I was reading through some of the Proverbs and this verse stuck out at me.
Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Proverbs 14:4 NKJV
And it made me think of how life is with kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to compare my lovely children to large farm animals that tend to have a strong odour and can pick their noses with their tongues (though there may be some similarities….)
It’s a lot easier to keep a house clean if you don’t have any kids following behind you, expertly undoing your cleaning. There are few circumstances more frustrating than spending the whole day cleaning and then to look around at the end of the day and you can’t tell.
My trough isn’t clean. It’s rarely even tidy for more than a few hours at a time, and those hours tend to be when the kids are sleeping.
But the increase in my life. Oh, the increase.
How can one even describe the increase in her life that’s gained by having children?
The cuddles and snuggles. The knowledge that God chose me..plain, ordinary, sinful me, to parent His beloved children. The humility that comes with a child’s simple honesty. The sweet clean smell of a freshly bathed infant. The first time your child smiles at you or reaches his arms out to you. The realization that I can’t do this on my own; I need God’s help. And then, the realization of how God has been helping me all along.
This is just a grain of sand compared to the blessings children bring to a home.
No, it’s not all easy and fun. Sometimes I want to rip my hair out and I’m counting the minutes to bedtime (and then I cheat, and send the kids to bed a bit early.) I’m not the mom I thought I would be. I struggle more than I envisioned.
But the tantrums will fade as the children get older. The kids won’t always bicker (or at least, they’ll be able to settle things themselves more frequently.)
And as the children get older, they become more helpful…kind of like oxen.
So Mama, if you’re weary and worn down, if you’re tired of looking at the mess and dirty dishes that pile up more quickly than you can keep up, or if you haven’t yet started a family and are torn between the desire for children and the horror stories of Moms you know who only have negative things to say about parenthood and raising children, I hope that this will encourage you.
It’s not easy, but the increase in our lives as parents cannot be measured. May the Lord guide you and comfort you and encourage you. May he fill you with energy and love and peace.
Lord, You will establish peace for us,
For You have also done all our works in us.