Are we There Yet?

A Mother's Encouragement to Persevere

"Are we there yet?" I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard it from your kids, but I heard it from mine, a lot. I moved from Yeppoon to go to uni and married a Brisbane boy. He was building a business and it was pretty clear early in our marriage that if I wanted to spend more than a few days a year with my family I would have to learn to drive to Yeppoon with the kids by myself. And so I did. At least once and often twice a year I would pack up my 3 kids and hit the road. 700kms of road, each way.

Parenting in the early years is relentless and exhausting, but in a few short years your children will be grown. Enjoy them while they're young, they grow up so fast. #parenting #encouragement #mothersday #children

Are we there yet?

It is a long way. 700kms. And I knew that whatever was happening in the back seat of the car, fights, tears, vomit… I had to just keep my eyes on the road ahead. As much as we stocked up the car with toys and games and snacks, the question was inevitable. 

Are we there yet? No honey, not yet.

Are we there yet? No sweetheart, we’ve still got a long way.

Mummy, are we there yet? No! We are not there and we won’t be there for a very, very long time, now find one of those 200 toys you have in your bag and play happily, Sweetheart.

Turn up the High Five cassette tape and take a few deep breaths.

I had 3 kids in three and a half years. Strangers would stop me in the shopping centre to comment on my beautiful kids. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “Enjoy them while they are young. They grow up so fast.”

An encouragement for parents to persevere through the relentless early years of parenting. #encouragement #mothersday #parenting

Fast? These years didn’t seem fast. Like the long drive to Yeppoon, the days dragged on in fights and tears and mess. 

When do we get there? How long until they grow up? How long before they can put on their own seat belts and peal their own bananas and put on their own shoes? God, are we there yet? When do I get to sleep through the night or drink my coffee while it’s hot or take a shower all by myself? Are we there yet? God, when do I get to go through a whole day without yelling? Or crying? Or feeling completely overwhelmed and out of my depth?

You don’t need to be a mother of small children to pray this prayer. Anyone who has ever studied, or got a job, or served in a ministry, or worked a business, looked after elderly parents, or been married for more than 5 minutes knows that the journey is long and can be difficult at times. We all get to the point where we cry out, “God, are we there yet?”

I believe God meets with us in those moments, when the road feels too long and we’re not sure we have enough strength to make it to the end. Here are 3 answers that God gives to us as we cry out to Him.

God is with us

He promises to be with us, always, and wherever we are.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
— Isaiah 41:10

God promises to be with us. When we feel desperately alone, when we feel like we cannot cope any longer, when we are so tired it hurts to breathe, God is with us. His presence never leaves us. We are never, ever alone.

He wants to help us

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
— Hebrews 4:16

God invites us to approach Him, to confidently come to Him and ask for His help. What an amazing invitation and promise. But it is an invitation that we must accept and proactively engage in. God is available, he makes the invitation, and he waits for us. 

I hate asking for help. Always have. There is this independent pride that tries to convince me that if I don’t do it by myself that I have somehow failed. What a load of rubbish. We were not designed to do life alone, or without God. Accept his offer, and ask for help. Like a loving parent standing over a child struggling with a heavy load, he is waiting for us to look to him and hand over the burdens we carry. He wants to help us. We just need to ask him.

Don’t give up

Don’t give up. Hang in there. Persevere. Keep going. I’ve got this. God says, when you and I work together we can accomplish great things. Don’t give up.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
— Galatians 6:9

In the New Living Translation it says we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. God brings blessing through faithful endurance. God is faithful, and all of the hard work will be worth it, if you don’t give up. Whatever God has called you to do, it may be hard and the journey may be long, but at the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing. It may not get easy, but God will complete the good work that He started. Trust Him, and don’t give up.

How did I do it?

How did I survive the journey? Sometimes I honestly don’t know, but this I am sure of, it is by the grace of God.

I have a wonderful husband who has been totally engaged the entire time. Marriage hasn’t always been easy, but it has been totally worth it. Parenting our children has been a team effort. To all the single parents doing the journey alone, I take my hat off to you. Double grace to you today.

God has been there for me when I cried out to Him. During the long nights in the rocking chair, the longer nights in the recliner next to a hospital bed, God has been there with me to comfort me, and give me the strength I needed for one more day.

When I found time to open God’s word I found the wisdom I needed to face the situation I was in. I have a shelf of journals with verses written out, recording the moments when God spoke to me from the Bible with the encouragement I needed for that day.

I always had a community of faith around me to speak hope and courage into my family. We rarely missed church, and the support of the parents who were doing the journey around us was truly invaluable.

The most amazing thing for me, is that all the nice people in the shopping centre were right. They do grow up so fast.

We have made it through. We blinked, and it is now virtually all over. 

In the space of less than 4 months last year my eldest daughter graduated from university and got engaged. My next daughter found a lovely little apartment and moved out of home. My youngest, my son, graduated from high school and a week later started his carpentry apprenticeship. They are all independent, young adults who don’t need me to manage their lives for them anymore. We made it.

The landscape has completely changed. God has been incredibly faithful. Murray and I celebrate 25 years of marriage in less than a month, and we look forward to everything that the next season brings.

To all the parents doing the hard yards today, remember, God is with you and wants to help you. Cry out to Him. Don't give up. It will be worth it!