Mountains, Valleys, Dragons, and Rest!
My children’s ages range from five years old to young adult. Some I gave birth to and some I didn't, but they're all precious.
Yesterday, I sat next to my grown-up, married son and brushed a crumb out of his beard. His beard? It doesn't seem but a week ago that I washed peanut butter off his face. That freckle-faced little boy, who declared he would live with me forever, is a married man.
I have, like you, both struggled with my motherhood and cherished my motherhood. It’s the hardest, best job there is. It's not just a biological calling, but a spiritual calling.
I have so often fallen short of the ideals I’ve set for myself. Time and again, I have failed the intention to be patient and kind. I spent most of my thirties feeling guilty about the ways in which I wasn't earning “Mom of the Year.” But I didn't give up. I allowed God's Word to develop my character. I pounded heaven in prayer for those babies.
For my husband and myself, I prayed for the ability to do this most-important work as best we could, even with our limited resources. I learned that there's no such thing as lack in God's economy; all the resources I needed, I had in Christ.
The Holy Spirit brought life to my mothering time and again. When I thought I'd drown in the day-to-day of laundry, dishes, and meals, the Holy Spirit lifted me up. During the years when my husband was gone so often and I was alone with what seemed like too much responsibility, God came by my side. I would have missed out on all the good, rich stuff I'm enjoying now if I had allowed self-pity to lead me to dark places. Instead, I chose to strengthen myself in the Lord.
God's assignments are sometimes mountains to climb and valleys to travail. There are certainly dragons to battle, but He also provides those sweet, restful, green pastures we love so well.
Motherhood is a series of thrills and drudgery, heartbreak and the most pure and sincere love to be found, apart from the love of God. Devotion and character are developed in the years of the hardships that come with mothering and homemaking.
I remember well the slow and gradual change from a self-centered young lady to a devoted and sacrificing mother. My husband too, has grown over the years, from a selfish man to a tender-hearted father and husband. Daily putting the needs of others before our own changes us.
It's so easy to get discouraged with parenting in this culture. For all the times I’ve wounded my children, I ask for forgiveness and for God's scandalously generous mercy. In the victories, I point again to His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes it seems like the forming of a loving human takes two steps back and only one forward—in the children and us! Growth is painful. But that pain is necessary for development of character. So often, I wanted to protect my children from hurts and dangers. However, I learned that the person they become for God's Kingdom is so much more important than their comfort or mine.
I'm so thankful to be on this ride with Jesus and my family. It's not easy, yet nothing is more worthwhile than being a missionary to my own little corner of the world. If I endure, then maybe I will reap a harvest of Jesus-loving children who are missionaries in their own spheres—big or small. I'm rejoicing in hope, and remembering that my troubles are comparatively light. Hope doesn't disappoint when it's in the right place. Besides that, children give you grandchildren!
Milk 'n Honey Ranch, Yakima, Washington, USA
Printed in Above Rubies #93