On Arrows and Portions

Mother, Mother, Watch and Pray

Mother! Mother! Watch and pray,

Fling not golden hours away!
Now or never, plant and sow,
Catch the morning’s earliest glow.

Mother! Mother! Guard the dew,
While it sparkles clear and true.
No delay! The scorching noon
May thy treasures reach too soon.

Mother! Point them to the sky,
Tell them of a loving eye,
That more tender is than thine,
And doth ever on them shine.

Mother! Lead them soon and late
To behold the golden gate;
When they long to enter there,
Lead them to the Lamb by prayer.

Mother, seize the precious hours,
While the dew is on thy flowers!
Life is such a fleeting thing,
Mother! Mother! Sow in spring.-Selected, “Verses of Virtue”

Counting down the minutes

In 53 minutes-but who’s counting?-Gabe’s school bus is due to return him at the end of our driveway.  The only day I’ve wanted to see him more was the day he was born.

This first day of school for Gabe distracted me. I meant to write about portions today.  As in Psalm 73:26:

My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. 

And Psalm 16:5

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

Parenting can be one’s portion. But only for a little while. Child-rearing is a temporary assignment. Being a mom is a sweet, short season, but it shouldn’t be our biggest “portion,” the source of our identity and hope.

Is parenting your full and first portion?

Are your children your refuge, your identity, your strength? Does parenting more define you, or refine you?

My latest favorite 17th century Puritan is George Swinnock. In The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourish

 

ing of Faith, he urges moms like maybe you and like me with incredible candor to resist finding our portion in anything on earth. This would, I think, include your beloved children.

Swinnock was only 46 when he received his eternal portion. And I don’t even know if he was a father. Regardless, he speaks to my almost-bursting mother’s heart, even as I count down the 13 minutes before the bus returns my boys and I steal a hug from a brand new kindergartner, and, if I’m lucky his third grade brother.

The fuller the blossom, the sooner they shed.

Swinnock explains the finding our ultimate hope and joy in an earthly portion.

Earthly portions are like roses, in that the fuller they blossom, the sooner they shed. They are often misused through pride and wasted throughcarelessness…However, my portion will always be full (without diminution) and first (without alteration).  This God will be my God forever. He will be my guide and help unto death. Even death, which dissolves so many bonds and unties knots, will never separate me from my portion. On the contrary, it will give me a perfect and everlasting possession of it. 

Arrows in the hands of a warrior, are sons born in one’s youth.

That came to mind in the bittersweet walk alone from the bus stop this morning.

But then I remembered: Arrows leave the hand. They are not one’s portion. Arrows are meant to be shot forth. Seize the precious hours and watch them fly.

To kindergarten and beyond. God speed, my sons!

 

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