30 Seconds for Hope: Are you in the middle of some kid-induced troubles? Are you hoping those troubles will end soon? Well, I learned from a mentor mom that the end may not be what you think. I gained a realistic calibration from Lois Allen, and, ironically, her reality check bolstered my hopes by lowering my hopes! To keep your hope alive, beware of being sideswiped by unrealistic anticipations.
And now the full story:
Gem Number 5…
Still yawning from an early rise, I gathered with a handful of mothers in a friend’s living room. While eating coffee cake and drinking encouragement, we chatted, thrilled to have a break from our responsibilities. This early hour had been chosen so husbands could care for children before leaving for work.
I had arrived prepared, having read the assigned chapter in a marriage and family book. Now we settled into our group discussion and responded to the leader’s one and only question, “Well, what did you think?”
This group of lively talkers had no problem answering that question! Rambling from one thought to another, the discussion eventually turned to the multitude of problems we faced. Colicky babies. Un-potty-trained toddlers. Obstinate children.
Then Lois spoke up.
Lois, the only grandmother in the room.
Sweet Lois, who always smiled and seldom (never?) offended anyone.
“Well, ladies,” she slowly interjected. “I’m a grandmother now, and over the years I’ve realized that that you never totally get rid of problems in life.”
My ears perked into high alert. Lois had lived wa-a-a-y longer than I, and now she had something to say about a long-range view on problems. Time to listen!
“Yes, you never totally get rid of troubles. I’ve found that you just exchange one set of troubles for another. When your babies’ teeth finally come in, they might sleep through the night, but then you have the challenge of potty-training.”
That’s where I was right now. Potty-training stage. Oh yes, and a baby who was teething and didn’t sleep. I’d been waiting, hoping, to get past that!
“So eventually you get potty-training done, but then it’s time for them to start school and you face their fights over arithmetic. Eventually they make it to high school, but now they have boyfriend heartbreaks, or they run with a bad crowd, so you still have troubles and worries. In a few years your kids get married, and you might think your troubles are finally over, but just wait. You still worry because they’re not in your home, so you don’t know what’s happening with them. Plus now you have the challenge of how to relate to your grown children. And worries about how their kids are doing—who aren’t potty-trained yet.”
“So,” Lois concluded. “We never totally get rid of troubles. We just exchange one set of problems for another throughout life. The important thing is to learn to rest in God’s peace while we go through our troubles.”
She was done. I was pensive, thinking about this sage advice from a woman who had already been through the whole cycle. She had married children, and she knew.
She’d alerted me to a deception I’d believed that someday I could settle down into a peaceful, trouble free life. This heads-up helped me develop a more sensible attitude. Troubles can be faced and managed while looking for the positives to enjoy in each stage. And while resting in God’s promises.
Expect the “Troubles Exchange”—and then rest in the Lord.
Thank you, Lois!
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