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A Day

A Day

It had been a DAY.

In fact, it had been a string of long days. Phases of a two-year-old, four-year-old, and seven-year-old had culminated into the perfect storm and it seemed each one had the issues of a titanic. Temper. Stubborn. And bossy. I’d hit at least 80% of the never-would-I-ever-do-as-a-mother vows in one day. Control I should have had dissipated into the reality of spilled milk and dramatic melt downs. I felt like a failure as a mom and worried that the next Bonnie and Clyde were living under my tutelage.

“Thank you Jesus for whoever invented the bed,” I breathed as my back relaxed against the pressure of the mattress. My feet ached, my head pounded, but worse, my heart sorrowed. It hurt for the shortness. I’d fallen so far from the mark. I’d lost my temper. I’d said words. I’d pulled a little arm too hard. I’d seethed inwardly against the littlest loves of my heart.

And I felt rotten.

It comes back to me now, twenty-some years later. My daughter stands in front of me. A four-year-old straddles her hip. It had been a hard day. A homeschool-teacher-mother kind of really bad day, when roles collided, and punishment given accomplished zero sort of a day. Through my adult daughter’s beautiful features, I still see a little girl inside, and something within soars.

“Look at you,” I want to say. “You are molding a soul, and it reaches into eternity. It is beyond what you see. What you do is significant. It is change-the-world big.”

My daughter wants concrete solutions, clear direction, but sometimes renewed parental vision comes from squinting far ahead into what can’t yet be seen. I want her to learn the discipline of looking far ahead.

And this is what I want to say.

“Don’t be blinded by what you see. This is just a piece of something much bigger.”

  • Spiritual trumps physical. From Genesis to Revelation Scripture pounds an overarching theme. Spiritual importance dwarfs physical or material. Our third daughter is quadriplegic. Her health is precarious. She can’t run after her children or pick up after them, but she has abundant life. She is a great mother because she understands what is truly important.
  • Eternal trumps temporal. When we stand before Christ, the Legos littering the floor, teddy bear in the toilet and the mismatched clothes are just not going to matter. If a line marked all of time as far to the left and as far to the right as sight could see, this moment, this time of motherhood is just a razor thin blip. But, it is a blip of eternal significance. The rest is just stuff and dried green beans on high chairs.
  • Unseen trumps seen. It is hard not to see a mountain of tennis shoes sitting on chunks of mud by the front door or the coats piled on the couch. It is reality. But there is an even greater reality. Jesus is present—in this house and in this room.  He watches, He cares, and He loves.
  • The daily grind is really a process of moving children toward becoming independent Christ followers.

“But Mom,” she asks, “What does it look like?”

“It looks like life.”

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:7 ESV).

I reach out and grab the little body leaning off her hip with his hands outstretched toward me. I swing him from her side to mine. We bump foreheads. We laugh. His eyes lock deep into mine and he bumps again.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at

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