Just Keep Swimming

I love Finding Nemo, the hysterical, very quotable, all-time favorite cartoon kid’s movie. I don’t know what it is about that movie but it just makes my heart smile. Especially Dori…what a hoot!

I know that just may seem like an odd way to start a post, but Dori can really say some whoppers in her lines and her memorable, silly song of “Just keep swimming” often gets screeched out opera-style in our household when mommy is feeling especially goofy. The kids, of course, find it hysterical when I begin belting out her ludicrous, but funny words…well, maybe not so funny if it’s the middle of math time for some: sorry kids.

I was reminded of this wonderful quote while sitting in awe of all God continues to do in this household. Last night I obeyed a conviction The Lord is really developing in me to have at least one child working with me in the kitchen for dinner each night. I don’t do this often, or haven’t as of yet, because we have a smallish kitchen and tripping over one another is common practice. Also, I have not yet mastered the fine art of patience or calm speech with my children, and the thought of having them in there while trying to prepare a meal made my mind swirl.

But, God is calling me to it now. Thankfully some of the former distractions of my mind have been put to peace (I am now more comfortable in the kitchen, my son is more stable on his feet, and my husband is home for a while so I have some more balance in the home), so now is definitely a great time to begin working on this deliberate inclusion of them in another portion of the daily tasks of the home. And, last night marked the first occasion in a while of doing so, and boy, was I taken aback…my how these kids have grown!

It’s amazing how quickly it happens. One day you are tirelessly feeling like you are a broken record of repetition- “don’t touch that…here, eat this…don’t say that…slow down…speed up…be more careful with that, etc.”- and then it is like things suddenly begin to click. Tonight I had that experience with my two oldest girls, who are 7 and 8. My 7 year old was helping me make a gluten-free pizza crust while my 8 year old helped me make a no-dough pizza.

I was so incredibly pleased with both of their growth! My 7 year old was so very careful to accurately measure each teaspoon and quarter cup, etc that was called for in the recipe…likely even more careful than I am! She patiently scooped and answered my clarifications to help her answer her own questions as to if the spoon in her hand was the 1/2 tsp or 1/4 tsp. She did great! My oldest daughter nearly made the entire recipe all by herself, with only my oversight and help with scraping the sides of the mixing bowl. She even handled putting the dish into the oven and taking it out when the timer sounded. And, I could absolutely see the beaming confidence of accomplishment in both of their faces at a job well done.

For me, these were full circle moments. I was witnessing the dawn of the years of training that these girls had been receiving, and I am so very thankful. It was so centering to see the fruit of years of labor coming to pass where having them cook with me and watch me cook has now manifested into their capable little selves. What a joy!

It was not long ago that it felt like the intense training would never end. That the many years, the better part of the last decade for me, spent in the trenches of the little years would somehow last forever. But, no, they are coming to a close for the beginning of our brood. God has been faithful to bless what I have been sowing, even though I had doubts and fears that it would not be so. It is one thing to know cognitively that the time will pass and come to an end, but experience is a much more efficient teacher!

This is for the many of us moms in the trenches; the years when the most intense season of training, discipline, guidance, and protection is upon our shoulders as the parents of God’s next generation in this world. It is in these years that we help pave the way and set the stage of expectation for the lives of our children, and it is no small feat. Hang in there, mamas. Don’t lose heart or give up. Don’t get caught up in the moment and believe that it will never end. Don’t let Satan’s lies of defeat take hold. Believe in and cling to the promises of God. Galatians 6:9 has been a staple verse for me throughout these many long years;

Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.

I am not going to placate you and tell you, “you can do it!” Honestly, it’s a lie…we can’t do it, not in our own strength. I’m too weak, too easily irritated, too impatient, and too harsh to have ever been able to get through these years unscathed, but God is not. He is ever patient, ever quiet, ever loving, and ever strong to meet me in my darkest moments and give me the strength and wisdom to work out of the present trouble. And so too will He be faithful to help you in your daily and momentary troubles. Never lose hope, for we surely have a living God in whom we can have hope! And, in the words of my most beloved Dori, “Just keep swimming….”

3 thoughts on “Just Keep Swimming

    1. JulieFilter Post author

      You know, I am sure it is. As I continue to have more and more I recognize how young the younger ones really are but I had no idea with the first few. My husband and I were talking tonight about the fact that these years are not so hard because the kids are troublesome but because we are being grown and refined! We have to go through the hardship of unlearning all the lies and preconceptions of the culture regarding children, and then learn the truth through scripture and living application. We are still growing so I am sure our perceptions will continue to be refined as the years go by. I “know” they are still young, and I am so glad to take such delight in their sweet hearts even more now than ever, simply because God has grown me in this area. My kids have absolutely been part of my refinement and I am ever grateful for each of them =0)

  1. Amy Hagerup

    HI Julie, Yes the years can seem quite long when we are in the trenches of parenting, but each stage brings it joy – that is for sure. When our 3 biological kids were teens, we adopted an orphaned baby in Ghana (we were missionaries there) and then 3 years later, we adopted a little 22 month old orphan! So those two children are now 20 and 21 and our big kids are 35, 36, and 38! We have 12 grandchildren. I feel like I have been parenting for. . .well . . . 38 years! LOL! It has often been “just keep swimming.” Blessings, Amy

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