Monday, July 24, 2017

Neverland

"My kids will never...." the young mom began.

We were sitting in a Sunday school class one day when the conversation turned to a parenting topic.  Although, it wasn't anything highly controversial, it was still an issue that parents of teenagers would eventually face.  The comment came from a sweet young mom who's oldest child was 7.  As I listened to her argument, it made perfect sense.  It was well thought out and backed by conviction.  But with an oldest child of only 7, it was a bold statement to make on an issue that was still about 8 years out.

Neverland.  It's a place 15 years ago I thought I would never be.  The movie Peter Pan would have you to believe that it's a place where no one ever grows up and when your children are young, it certainly feels like it could be real.  Days are long and the years are short was what I was always told.  Enjoy it because it goes fast~was a comment I heard often as I was trying to calm a small toddler.  In a blink of an eye~was what I heard pushing four children under the age of 7 through a crowded Walmart Supercenter.  Don't blink~....too late.

My kids are grown and growing up.  My oldest is 18 and has one foot confidently out of our home ready to pave his own path in college.  My youngest is 11 and in the excitement of beginning middle school.  Three of my four are teenagers.  Two of the four are taller, outweigh me, and are the size of men.  I miss the days of pushing a stroller, carrying an infant, or changing diapers but I don't long for them.  I love where I am and this season of mothering.  I am re-hearing advice from older mothers from my younger mothering days and I am smiling at the future.  Their words coming true.  It truly is an enjoyable season.

But I am in Neverland.  It's not a bad place, it's great in fact.  Just a place I swore I'd never be.

Shortly after I had my oldest child, a beautiful soul shared the Truth of the Gospel with me and I became a Believer and follower of Jesus Christ.  It was in His perfect timing because I had a very unruly 18 month old and I was dreading the Terrible Twos around the corner.  I was disciplining using positive reinforcement and never saying "no" to him.  I could go on and on about all of the struggles I had but the victory came from the older women who came quickly alongside me, sharing Truth about bringing up babies, Truth about God's heart toward children, and practical advice to put those Truths to work.  I quickly learned that there was so much I didn't know.  There was so much that I wanted to learn and so much that I could apply.  I sat under great teaching and wonderful mothers who were several chapters ahead of me in their Mothering Story.  I listened.  I took notes. I searched the Scriptures for myself.  I called into Mothering From the Heart radio shows.  I called seasoned mothers.  I prayed.  I sought out mothers who were just a few steps ahead of me in their mothering.  I saw good behavior, I asked how.  I saw sweet spirits, I asked how.  I saw respectful talk, I asked how. I saw happy homes, I asked how.  I took it all in and it changed how I mothered.

But in came a small portion of pride.  Small pride?  Really there is no small pride.  Pride is pride and I was there.  We were following the algebraic equation for great children.  The algebraic equation that I came up with in my own head.  A + B=C. Follow it and there may be bumps, but there will be a perfect C at the end.  I would share my thoughts with some and I cringe now at what must have been coming from my mouth.  Never this.  And never that.  And certainly never those.  Never.  Never.  Never.  It's very easy to say never when never is so far away.

My 7 year old became 10.  My 10 year old overnight became 14.  My 14 year old is leaving for college in 3 weeks at the age of 18.  How did I get to this point because truly it seems as if it has been a blink of an eye. It went fast.  The years ARE short.  And now I am here.  My oldest at 18 and my youngest creeping up to the teenage years. It's a humbling season of mothering. I am in Neverland.  Somehow I got here and my thoughts are different.  My nevers are different.  Some nevers completely gone.  Some nevers are still never.  Some nevers we laugh at.  Some nevers are adjusted.  But my heart is the same.  My prayers are still fervent.  My desire to teach and train my grown and growing children is even stronger as I see them slowly walking toward the door.  But my nevers?  I am sad that they were ever spoken.

My nevers changed because each season changed.
My nevers changed because my children grew.
My nevers changed because my children built trust.
My nevers changed because my perspective changed.
My nevers changed because our lives changed.

Nevers change.  God never changes.  Children change.  God never changes.  Technology changes.  God never changes.  The world around us is changing.  God never changes.  Children grow and it becomes their turn.  God never changes.

I am thankful that I listened so long ago to the wise women who had gone before.  I remember one conversation that took my pride and my algebraic equation and removed them both.  It was my first true step into a new season of mothering and I felt like I had hit a brick wall.  I was embarrassed and was looking for some Truth to hold onto.  A Titus mom told me "Remember this moment.  Never say never because you don't know what life will hold.  But hold onto the God Who never changes and never says never and can do anything that seems impossible to us."

