When I was what felt like 1,000 months pregnant with my oldest daughter Ella I was having a really hard time sleeping and could never get comfortable. Remember those days? I can still recall lying in my bed staring at the ceiling as tears started rolling down my cheeks thinking, “I guess this is it, I will never sleep again.” A short 18 months later I was lying in the same position but this time with a toddler snuggled up next to me, a bit more experience but still no comfortable position and not enough concealer in the world to cover up the dark circles under my eyes. I just kept thinking, “once I get Hannah sleeping through the night life will get easier.” Although it felt like those sleepless nights would last forever, they didn’t.
With two girls under the age of two, we were in survival mode. Feedings, diapers, tummy time, all the check-ups, achieving milestones, missing milestones, solid foods, potty training, oh the list goes on! While juggling working full time, being a mom, wife, friend, daughter…I remember thinking, “if we can just get them out of diapers life will get easier.” It wasn’t easy, believe me, but we got there.
At three months old, both girls went to daycare and I went back to work. It was hard, but I knew that it was what my family needed at the time. There was always some mom guilt that I wasn’t with them all day and some mom guilt when I didn’t feel the guilt because I enjoyed my job and it kind of felt like a break. As the girls got older and Ella started kindergarten life got a lot harder for me to manage, I wasn’t enjoying my job as much and I felt like I was missing out on a lot of things. I remember thinking, “if I could just quit my job and stay at home with the girls life will get easier.” The time did come when staying at home became a reality for me and it has been a blessing and something I try never to take for granted.
When I started getting a full night sleep, I realized I missed those sweet, quiet moments in the middle of the night with my babies. Once we got both the girls out of diapers, I missed the sound of the giggles that came from tickling their tummies while they lie on the changing table. There have been days since quitting my job that I miss the excitement of new product launch or presenting in front of customers. It’s been a little over five years since I quit my job and life isn’t easier it’s just different.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” I realized that rather than embracing the seasons of life that I was in, I was looking ahead to the next season thinking it would be easier or maybe even better. It’s hard sometimes to stop while we are in the middle of something hard, overwhelming, stressful or just straight up exhausting and appreciate it, maybe even learn some lessons from it. But once we understand that every season has a purpose, we can hopefully try and enjoy them more, even the hard ones. Ecclesiastes 3:22 (MSG) says “So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do – that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?”
I want to encourage each one of you today regardless of what season you are in that what you’re doing matters. Whether you’re out there earning a paycheck for your family, staying home taking care of your sweet kiddos, doing this life with a partner or on your own, in the middle of feedings and diaper changes, wrangling the terrible twos or riding the emotional roller coaster of the tween and teen years, you need to know that this season matters and do your best to keep your eyes focused there. You’re not in this alone, thank goodness!! 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Take it all to God regardless of your circumstance and choose joy because anything else will make life harder, not easier.
I leave you today with a quote from the great Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”