Dear “Beginning of the Journey Mom I Used To Be”,

I know it is loud there on that living room floor, with Dora the Explorer singing from the TV and toy trucks honking and the baby crying. I know you feel like your ears are bleeding but please lean in closely so I can whisper a secret to you… Ready? Here it is; Today, the stakes aren’t that high.

Please hear these words with my upmost love and compassion. Don’t believe the isolating lie that no one gets it or understands. Believe me, I do. Remember, I was you on that floor with those tinies crawling all over me, counting down the hours until Daddy got home. Please let those words encourage you, take a weight off, open you up to joy rather than wall you in behind defensiveness. The stakes really aren’t that high today.

Oh, I know you have read the books and prepared diligently for this season. I know you want so badly to do it right. I know you desire to lay an intentional foundation. And believe it or not, all of that puts you way ahead of the game! But nap schedules, homemade baby food, potty training, and pre-school waiting lists are not high stakes. Right now they feel like it because it is all you can see. These little people are your whole world, mostly because you haven’t found a sane way to leave the house in 3 months, I know. So, do it well but know that none of us did it perfectly “right.” Buy “Your Baby Can Read” and puree the squash if you want to, but remember that just because your toddler has a “No!” kind of day, does not mean they will be delinquent teenagers or dead beat adults. Relax. Today will not make or break their whole lives. You can screw up a little. You can put the books down for a bit. It’s ok not to love everyday. It’s ok if your kid picks their nose or lisps or still wakes up in the middle of the night. The stakes aren’t that high.

My hope is, that in writing you this letter, somewhere “End of the Journey Mom I Will Be” is dropping “Middle of the Journey Mom I Am Today” a note with the exact same message. That though they may feel crushing, today the stakes aren’t that high. That from where she is standing youth sports drama, floundering middle school grades, sullen teenage attitudes, and endless sibling bickering will not be the end of us. That his success or failure in life does not hinge on a 6th grade math test. That the graciousness she may not display at 13 will find it’s way into her life again. That when I mess it all up and cry in front of them because I can’t break up another fight, they will still see a flickering of Jesus’ heart for them in me anyway. Please tell me the stakes aren’t that high today!

My guess is that “End of the Journey Mom I Will Be” is dealing with things like in-law kids, fledgling careers, and financial decisions that feel much more weighty. Will she still be holding on for dear life or will she have learned these lessons by then? Will she willingly trade “right” for “well” and be able to see it all for what it is, just one more stop along the journey rather than the edge of a cliff? Oh, I hope so! Because, whether it is potty training, report cards, or wedding plans, the answer is the same in each season.

See, the stakes can either bury us with their pressure or be released into the hands of our “Eternal in Every Journey Father.” It’s the only way we will survive motherhood, our only hope to hold onto the joy of it. He sees the end from the beginning and believe it or not, He loves these kids of ours, at 2 or 42, even more than we do, their mothers! He takes our hands as we hold theirs and whispers this into our bleeding ears, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault and it will be given to you.” James 1:5. Claim that, Mamma, and watch those stakes crumble before your faithful Father. He is above every stake, from Target tantrums to SAT’s to marriage crises.
So, “Beginning of the Journey Mom I Used to Be,” let’s say this mantra together like we both believe it: “Today, the stakes aren’t that high,” knowing that, in fact, they are eternal. But we only hold eternity in our frail Mamma hearts, while He holds it in His hands. Let’s lean on Him and the wisdom He wants to give us GENEROUSLY in every season. And, “End of the Journey Mom We Will Be,” we’re coming for you! Tell us there is some peace and quiet on the other side? Maybe a nap? Mostly just tell us that there are a bunch of happy (adult) kids who love Jesus and each other? That they reflect His light to this world? That know their Mammas loved them every step of the way? Tell us that today the stakes aren’t that high.

Hang in there,