The following is a testimony from a friend of mine, Erin Harrison. I know you will be encouraged and blessed:
THEY STILL NEED ME!
Time is fleeting. When you have a string of teenagers, you see time like an hourglass. It seems to slip through your fingers faster and faster. I remember my five precious children always gathered around whatever I was doing, whether it was cleaning, cooking, canning, out to the barnyard, on a walk, or sitting in my room, there they were. If I ran to the restroom, there was a crew of little ones looking for and calling out, “Mama!”
There are days you want to fly away like a bird because you never get that moment to just be you, to be still, and not to be forever needed. But the days turn into years, and soon the toothless smiles and mismatched clothes turn into perfectly groomed teenagers who’ve learned to care for themselves. You start to feel less needed, but it is a deception. Don’t believe it for a minute! These budding adults need us MORE THAN EVER.
If we are not available to meet the teenager’s needs, they meet their needs with independent force. They make their own meals, do their own laundry, learn independently with schooling, find their own answers to all their many questions, and life seems for them an open book to write. No longer are we writing our stories together; they are writing their own.
I remember when things started to change and my little children were now growing up. It was very hard for me. They no longer fought to help mix the batter or to use my mop to be first to help clean. I remember when the children learned how to crack an egg and all the many eggshells we pulled out of the bowl, the mess, the chairs pulled up to the counter tops that had to be pushed back into place. Now they are taller than me and when I bake, I often bake alone.
It is not necessarily a bad thing, but about eight months ago when Molly was rushed off in an ambulance, I was off chasing MY DREAMS. I was in Hawaii on a trip we earned from a great company with products that changed my health in a miraculous way. But as with all things in life, we can become overzealous, we can set aside the things that are right in front of us to pursue the American Dream. I did.
After a year of pursuing the dream to be free, I must be honest, I became lost in a rat race. I felt like that rat in a maze, searching for the prize but never finding it. The very rat race I strived so hard to escape years ago when we bought our first homestead--the mindset of never caring as much about fancy things and fancy cars, or hordes of material wealth. I never cared much for money, but the dream of having freedom was over me like a trance.
I got so passionate about helping others that I often felt stressed and set my precious family aside. They never seemed to mind. They kept themselves busy with other things. Good things, but they were essentially not needing me like they used to.
But, when The Lord convicts me, I listen. I hear His still small voice and when it comes as a phone call in the middle of the night when all you hear is silence and a faint breath of your precious daughter with her life in the balance, you HEAR. You LISTEN. You KNOW. I knew that I needed to get off track from my dreams and fight to build the relationships back again.
The great news is that it was not too late. I set aside my long working hours from home on the phone or computer and exchanged it for long periods of being a mother. Just sitting around the living room chatting about anything and everything. Instead of spending hours listening to other’s health issues and knowing how to help others, I started listening to my children tell me their issues. I told each one of them that they matter the most, that they are my purpose, and that I want to set aside everything for them. I told them we won’t have fancy cars, fancy trips, or money for all the things we want, but we have what we need from the hand of God.
It worked! Praise the Lord! I have my normal homestead, humble, do-it-yourself, children gathered around—life BACK! And I could not be more filled with joy! Teens need you MORE THAN BEFORE and now I help them follow their dreams and give them all the time they need, pouring into their hearts. Now, when I use the restroom for a moment, I hear the faint words, “Where is mom?” They need me! They need me! Thank you, God, they need me again!
I have learned to live with less and how less is MORE! More is empty. LESS gives your mind inventive ideas and much more creativity. You learn to live with less, you learn to make do, and be content. I don’t want to lay aside these virtues for all the money in the world.
I wanted to change the world, make it better, help the sick, and those in need. In the process, I looked for the approval of man, the respect, and vanity of success. Even with the best of intentions, the heart that wants to help and heal, it can distract us from our purpose, our divine calling.
At the end of the day, I have what most people in this earth want right in front of me. I have peace, joy, love, and fellowship with my family which is sweeter than anything. My oldest son is on the precipice of adulthood. How did it happen this fast? Time slipped by fast and it seems like yesterday he was a tiny, blond, curly-headed toddler telling me about the turkeys in the barnyard on our very first homestead.
I am excited for the adventure that is yet before me with finishing my calling of raising these five children for the Lord!
~ ERIN HARRISON * firstname.lastname@example.org
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Picture: Erin with one of her teen daughters.