Today's guest post is by Shannon Milholland
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.Luke 2:19
“Don’t lift anything over ten pounds,” my doctor advised. She might as well have told me to run a marathon two weeks post-partum. They had equal likelihood of occurrence. My fourth daughter birthed via C-section was welcomed into a home with two competitive dancers, a toddler who didn’t toddle and a well-traveled father. Unless my daughters were headed for a four week sabbatical from life in which they waited on me like a princess, I would routinely lift more like 25 pounds.
This season was difficult. I was stationed at the dance school nursing my newborn while my toddler crawled to and played in the public toilets. Our school wasn’t “flash” dance. Chasing her while nursing wasn’t an option. I ended each day so weary my hair felt tired.
|My Four Cuties - Hayleigh as Winter, Hannah as
Spring, Clara as Fall and Carynne as Summer
One arduous day blurred into the next. It’s difficult to treasure the moments when you can’t even keep track of the days. In a few breaths, six months passed. Halloween 2007 was the one and only year I successfully talked my kids into dressing in coordinating costumes as the four seasons.
Something shifted in my heart as I saw a year wrapped in a single day. I could allow my life to continue to pass me by or I could become intentional with my earthly treasures. Three habits filled my treasure chest.
Prayers of Blessing
During this season I read the Old Testament in its entirety for the first time. Generations of kings passed. Remarkably little was noted about many of these rulers but one thing stood out – their mothers were named alongside their designation as either a good or bad king.
I thought of the fathers of our faith – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The blessing was essential to the future of the family. Not trapped in ancient Israel, I could choose a blessing for all of my children.
I began a habit of praying a blessing over my children individually out loud. I thanked God for the gifts He’d given each one, for His incredible plan for their lives and His special purpose in their creation. Those words punctuated my daughter’s lives with meaning and my days with a vision of not where we are but where we could be.
Grains of Gratitude
“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I was great at giving thanks when all was well but lacked practice in giving thanks in all circumstances. This mom’s heart desired God’s will and part of His plan included my heart filled with gratitude.
I offered little grains of gratitude throughout my day. I thanked God for the abundance of my laundry because it equaled the number of my blessings. I chose joy instead of frustration when I was short on sleep and long on inconvenience.
These grains of gratitude started small but quickly added up. Soon I had a whole storehouse of reasons to thank God. This new habit had changed my heart.
Whispers of Wonder
Parenting is filled with moments of wonder-accomplishments, wisdom from little lips, a daily march toward womanhood. I began to mark these moments in my mind and during my time with God. I sealed in my heart what no camera could capture – the wonder of walking with God as a parent and whispering to Him my delight.
Sharing these simple moments with the One who made them possible opened my eyes. Soon I had more reasons to whisper, more occasions to wonder. My whispers of wonder calmed the crazy in me.
Today my treasure chest overflows. The daily deposits of blessing, gratitude and wonder have smoothed my parenting road. Instead of panic from turmoil I ponder from treasure. I still have days when a mommy meltdown threatens but now I have a place for my heart to run in the aftermath.
I wonder about you. Do long days of parenting deplete your good mommy manners? Is the mommy-hood a place of disappointment? I understand. Today let’s treasure together…
Shannon is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary living. She finds joy among piles of laundry and miles of carpools and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. She recently wrote the free 30 day prayer guide PrePrayed: Preparing for Life’s Events. She is also the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine where she shares her arsenal of secrets about how to be successful in the sometimes intimidating world of social media. As a speaker, Shannon is straight forward about her own struggles. She is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the life of her audience with a message of hope and encouragement. When not writing she enjoys her favorite job of wife to Scott and mom to four daughters from preschool to high school.