One of my sweet daughters recently asked me for some of my favorite books on parenting ... she is desiring to learn all that she can as she mothers her young son. I remember how books were my lifeline during my years of mothering young children. I wanted to learn everything that I could in the new, and often overwhelming, venture of parenting. And I found some amazing women who had very helpful, inspiring insight.
Pulling four of my favorites off my bookshelf last night brought a whirl of memories to my mind and heart. And leafing quickly through one of the books, I saw something that caught my attention. I remember how a particular concept had helped my perspective through the busy, all-consuming years of parenting young children. Actually, I absolutely loved those years, but I remember that they were also ... "desert years".
The author of A Mother's Touch, Elise Arndt, says, "I call the early years of mothering the 'desert years'". I remember how I identified with that terminology at that stage of life. I loved having babies (and had six of them over 17 years!), and I love homemaking and having a big family ... but I identified with the author in experiencing the feeling of being in the "desert" during the years with young children.
There is so much dying to self, so much of giving up of other things that interest us ... as we consistently, faithfully, take the time to care for our little ones, loving them, and training them, teaching them things over and over again. Our young children need to be watched, cared for, and loved constantly, all through the day (and night!), and sometimes it can feel overwhelming.
And just as Moses was in the desert with God for many years in preparation for becoming the man that God could use for His purposes, so I was very aware that those years of being "in the desert" were also years where God trained and loved me, teaching me to depend on Him alone, giving me a deeper thirst for Him. I was thirsty in those desert years, and I learned more about where to go to have my thirst quenched.
What a lot of memories flooded my heart as I glanced quickly through those books last night. Precious years ... I miss them. And now, I am blessed to watch my daughters lovingly care for their little children ... and I see them learning and growing through their "desert years".