Time for Hope

Time for Hope

After just one year of marriage, Jeff and I had 3 kids in 31 months.  Let that sink in…three kids in 31 months.  We were facing all the issues that go with 3 children under 3 years of age, and my first time as a stay-at-home mom; kids, money, domestic duties, and sex.  Goodnight.  I was tired and, admittedly, I felt some trepidation about the possibility of getting pregnant again.

Of course, this season of children in diapers passed just to usher in another season.  A few years ago, I told Jeff, “The kids are out of the house; our top issues are gone.”

Most of the time you cannot hurry a season.  It takes time.  Marriage takes work, and often we have to persevere through some of the seasons of our lives.  Hopefully, we come out of these seasons having learned something or gained insight into ourselves and our spouses.

Recently, I posted on Facebook about a memory of a season of my life.

My daughter just sent me Jen Hatmaker’s post “It’s Valentine’s Day, and I am supposed to be happy and grateful for love and loved ones…” Raquel knows that I don’t think of love and such on this day. I think of the torture of getting all 3 of my kids to get their valentines and boxes ready for their classmates and especially the torture of getting my oldest son to write “From Brandon” for 25 kids in his class. I felt like I was watching a nature video of a sloth. Here’s the thing: I was a teacher. I couldn’t buy a stamp, print stickers, or God forbid, sign the cards myself! My kids had to LEARN from their school activities. My kids are out of the house, and I see those little Valentine’s cards at the grocery store, and I still get a little anxious. Raquel, when the time comes, sign Lucy’s name or print a sticker with her name on it, and eat some Valentine’s candy.

I sent this post to my son Brandon, and he sent me a text saying, “For what it’s worth, I didn’t learn much from that activity.  My handwriting is pretty much identical now.”

I told him, “Definitely, a parenting do-over.”

Obviously, I can’t do over my parenting of my kids, but I have learned about having unrealistic expectations for them and about being too hard on myself.  In the midst of some of the most difficult seasons, I have found comfort in Ecclesiastes 3,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

These words are pretty comprehensive in describing seasons we experience. Also, there is the promise in verse 11, which gives me hope, “ He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Hope is what Jeff and I desire to give couples at our marriage retreats.  Jesus as our third strand in our marriage provides us hope.