A few weeks back, we decided to take a family road trip to Ikea. Yea, the furniture store. It’s about an hour away, and of course, by the time we got the car loaded with all the kids, it was peak traffic time on a Friday… but we decided to live on the edge!
So we get to Ikea, and wander around the maze of rooms, try out the couches and arguing about table sizes. Everyone’s highlight was the food stop- and all in all, we had a successful trip, until the last 5 minutes.
Before making the drive back, I asked my kids if they needed to use the bathroom. Of course, the resounding answer was “Yes!” So, I schlepped my four kids to the bathroom. This bathroom smelled particularly bad, as bathrooms often do, and my kids started rioting. My four year old cried and said she couldn’t go to the bathroom because the smell was so bad. Meanwhile, I’m wearing a baby in a carrier, and supervising two other kids in different stalls, with a child who was hysterical. Onlookers were watching me with a sneer; as if I’d personally abducted these kids and was making sure they used the bathroom before loading them into a windowless van.
Anyway, we made it out of the bathroom and began our 100 yard walk to the car where my husband was waiting for us. With tired and cranky kids who refused to use the bathroom, every foot felt like a mile. They began fighting over who would hold my hand- two mom hands, and three children walking can be an earthshaking devastation, especially when you’re two.
As my second youngest began to melt down in front of the check-out registers, I began to melt down too.
"WHY did I think it was a good idea to come here? Why did I think it was a good idea to have so many kids!?!?” I thought to myself.
As my thoughts spiraled downward, the Holy Spirit interjected, “They’re arrows, not shackles.”
The words took me by surprise, especially in my negativity, but I knew it was a reference to Psalm 127:
The section reads:
Motherhood is filled with moments like our trip to Ikea. One minute everything is fine, the next minute three kids are crying for three different reasons, and I can only attend to one thing at a time. I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing- ever. But, I’m thankful for a God who does know what He’s doing so I don’t have to. Somedays it looks like taking baby steps to make it out of the store and into the car, and other days run much more smoothly, but God knows what He’s doing in each moment. He doesn’t worry when someone acts out, or misbehaves, because He sees the bigger picture and a brighter plan for their futures- and yours too!
Happy Mother’s Day!
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.