Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Do You Have Any Time for YOU?

An acquaintance sent us an e-mail today, which opened with the following lines, "How is the photography and music going? I wonder how you have time for your passions when you are a parent..."  These expressions were then followed by a message appealing for support, as this single person desired to go to work with a specific ministry in another country.  Others have also inquired if I still do "this" or if I have time for "that" anymore...basically, if I have time for myself.  I have actually been asked a few times, "Do you have any time for YOU?"  And, when I respond that I really don't have extra time for much else, during this season of life with young children, I am usually given a sad expression of pity, in return, as if to say "that's too bad" or "what a shame."

But, I don't feel sorry for myself, nor would I have anyone else do so.  I will admit that, the more children I have, the less time I have for former "passions," especially while my children are very young.  And, now that we are expecting our fourth child, my focus has to narrow even more.  Actually, my family and raising my children have become a main passion in this season on my life, and rightly so.  It just isn't possible to do everything we might like and still give 100% to everything.  If becoming a parent requires no sacrifice of time, if it requires no sacrifice of previous interests or passions to some degree, then what is it really?  It has to require something of us, especially if it is done with a right heart, as unto the Lord, being faithful stewards of the little lives God has entrusted to us.
Dave with our little loves on Valentine's Day last month.

While my husband Dave still does his architectural photography, mostly during his time away from home, we have shut down our portrait photography business, as of a few months ago, during this busy season of our lives raising young children and now homeschooling them.  Something had to go, for now.  I am still able to do some music, but it is either with my family or playing at church weekly; not nearly as much as I used to do music and hardly any creating of my own music.  Mainly, this is due to time available and priorities now, which have shifted.  Do I have regrets in this?  Absolutely not.  Do I desire to do more music again in the coming years?  Of course! 

As the keeper of our home, in addition to raising my children and caring for their needs, I am responsible for preparing our meals and for cleaning our home, and we do not have a nanny nor a maid.  Many days, I fail to even find time to fold any of the laundry I've washed and dried, much less to sit and compose a musical masterpiece.  Perhaps I could hire a maid and send my children off to a preschool or public school and hire a daycare or sitter to watch the younger ones regularly, so that I might still have time for my former passions; but, that might also require me to work outside of my home, in order to have extra money to pay for those things.  (And, in writing this, I am in no way passing judgement on any other parent who does any of these things, because I realize we all have our own unique circumstances, which may necessitate different situations for different people; and, whether or not you have contributed to those circumstances and whether or not they are beyond your control is between you and God.)  As for me, however, I believe my calling now is to greatly invest my time and energy and resources into these little lives, these "disciples," who are far more important than any other secondary passion I ever had, all as unto the Lord, and this requires my time and availability with them to do so daily.

Our children on a typical winter morning...

Some single people or even married adults without children may not fully understand these things, but here is my one message to you.  When you address a parent in this manner, please understand that having a child is literally life-changing, and our children mean the world to us.  They are precious gifts, for whom we would absolutely postpone any interests and passions, even for whom we would lay down our very lives.  When you attempt to value the gifts of someone's children, as those parents may see their children, that is when you really start to understand the heart of a parent. 

We have the privilege of seeing the ultimate heart of a parent in God Almighty, because not only did He create the universe and each of us, but He is also our Heavenly Father, if we have come to know Him personally through His Son Christ Jesus.  We understand His heart better when we value and love His children.  In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  Value and love the children of your friends, without questioning if those friends should be "following their dreams" or "pursuing their passions."  God will guide us each in the most appropriate passions and dreams, as life unfolds around us, and many times those include our family and children, who are gifts and blessings to be celebrated.


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