Spin Cycle

(Contributed by Sarah Richmond. Read about all our writers here.)

One of the countless reasons that parenting can be exhausting is the sheer range of emotions that are stuffed with each span of 24-hours. From squeals of tickled ribs to wails of wayward choices, emotions leave heavy marks by way of dark-circled eyes and aching hearts churning out prayers for wisdom. A friend once described parenting as looking into a mirror that magnifies all your best and worst qualities. One big, beautiful catastrophe. At the time I had yet to enter into parenthood, still the illustration stuck firm in my soul.

Now, several years and babies later, I hold a deep experiential understanding of what that seasoned parent was trying to convey. These mini people are just that, people–temporarily packaged pint-sized, but people all the same. And along with their people-ness comes people-ish character issues: short tempers, tears, belly laughs and let’s not forget the tears. Quite often this gamut of ALL THE FEELINGS plays out within a span of 13 minutes or less–tornadoes of emotions that catch up bystanders into the fray and hurl out hysteria in their path. And so life spins. The ups, the arounds, the downs. There are days flowing with sweet:

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And there are days when simply the business of waking up is far too unjust to carry on.

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In the parenting and in the living, those sweet days are savored and swallowed down quick, like lemonade on an August afternoon. But it is inside of the rough, tornadic times–the unjust potholes in our journey–where real growth can happen. Staring into the reflection of parenthood and seeing things I have never liked about myself on a child I am madly in love with offers an experience of unique clarity, conviction and ultimately (if chosen) the perspective needed to change. A broader vision awaits on the other side of that mirror- allowing me to speak, not scream over the noise; laugh (and grab the camera), not hide in my bathroom to cry, in the midst of this. Because if I pause, breathe, and let Wisdom calm the rising storm, I know before it’s time for second breakfast we could be right back around to the sweet.

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I see these giggles and goofy grins captured in one moment of a day’s thousand and my mind wanders ahead a few years. What memories, which of these hundreds of thousands of moments together, will stick when those giggles and tantrums are grown and off forging their own way? When my children are grown and find themselves staring into their own mirrors, into the eyes of their own babes, what will come flooding back? The question of it alone is just enough to keep me from weariness in the good-doing. Exhausted, yet energized with resolve, a little sore from whiplash, but hanging on with a smile as we spin.

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“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” -James 1:5 NASB

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9 NASB

Originally Published 2/23/2016

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