I have had way too much time on my hands over the last 24 hours as we mainly set here and let Emma rest. To occupy my time, I read a few good articles. This one speaks to the advocate in me who feels outrage over the Pro-Choice abortion movement alive and well in this country. I am reminded that although I am not in front of the clinics meeting the women in prayer, although I anticipate to do be able to do so one day, I am in the battle as I hand down God's definition and purpose of life to my babes.
Then there was this one that had me weeping just moments before they took Emma back to do her procedure. It was mainly this one that had me thinking a lot about what it means to be the mother to Ethan, Emma, and Elsie.
I am on a journey that has taken me through many different places over the last 13 years.
On St. Patrick's Day in 2000, I discovered I was expecting my first child. I spent 9 months single, sorting through emotions one should never have to sort. Just before Ethan turned 2, I had to deliver heartbreaking news to Greg as I explained we were pregnant with my second child. Less than a month before Emma was born, Greg and I reluctantly married. This history has formed, molded, and shaped many of mine and Greg's views on parenting.
I am still learning how to parent a child that was wanted.
Yes, you read that correctly. A lot of the parenting I did for 11 years was out of a place of shame, of guilt, and out of an intent to redeem my children's beginnings.
I was told once to let that baggage go. Emma was barely 4 when I had a sweet woman tell me that I didn't have to wear my fornication, and it's obvious consequences, on my shirt sleeve constantly disclaiming my jaded past. It is a balancing act I still am working on. I want you to know where God has brought my children and I because I feel it is such a beautiful way to see who my God is. He is redemption. He is restoration. He is the God who said children are a blessing, and finds a way to bless us in the midst of our selfish choices.
I have had times of being on a hamster wheel attempting to be as motherly as I can in an attempt to compensate for the rebel I was in my youth. I have realized that I can get off the wheel and just enjoy pioneering as it fits into our lifestyle, because I thoroughly enjoy it. I don't have to do it to prove my motherhood, or to show my turn around, I simply like the sense of accomplishment and joy I receive from caring for my family with the work of my hands.
I believe there are true benefits to my past that are helping shape our parenting for the good. I also believe that there are weights from my past that are hindering our growth.
About a month ago I began attempting to memorize Hebrews 12:1-11
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
I find this passage so beautiful.
Take heart in trusting God's path for you and your family.
Mother your children.
Be a wife to your husband.
And don't feel quick to defend your differences, simply embrace them knowing God is at work.
Ethan needs a mom who helps him learn how to see his own sin. He is desperately blind to it. He shares in my weakness of self-justification. He needs a mom who encourages his interests in the outdoors and weapons, along with encouragement to practice chivalry and protection over the women in his life. He needs a mom who laughs at his jokes and reminds him to daily take a shower and put on deodorant. As he ages, he needs a mom who can help him understand God's intention for his sexuality, who can help him make sense of the dangers of abusing God's gift outside of marriage.
Emma needs a mom who can deal with a mess. She really does. She doesn't need a mom who packs up all of her toys in an attempt to find order, although that is exactly what I have done. She needs a mom who encourages her messy creativity. She needs a mom who can find a balance to demands and obedience, and who also reminds her that first time obedience is not too much to ask of her. She needs a mom to hold her down for a finger prick blood test although it isn't fair. She needs a mom who teaches her NOT to follow her heart, for her heart may deceive her. She needs a mom who teaches her to follow God's heart as she grows and matures, understanding why she will benefit from becoming a wife first, and then a mother.
Elsie needs a mom who can find a balance to caring for her while developing her older brother and sister. Elsie needs time with mom meeting her needs and training her to quick obedience. Elsie needs a mom who loves her enough to feed her well, take her outside to play, and catch her on the slide. Elsie needs a mom who can enjoy the baths, the messes, the leaking sippy cups, the temper tantrums, and the early morning nursing. After all, a lot of these things are things I didn't get to enjoy with Ethan and Emma.
I know this is lengthy, but come on, I'm almost 33 and have yet to master condensing my thoughts, what did you really expect?
Who do your kids need? You. This isn't a trick question. God already answered it.
Don't look at the other moms and feel inadequate, don't look at them and feel superior, because neither are sound. Look to God's word, and then look to your sisters in Christ...He will help us find encouragement where it can be found, and conviction where it can be found. He may also help you disciple another mom in need of growth, but the process would be much easier if we weren't so busy feeling inadequate or superior. Let us be humbled before Him as we are guided by Him on this journey...lay aside the weights, girls. I am totally speaking this to myself, too, believe me.
Well, Emma needs me to get her out of this hospital, and Ethan needs me to be sure his mawmaw gets him to his ballgame on time, and Elsie needs me to drink 2 more bottles of water so she can nurse well this evening.
I appreciate all the love and support, friends. God is good.
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