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Keep A-Goin': Through Never-ending Laundry, Fighting Boys, and Crying Babies

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“It was one of those mornings,” I said to my mom the other day when she called. She knew exactly what I meant. She had had plenty of hard mornings raising her five children. You know, those days where you wish you could just crawl back in bed and start over.

I got up way too late to do anything for myself, I had nursed the baby five times during the night, my husband had left for work early, my two-year-old was crying for breakfast and needed a diaper change, my nine-year-old didn’t want to get out of bed, the seven- and five-year-old boys were fighting over what job they got to do, and the newborn wouldn’t go back to sleep. The sink was full of dishes, there was laundry to do, I had my pink pajama pants on with my husband’s big frumpy T shirt, and my hair was a disaster. I didn’t have makeup on and I was praying no one came to the door.

Part of me--well, to be honest, most of me--just wanted to crawl back in bed and be done with the day even though it was only 9:00 in the morning. As I actually pondered doing just that, the words from a poem my mom had taught us as children and we learned by heart crept into my mind.

If you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin'!
If it hails or if it snows,
Keep a-goin'!
'Taint no use to sit an' whine
When the fish ain't on your line;
Bait your hook an' keep a-tryin'--
Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills your crop,
Keep a-goin'!
Though 'tis work to reach the top,
Keep a-goin'!
S'pose you're out o' ev'ry dime,
Gittin' broke ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime--
Keep a-goin'!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin', sing--
Keep a-goin'!

“Keep a-Goin’” Kendra . . . You just have to “Keep a-Goin’!” As a child, learning this poem by Frank Stanton didn’t mean very much to me. They were just words, but they are words I am sure my mom knew would affect me when I got older and was raising my own five children.

Being a mom to five children--or any number of children--is not easy, but it is one of the most wonderful, amazing, and rewarding experiences in the world. Days aren’t always like the one I just described, but usually every day something comes up where I just have to pray that God will help me “Keep a-Goin’.” Whether it’s that I have no idea what to cook for dinner, my two-year-old is throwing a tantrum, or my baby won’t let me put him down, something is hard almost every day. I think we as moms want our days to be perfect, we want our house be clean, our kids to be happy, and we want to get everything done that we have on our “list.”

I have found that if I pray each day to be able to keep on going even through the hard things, the Lord blesses me. It might not be in the way I expect, but indeed He blesses me. That huge pile of laundry to fold might still be sitting on my bed, or my bathroom might not be as clean as I would like, but as the day goes on and I keep a-goin', things get better. I read with my kids. My heart melts as I see the smile on my two-year-old’s face as I draw him a cow. My baby lets me set him down long enough to get the dishes in the dishwasher. I feel joy when my son understands his math lesson. My daughter smiles with excitement after finishing a book as she tells me all about it. My sweet baby coos at me for the first time, and hey, somehow amazingly I get dinner on the table, and we even get to go outside and spend some time working in the garden. Having those sweet moments with my kids is better than anything on my to-do list! I wouldn’t trade them for anything, especially laundry or a clean bathroom. (But amazingly enough, most days God even helps me get those things done).

Through hard days of homeschooling, feeling like there was so much to be done, kids fighting or crying or being mean to each other, my mom just kept on going, and she taught me to do the same. My mom knew that by teaching me this sweet old poem about pressing forward, no matter what the circumstances, as an adult, it would be instilled in my mind. She knew this poem helped her through every tiresome day, and that when her kids grew up, it would do the same for them. As hard as being a mother is, it is far more rewarding and wonderful. We just have to keep a-goin', and as we do so the Lord will bless us. So “Keep a-Goin’,” you amazing moms, and as you do, you will find that God will bless you every step of the way!

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My name is Kendra and I blog over at The Things I Love. I am a stay-at-home-mom that loves to craft, eat, exercise, budget, homeschool, and be with my family! I have a wonderful husband, 5 beautiful kids and a blog where I write about The Things I Love! Come visit me anytime!

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