So if I have any advice for younger moms now.  Never say never.  Don't look at women ahead of you in their season of mothering and say, "I will never..." because you don't know the story, or the child, or the circumstances.  Keep your eyes instead on the One Who never changes and worry about staying in His Will for your mothering those He has given you.  My desire is to be in God's Neverland.  Never changing.  Never leaving.  Never turning away.  Always there.  Always in control. I don't want any part of the Neverland of pride.  My mothering is not done.  There is potential for me to say again, "I will never..."  My desire is to stay far away from that Neverland.

Because in a blink...they do grow up in Neverland.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Front Row Center

My daughter's first dance recital was anything short of crazy.  The rehearsals, the preparation, the makeup, the costumes in 100 degree heat~all of it.  Crazy.  By the night of the performance, I had seen her dance more times then I care to mention along with every other number from start to finish.  I had sat through every rehearsal, every meeting, every backstage moment.  But still in those final moments of dropping off that sweet worn out 5 year old, "Mama, where will you be watching so I can find you?"  I went into a litany of reasons why she wouldn't be able to see me between the lights and all of the other moms and how she would need to be focusing on her dance steps and remembering to smile pretty....blah, blah, blah was all she seemed to hear.  As she was being led off by a backstage mom she asked the simple question once more, "Where will you be watching, Mama?"

"Front Row Center!"  I yelled back so her sweet little ears could hear.

Everyone knows that is the best seat for any show. I fully intended to sit front row center too. I had told her that is where I would sit and that was exactly where I was headed.  Until I came up to the front two rows marked RESERVED.  Her dance teacher would eventually be in the front row center chair and there was nothing I could do about it now.  Since I had watched every rehearsal, I knew that she would actually be on the front row stage left so I picked the next best seat to front row center, a seat on the side I knew I would best be able to see my little girl. This became *My* front row center.


And so it has been for the last 18 years.  My front row center is the best place for me to see the faces that rock my world.  The little people to grown children who I have poured my very life into.  My front row center looks different for each child and for each event and for each moment.  Sometimes my front row center was quietly holding a frightened child in the middle of the night lying next to them on the bed.  My front row center has been sitting out in my car as a lesson takes longer than it should.  My front row center has been on the visiting side of the field so I could get the best angle at the position he was starting.  My front row center has been at the top of the bleachers to see over a dugout.  My front row center has been on Game Changer when I had to be in four places at once.   My front row center has been in another room of our house while teenagers hung out.  My front row center has been on the opposite side of the stage so I could watch the expression of my dancer coming on.  My front row center has been peeking through a small window on my tippy toes to see what was happening on the other side.  My front row center has been slowly creeping my way to a better view.  My front row center has been on the phone listening to the tears.  My front row center has been through pictures and video taken from a sweet friend when I was front row center for another child.  Sometimes my front row center isn't even actually a place but in my heart. In the moments quiet with my Heavenly Father on behalf of the ones He has entrusted me.  In the pleas for Him to intervene because only He could see.  In the unspoken needs that I didn't even know existed.  My front row center is the very God Who created them, sees them, knows them, and can be trusted with their very life.


I am about to take a new front row center from 4 hours away as I send my oldest off to college.   This will be the farthest front row center I have ever sat.  I have never not had a day where I wasn't there being in my front row center for him.  18 years of knowing where he was, who he was with, what he was doing...being in my front row center.  My view will look very different in the next few weeks.  I keep picturing the day we go to drop him off.  For the first time, I won't know his friends, or be able to picture what he is doing.  I won't be able to meet up with him at the end of a long day with a talk over reheated supper, or to hang around the kitchen table or to come in to hug him good night.  It will be a very different look from where I sit and one I am not 100% sure of what to expect.  So I am giving my seat up.  One that was never really mine to begin with.  One that was always saved for me in advance.  He will be, has, and always has been the One truly in that seat.  He knows his coming and his going.  His lying down and his getting up.  My front row center seat will be trusted to the One Who can be trusted.  He will be my game changer, my video, my text.  And I will go to Him when I can't see from the small window, from the opposite side of the field, from the driver side window.




