along with it.
But we also wouldn’t experience the heart stopping wonder that parenthood is: love multiplied into a miraculous new life, joy so profound it radiates like the sun, and a purpose so deep we understand why we were placed on earth. That must have been how the disciples felt being with Jesus. It’s the motivation that keeps us all going, despite the hard stuff.
With time and prayer, my little family will make it through this lying phase. Then I’m sure we’ll get derailed again by the next challenge in our path, and then the next, and so on.
But I can’t look big-picture anymore or I’ll lose hope. Instead, I have to follow God’s lead, and just face each issue, one step at a time.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I look at the big-picture issues of parenthood upfront and get overwhelmed?
* If so, can I let go of the big picture and just face things as them come, one step at a time?