SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Monday, May 5, 2008

Moms, Persevere

I started this blog to keep in touch with my sisters and brother, my cousins, my aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews, and my friends who don’t live close enough to be a part of our everyday lives. However, I know there are others who check in here and have become part of a new life compartment known as “my blogosphere”. A number of you are in the early years of child raising and I want to encourage you to persevere, to be faithful, and keep on going.

I vividly remember the days before I had children old enough to baby sit when I needed a break. Joey was just 12 years old when my eighth child was born and, although he was old enough to stay home alone for a short time, he certainly wasn’t ready to oversee seven younger siblings. So, it wasn’t until about four years later that I was really confident in leaving everyone at home for any length of time. That meant 16 years of carting a load of little ones to the grocery store, or the department store, the DMV, the doctor’s office, the dentist office, and anywhere else I had to be.

People would ask me, “When do you find time for yourself?” Really, I didn’t have time to think about that, there just wasn’t much extra time. But, after the 50th time of hearing that same question I got to thinking seriously about the need for some “me time”. Wanting to live my life according to God’s plan laid out in His Word, I went to the Scriptures for guidance on how I should seek to insert that “me time” into my life. As it turned out, I couldn’t find one reference to making time for me. I found “redeeming the time” which meant not to waste the time I have, but I couldn’t connect it with caring for "me" needs. God’s instructions were clear on loving others as myself, giving more than what is asked, and doing it humbly and without need for recognition. The only thing He told me about my needs was that He would see to them. He would be my sufficiency. I believed it, trusted it, and poured myself into being the wife and mom I needed to be.

I’m sorry to say that I did not always do it joyfully. I found ample opportunity to waste some of my time just sitting on my pity pot. But, Satan didn’t succeed in tempting me to believe the lie that “I need to find some time to take care of myself”. Besides eating well, getting enough rest, and staying active (which was just a part of caring for the home and family!) my only other ‘need’ was to make the time to worship God, read His word, and pray.

Over the past 24 years God has indeed blessed me by caring for my needs. He gave me a husband who has never ceased to adore me. And Keith saw to it that we got time away to ourselves. He gave me a church family and relatives who pitched in when they could see I needed a boost. But maybe the best thing of all is that He blessed me through the children I was pouring myself into. The love and time I have given to them is coming back to me ten fold. Some of those things show up in the lines of this blog, but recently several moments have piled up together that reminded me of how blessed I am.

First, Troy (15) was talking to me about some of his future (next year) plans that he was discussing with a cousin and he said, “I know you’ve changed some of the rules for us younger kids, and the older ones got to do some things that we can’t do, and people think I should be mad about it. But I’m not. I think it’s good. I figure if you’ve gone through it with the older guys and see some things that you think would be better for me then I’m glad you want things to be different.”

Then, on Saturday my second son was married to his high school sweetheart. There are two things that will pull your child away from you quicker than anything. One is a driver’s license and the other is a girlfriend. When Keith’s heart was knit to Nicole’s all of his dreams and hopes and thoughts and mundane news was communicated with her. I didn’t feel so needed or even so much in touch with him anymore. And while the late teen and early twenty years are a time of independence and separation from the family as a young adult sorts out their convictions and place in life anyway, that separation is even greater when there is a girlfriend in the picture.

Keith, Jr. had told me I would be surprised to hear the mother/son song that we would dance to. He said it wasn’t what he had invisioned picking but when he heard it he “just had to have it.” I knew it had words that were very special and meaningful to him. I didn’t know what the song was until we were on the dance floor. A familiar tune began to play. But, I couldn’t recall the message of the song. I heard words about “a man all alone”, “barely surviving”, “not really sure…” and, along with Billy Dean, my son was singing them to me. Then came the chorus,

“If there hadn't been you where would I be
If there hadn't been you here for me
I made it through times
I never would've made it through

If there hadn't been you on my side
You In my life
All my dreams would still be dreams
If there hadn't been you”

I cried, and he cried, and if I even think of that song I cry again.

My cup was running over. We were at home after the wedding when my oldest son, Joey, and his wife, Jamie gave me a Mother’s Day card. The card was about two feet tall and on the blank page next to the printed sentiments Joey had written his own sentiments. He filled up the entire page. He thanked me for all of the things that had been important to him, some very little things, and some things that I didn’t know he even recognized. But what really touched me was this: thank you “for letting me go when you knew it’s what I needed, and for taking me back when you knew that’s what I needed.”

I did not think I could feel any more loved. But, Sunday after our morning church service we had a church fellowship meal with the wedding leftovers. Normally, the adults congregate and the children all join their friends. I was sitting at a table, Gabe in a high chair next to me and Shane (13) sat across from me. Keith came up with his plate and asked Shane what he was doing. He just grinned and said, “I wanna sit with my Mom!”

I didn't spend all of the hours and years with my children so that I could be "paid back". That's just the way God works. We follow His commands out of a heart full of love for Him and for what He's done in forgiving our sins through the sacrifice of His son. Pleasing Him is our goal, but as always He goes above and beyond and pours blessings out for that required obedience. His mercies are beyond measure! Mothers, love your children.


Carla said...

You have no idea how much I needed that today, but God did. Thank you.

Keithslady said...

Isn't He good!!? You're welcome.

kristi noser said...

Talk about getting a boost! You are the booster girl today.
Thank you Papa for our "boostergirl".
I love it that Joey wrote all the things he appreciated about you--gotta love that boy(yeah, me too). God has given you and Keith many gifts in the child rearing biz. Thanks for sharing the insights you have with us.

Keelie said...

I had to keep wiping my eyes to read on! Your blog is one of my favorites Aunt Cindy! Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement! Love you!

Kara Jo said...

I got teary-eyed more than once while reading this post. Thanks for the pep talk. :)

Keithslady said...

Kristi, you nailed it saying "God has given you.." It's all from Him, the giver of all good gifts!

MaryLu said...

Sweet post!!
And all this time I thought that "mommy time" was my right! I guess I'll have it all to myself soon enough and then all those sweet little blessings won't be around.
I needed this post today also, I'm afraid. Thank you.

Sister Kari said...

Crying BIG tears. I'm so happy for you. You are such an inspiration as a mother, sister and best friend. I love you my sweet, sweet sister!

Mommy said...

Being a mother surely has it's ups and downs. Emotionally,it is like a roller coaster ride sometimes. I think as mother's we have more intense emotions anyway. I cried and cried too when I read the song you danced with Keith. I would have been a wreck!