With just a few minutes to spare, I was proud of myself for getting ready on time. I grabbed the sweater that went great with my outfit. The sweater was necessary. It was much too cold to wear just the short-sleeved shirt that perfectly matched one of the blues in the sweater. But as I put one arm through and swung it around my back, I caught a whiff of something. It triggered something in my brain. It wasn’t a recent memory, but a flashback, a 30-year-old memory. I know that smell. It’s the aroma of baby spit up. It must be on my sweater. Oh no, now what? I don’t have time to pick out another outfit.
Don’t panic. I have a lot of blue in my wardrobe. There has to be something I can grab. I’m gonna be late. The shirt with the tiny dot…no, too much denim in one outfit. The flannel…no, I’ve worn that a lot lately. A jacket maybe: too dressy, too summery, too office-y. Tick Tock. Wait, that heather blue cardigan with the long front. Where did I put it?
In my mind I am a 20-something-year-old mom again, rushing around on a Tuesday morning, trying to get to Bible study on time and find something to wear that doesn’t reek of spit up. But the reality is, I’m Mom-mom, the spit-up is compliments of my grandson, and I need to get myself to his house in exactly 25 minutes, so his mom can get to work on time. Out the door I fly, arriving at his house exactly when I’m supposed to be there, which is five minutes after I should be there. I get my instructions and schedule from my daughter-in-law, kiss my granddaughter goodbye, and they are gone. I sit down with Sam, and there’s that smell again.
I haven’t missed that smell. It’s funny that all baby spit up smells the same. Many of you are smelling it right now – either in person or in your memory. I play with Sam for about an hour, then it’s back to mom mode. Pack up the diaper bag, bottle, spit-up diaper, car seat, and my stuff. Drag it all to the car, and off we go. Drag it all into the church and settle down for the next hour and a half, hoping Sam doesn’t need too much attention so I can stay in the room and hear the teaching.
He does great. Sleeps through the first hour. Eats, plays, smiles at the ladies, and then spits up all over my heather blue cardigan, avoiding the area covered by the spit-up diaper with the precision of a trained marksman. I’ll try to remember to throw this one right into the wash when I get home tonight.
This seemed easier 30 years ago. It didn’t hurt my back as much to haul all their gear. I don’t remember grunting and groaning quite so much then. But just like those days came and went in a flash, so will these. They may require a few more chiropractor appointments, but they will be gone too soon nonetheless.
I know that for many young moms I have described their life, every day, not just once or twice a week, but all day, every day. And for them, these days can drag on, especially when you just get one child to be fairly independent and another one comes along, and so on. You may have forgotten what it’s like to simply get dressed without sniffing your clothes and head out the door with just a purse on your shoulder. Between family devotions, memory verses, and bedtime bible stories, you have no time for personal growth. What does God think of your lack of time for him?
I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me when I was in that stage of life. You are doing exactly what he designed you to do. That is the definition of glorifying God – doing the thing he designed you to do. The heavens declare the glory of God, not by doing anything outside of what they were designed to do, just by doing what he created them to do. As you go through different stages of life, you may discover new things he has for you to do. But right now, as a mom of young children, all the energy you expend in caring for them is what he has called you to do, so when you do that, you are glorifying him. So, wipe up that spit up, change that diaper, play a few more minutes of peek-a-boo all to the glory of God.
And, ladies, it is OK to pray very short, heartfelt prayers, like: “Father, help.” It’s also a good season of life to develop an attitude of continuous prayer – something I’ll be teaching about tomorrow at Ladies Bible Study. That’s just a coincidence, I’m sure.