Have you ever heard a tale of an old miser who died in his little hovel and no one ever knew he was rich? I’ve heard this tale and a few years ago, a neighbor of my parents died in a rundown home (later demolished) and it was discovered he had a good chunk of land and money.  He had no family, no friends, and spent nothing.  He died and he couldn’t take it with him.

Right now you’re wondering why in the world I am writing this?  Let’s face it, for most of us in the midst of raising babies, the problem of too much money to spend is not ours.

I have parented through cultural swings.  Once strollers were popular, now carriers.  Homeschooling was on the outs, now it is gaining in popularity.  Fads, even in families and parenting,  swing.  Once it was popular to enroll children in every possible activity.  It is becoming increasingly more popular to stay home, do less, have unstructured time.  I love this trend.  I think families need to focus on families and grow strong, making the unit a priority.  However, I would strongly encourage balance.  And, moreover, some folks just use it as an excuse to just not do things.

My point?  Don’t hoard your energy and time.  Unlike money, if you store it up, you won’t have more.  Pour out your energy, your hard work, your time.  Don’t resent spending it on those you love.  No!  Lavish these things on your children, your husband, your neighbor.  Spend as much as you can afford.

Mindfully, there is balance.  We are called to care for our homes so that our family can enjoy their home time as well.  This is not a blessing to spend time gallivanting about while dishes sit in your sink.  No, this is not that.  It is a simple reminder to get out and do good things unto others.

On a personal note, this is quite the turnabout for me.  We were homebodies for much of the first half of our homeschooling career.  Perhaps that was best – right where I needed to be with oh so many littles!  But, as our oldest got older, I regretted that she did not have a circle of beloved friends to spend time with.  Those friendships are worth investing in – a Lego club, or a Trail Life group, a chess club, or an outdoor day.  My oldest son has a few close friends that make his life richer.  He prays for them, they pray for him, they play, they laugh, they talk.

This year, as I am facing my own unique set of hurdles, we allowed our fifteen year old to plan more things than ever… Mock trial, the play, science class, assistant teaching Spanish, choir.  I have been encouraged to save my energy, guard my time.  I do think there is value in this advice.  But as I think past more than this month, this year, I know these friendships nurtured, will sustain her and nourish her as a young adult.  They have great value.

I think, like money, we should spend our time and energy WISELY, but it is completely acceptable and worthwhile to spend it liberally on good things.  To more define “good” – to spend our time, energy, ministry, on those things that bring glory and honor to the Lord.  These friendships, these kids, they honor the Lord.  The choir sings praise to our King.  I have seen these kids earnestly pray together before Mock, and develop the ability to stand fast and speak boldly.

Personally, I am being encouraged by others to do less this year.  Chided, “Save your energy.”  For what?  If I save it will I have more later?  If I hoard my hours will they turn into days? Will the saved days turn into weeks?  Can I tack those onto the end of my life?

This morning as I struggled with the question of balance, choosing to do more when I could certainly do less, one of the children brought me bits of an eggshell.  Each year swallows visit our home, build a nest in our entry above our door, and raise a family.  This year the little couple are raising a second set of babies.  Today was hatching day for one of them.  As I looked at that shell, I wondered if Mama Swallow was mindful of how short her time would be with her nestlings?  Did she know in a mere three weeks her tiny babies would fly out of the nest on their own?

As humans, we get far longer than three weeks with our own children.  But spend that time mindfully.  It will not be long before they teeter at the edge of the nest, uncertain of their own wings, but stretching them in preparation of flying.

I am incredibly blessed in this disease.  It does serve well to force mindfulness.

I wake up in the morning and the very minute I get out of bed, I reach for the door by my bed to steady myself.  Good balance is something sorely missed early in the AM.  It’s a bit like being a landlubber on a rocking ship.   Straight away the leg is stiff and I am reminded that those first steps forward are going to be quite the chore.

In that moment, I am very much reminded of my own weaknesses.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   It is not, wholly, that I would not wish this to be lifted from me.  I would.  However, His grace is made apparent in my weakness.

Lamentations 3:18-24
So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope:
Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

It amazes me, truly amazes, how affliction inspires adoration.

 

Save time?  No.  Save energy? No.  I’ll save nothing.   I will pour out every ounce of my love, energy, and time into this family.