Teach Us to Number Our Drives, That We May Gain the Hearts of Our Children
My job as a Mom means my secondary office is my car. On days when we have sports commitments, I spend hours and hours shuttling my kids around town. This is nothing new for me, and I know parents all over the world experience the same thing.
In fact, it falls into the category of ‘the way things are.’ You can’t change it, so you might as well accept it. Before your kids have a driver’s license or a car, you’re going to be an unpaid Uber service, so you might as well get used to it.
Even though I know this comes with the territory, I struggle to enjoy it. This season of spending lots of time together in the car is fleeting, and I need to take advantage of having a captive audience. But while I love my kids with all my heart, and I’d jump in front of an oncoming train for them, some days I don’t want to lay my life down to drive them across town.
The Mother Load
Isn’t this the struggle of motherhood? When that little bundle is first placed in our arms, we feel a love we’ve never felt before. It’s so strong it’s frightening. We’d do almost anything for them.
But that love is immediately tested when they start interrupting our sleep. Whether they’re newborns or teenagers, we’re constantly being challenged to love them more than we love our own comfort.
Our Driving Force
The job of ‘mom’ is a sanctifying one, and not unlike driving. We start in one place, and by God’s grace, we end up in another. We can try to ignore the uncomfortable in-between nature of it all, but if we do, it will be to our own detriment.
In Psalm 90 Moses prayed for God’s help to live significant lives. He said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (12).
In this season of motherhood, when I’m spending so many hours in my car, I’m asking God to teach me to number my drives, so that I may gain the hearts of my children.
Someday, I’ll forget all the inconveniences of our many hours traveling around the Valley. Instead, I’ll look back on a season when my ministry to them consisted of many miles, conversations, and exhortations. As we know, the days are long, but the years are short. If I’m not careful, I could miss it.
Mission in the Mundane
I’ve started seeing the beauty of the time we spend in between. During our commutes this week, we’ve prayed, sang songs, discussed teen drama and how to deal with it, and ventured into heavy topics, like abortion.
This shift elevates my transportation service to be more than it is. We’re having heart-shaping-next generation-transforming conversations along the way that I pray sinks deep into their hearts.
Taking advantage of these teachable moments while we travel is not a new idea. In fact, it dates back to the Pentateuch, when Moses gave the Israelites instructions on how they were to integrate their faith into every aspect of life.
Imparting our faith was never meant to be separated from the mundane and menial work of our lives. Most of life is mundane!
Teach Them Diligently
Moses instructed parents to talk about God, while they’re sitting at home, walking (or in our case, driving) by the way, lying down, or rising up. In other words…all the time.
This passage of Scripture is known as the Shema and is still recited twice daily in Judaism. It’s not a bad idea for us to write these words in our hearts, and live them out in our cars and homes either.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
The Road is Noisier Than Before
All of life, even our ‘walking by the way’ moments are purposeful. But fair warning, this is not easy, and it might be harder for us than any generation of mothers before us.
For even when we’re ‘on the way’ our devices, and the distractions they inherently bring, go with us. Moms, this means we need to be even more purposeful to teach them diligently. “Phones down while we drive” is a good rule to adopt early on (for both drivers and passengers).
I guess my issue isn’t really driving. It’s my spiritual short-sightedness to not number my days and see all the teachable moments before me. Whether I want it to or not, this time will pass. Will I joyfully consider these minor inconveniences as an opportunity to pour into my children or an obligation I have to fulfill?
Life is a Highway
This Mother’s Day, you might be tempted to romanticize a different stretch of road than the one you’re currently traveling. You might find yourself checking your rearview mirror, longing for the good old days when your life and schedule were simpler, and your kids were so cute you couldn’t stand it. Or you might be setting your gaze way off in the distance, longing for a more leisurely drive when your time is your own, or the demands on you are less.
Friend, let’s not wish away our lives, or the sanctification we’re experiencing on this stretch of road. As we love, serve, feed, bathe, clean, launder, discipline, teach, and drive, let’s embrace all that’s good and beautiful with all that’s hard and sanctifying. May God help us number our days (and our drives) so that we may gain the hearts of our children, and the next generation, for his glory.
Keep on keeping on.
Happy Mother’s Day!
P.S. Moms, do you want to adopt a holy leisure mindset for all of life? It applies to our driving, our laundering, our work, and everything in between. I invite you to check out this free resource.