While new mothers may scour child-rearing books for words of wisdom in facing their new challenges, Ecclesiastes is my go-to book. I especially like King Solomon’s words of wisdom in chapter 3:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Those words came to mind the other day as my husband and I were “forward planning.” As we talked about the future, our conversation morphed into the discussion of how fast time was passing and how quickly our grandchildren were growing up.
“Just think, in a little over seven years I’ll be teaching another of our girls how to drive,” I said. He gave a little shutter.
“What’s the big deal? I’ve taught four others.”
Bill’s response brought the reality check. “But you weren’t sixty-six years old.”
“By the time Isaac becomes a teenager, we’ll be seventy years old,” he said. “That makes us close to eighty when he graduates high school.”
His math began to freak me out. Even now as I ponder these facts, the overall picture of the future is too over whelming. I can’t fathom how we will handle all the responsibilities and challenges that will arise while raising two children at this stage of our life. There are just too many unknowns in the equations.
So I choose to focus on the present and the constants.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Peter reminds me to “Cast all your anxiety on him (Jesus) for he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7
Consequently, my forward-planning is changing. It’s shrinking. Last year our focus was to get through the school year. That’s when physical custody was to be reevaluated. It was. Nothing had changed. Although we have no idea what the future holds for us, it’s apparent we will be caring for the children for many years.
I have to be honest. I didn’t think it would be so hard. I was wrong. It is.
My plan to cope is two-pronged. One—narrow my focus. I will make vague plans for the distant future but my largest time span to plan out is one to two months. I have many good days but some days it takes all my efforts to just make it through the day and I plan by the hour. I used to wake up and calculate the hours ‘til nap time. Isaac doesn’t nap any more, so now the question of the day is, “How many hours ‘til bedtime?”
Two—find joy in everyday life. More than once we’ve joked, “It’s a good thing you’re cute.” And they are. They are talented and funny and love bear hugs, tickles and kisses. When I look at them as the treasure then are, the future is not so scary.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets freaked out by the reality of the future. What it that reality for you? What is your plan and method to cope?
My prayer: Father God, thank you for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. It is the stabilizing constant in my life. Help me to focus on the joys of raising our grandchildren and leave the future in your loving hands.