“You guys are driving me CRAZY!” I said, just a few minutes ago, and probably every day so far this summer.

I don’t know why my boys are wired to disagree with each other, but there’s no doubt they are. If one wants to play outside, you can bet your life the other wants to play inside. If big brother wants to play whiffle ball in the back yard, little brother wants to be on the trampoline. The only thing I can get them to agree on is going to the pool, but once we’re there, well, we’re back to disagreeing about what game to play in the pool.

As I write this, it’s been 38 days, 10 hours, 22 minutes, and 39 seconds since they finished school, and the arguing and fighting about how to spend their summer has risen to epic proportions. This morning, I took some time, yet again, to pray for their relationship and reminded them that God gave them a gift in each other—built in best friends—but I don’t suspect it will “take” any more today than it did yesterday, or the 37 other times I’ve mentioned it since the end of school. It takes time for life lessons to sink in, and repetition is life’s best teacher.

This morning, and honestly, every morning for the last few weeks, I’ve been tempted to just send them to their rooms and leave them there. Ok, I have just sent them to their rooms (sometimes, for my own sanity, I just really need it to stop), but I’ve also been trying to remind myself of a phrase that has impacted my mothering in a big way:

There’s More Than Just Now

These tweenagers will soon be teens, and those teens will soon be men. They need the life lessons that often annoy me the most, and, as I’ve always said, if I can teach them to get along with each other, they’ll be able to get along with anyone (God help me!). Annoying mom moments can be the soil God uses to create lasting heart change in our kids (<<—Tweet That).

The sin in their hearts needs to come out—needs to rear its ugly head—as much as possible while they’re still safe in my home. And if that’s the case then it’s my job to help them learn to repent, reconcile, and live together in peace, not just to make it go away for the moment. The lessons they learn in my home extend way beyond right now into their future jobs, relationships, and families, not to mention their future lives spent for the glory of Christ.

I can’t create that kind of eternal perspective if I just scream at them and send them to their rooms every day. No, believing there’s more than just now takes time, effort, and patience … the three things I seem short on most of the time.

In reality, there’s always more than just now, but we’re a “live in the moment” kind of people, near-sighted, unable to move our emotions beyond where they are right now. I talk about this some in my new book, Gospel Centered Mom: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need.

“In every circumstance of life, we can look at what God is aiming to accomplish from two possible perspectives—either temporal or eternal. One is to seek out the immediate purpose for our current circumstances. We say to the Lord, Why are you letting/not letting this happen? Why am I going through this? I need to see the right-now purpose for my pain/discomfort/hardships! (Or, I just need them to go away!). The second, and far more important perspective is to consider the much bigger, without-end purpose of God. It involves all we can’t see and a grand, overarching purpose that has existed for all time. God’s full, forever-and-ever-amen purpose has more to do with His glory than our wants and desires.

‘For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him’ (Colossians 1:16).

We were designed for the eternal but spend most of our time consumed by temporal concerns. We demand to see why yet have blinders on to the real and true eternal purpose of God. We have to take the blinders off and choose to have faith that God sees the better plan.

There’s more than just now.”

Next time you’re in the heat of the moment with your kids (or spouse, or friend, or co-worker, or family member … really, it works for anyone) remember, there’s more than just now. God’s plan is bigger than just the moment you’re in, and the way you respond to it matters for all of eternity.

Wonder about the effect of this using this practical tool in your daily life? Here’s what one mom said:

“This simple one liner has redirected my heart back to Biblical Truths SO SO much in the last few weeks since I began reading Gospel Centered Mom! I say it a few times, ask God to calm my heart and direct me to Him, and every time my heart has felt lighter because I can rest in His grace and knowing that He is enough!” ~Stephanie Keith

That’s it! Enjoy!

P.S. Thank you so much for your support so far with this book. The response has been fantastic! Order now (not just putting it in your “wish” list) makes a difference in the long run, and we appreciate it so much!