“Mommy, Swing with me”
Remembering when I was too stressed out to rest
By Laura Grace
How well I remember a summer day, long ago, when my children were ages 7 and 4.
We were at a park in Washington State, and I can still see myself juggling my purse, snacks, half a bottle of soda, car keys, and who knows what else.
We pulled up in the parking lot and my daughter ran full blast toward the playground. “Carolee wait,” I hollered, cringing as I saw a car pull into the parking lot.
My mom-brain was running full blast, eager to protect her from things like, well, cars that might drive too fast in the parking lot.
I was (and am) a committed Christian, taking my children to church every week, praying with them at night, trying to keep my husband happy, shopping on a budget, striving to become more virtuous, and reading books about how to organize my closet more efficiently.
I was attending bible studies, working part-time, and ran full-blast trying to have healthy meals on the table, send out thank you cards when needed, and remember everyone’s birthday on time. In other words, I was striving to do it all, and do it well.
I remember well I had a friend who said to me; “We have to strive to enter the Kingdom of God.” She was a go-getter, and new to Christianity like I was, at the time. She had leadership qualities, so I looked up to her.
I’m not sure she noticed Hebrews 4 which says, “Enter my rest.” PS (God was saying, “Settle down girl, or you’ll mess yourself up. Enter my rest (well-being found in him.)
So, on that great summer day, now so far away in my mind, I saw nothing wrong with what I was doing, which was, deliberately not resting, or enjoying myself! I needed to be vigilant! The devil prowls like a roaring Lion, you know?
I was so busy being VIGILANT I forgot to Rest.
I really thought I had to help God get everything done. I really thought if I rested, I was slacking, or not striving to “enter in” To the Kingdom. Goodness, talk about misunderstanding one word! (and how it can mess us up!) I was upset about this, and that, and the other thing and all the problems I “needed to solve.” right now.
I’m a Grandma now, and I’ve learned how to rest. I can sit and smile, look at the smudged faces of my grandchildren, and delight in every word they say without worrying they will grow up to be horrible people. And yes part of it is because my children have grown up, and they are quite obviously NOT horrible people.
This is not all because of my age, however. A few years ago, the Spirit of God arrested me, and reminded me of that day. “You only have memories of stress, He said, and now that day is gone forever.”
It is gone. I can still see my kids playing, and having fun, but I remember I did not have fun that day, and “come on mommy, swing with us” fell on deaf stressed-out ears. I can never retrieve that day.
Take it from an old war horse Christian and grandma; I can honestly tell you, there is nothing so urgent that you can’t take a few minutes to swing with your children, who are going to need those happy memories with you someday.