I will be on my knees in the quiet of my closet.  Giving Him my seat.  Allowing Him to be the One to watch over this young man who has been one of the stars of my show for the last 18 years.  I trust God with his life.  With the plan for his future.  With his daily comings and goings.  Through my Heavenly Father I will be "watching."  Taking in every moment by praying and going to the One Who sees him.  I imagine him asking as he takes his first steps out of our home, "Mama, where will you be watching?"

From the front row center.  





Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Dad

You weren't there on the day I took my first breath.
But as a Dad, you've been there for the moments that have taken my breath away.

You didn't bring me home to my first house.
But as a Dad you have been a piece that defined "home" for me my whole life.

You weren't there for my first steps.
But as a Dad you have walked beside me every step of the way.

You weren't there for my first smile.
But as a Dad seeing you as you have loved and supported me as I've grown, makes me smile.

You didn't rock me to sleep at night.
But as a Dad you have been a steady rock throughout my life.

You weren't there to calm my fears as a toddler.
But as a Dad you have been my steady calm when I needed your quiet leadership.

You didn't have to be there for
soccer games
homework
dance recitals
learning to ride a bike
encouraging me to stay at A&M
dates
homecoming courts
camping trips
hikes
Percy Quinn
swimming
solitaire
cheerleading
awards ceremonies
A&M parents' weekends
pledge presentation
births
football games
grandchildren
college help
But as a Dad, you have been.
There's a lot that you didn't have to do. 
But you chose to do it.
You chose to be a Dad.
Thank you will never be enough.
You provided a picture of my Heavenly Father.
Calm strength.
Choosing to love when you didn't have to.
Taking me as your own.
Unconditional love.
A single moment can make someone a father
A lifetime makes someone
A Dad.
I love you.





Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marathon Mothering



I ran in my first, last, and only marathon in the fall of 2000.  Whatever gave me the idea that I could or even should run a marathon, I can't remember, but I did.  My husband had just left on his second overseas deployment, I had one child, and a ton of time on my hands.  I enjoyed running long distances, had a babysitter that lived next door, and 8 months of enough alone time that could, well, could fill a marathon.  I remember signing up, training, telling people I would be running, reading as much information I could get my hands on, and even had an online trainer.  I was as ready as one could be for the unknown.  Who told me I could run a marathon?

On the day of the marathon, I was 100% sure that I could not only run this race, but run it well.  I had even set a time for myself.  I didn't want to just finish, I wanted to finish the best I could.  I looked the part, I was as prepared as a rookie marathoner could be, and I was determined.  As the race started, my first rookie mistake was not taking into account my time slot.  I had signed up for my estimated time and to my surprise, it put me in the last third of the runners.  Before I ever crossed the starting line, not only had time on the overhead clock started ticking but runners were already crossing the 2 mile marker. I was already comparing myself to others.  A chip on my own shoe would start my real time, but for the entire race I would face the mental block of the starting line clock I crossed at 8+ minutes and every roadside clock I would pass.  I was losing confidence with each step forward.

I did it though, but not without scars.  Not without failure and not without self-doubt.  But what got me through were the others.

My husband.

He could have finished his first marathon about two hours quicker, but he chose to stick by my side.  He silently rooted me on.  He spoke words of encouragement and when I wanted to quit at mile 13, he wouldn't let me. I was close enough to the start to know I had to keep going but far enough from the finish I felt like I couldn't.  He walked when I walked, he stopped at my every porta potty stop, he grabbed water cups for me, he rooted me on.

Other runners.

They were of every shape, size, color, and ability.  Ones I thought would never make it were the very ones shouting cheers as they passed me, encouraging me on.  As runners were lined up along the bridge getting sick, you would hear shouts of encouragement from the ones passing, "Get it out and come on!"  "You're almost there!"  "Can't quit now!"  Some runners would stop and pick up lost bibs from sick runners, walk beside complete strangers and push them to continue.  Some would shout as they ran by.  But we were all going in the same direction.  All with a common goal.  Finishing what we had started.  What we had trained and wanted for so long.  There wasn't anyone whispering on the sidelines, "Look at her, she shouldn't be running!"  "Who told him he should be a runner??"  Not one biting word.  Not one sideways, prideful glance.

Spectators.

I guess what honestly surprised me the most were the very people who came out just to watch.  Those there to cheer on loved ones but added so many other runners to their list.  Runners had their names painted on their shirts and I quickly learned why, "Keep going Chris! You look great!"  "Water station is up ahead, Melissa, keep going!"  Cheering on those they knew and those they didn't.  Building up complete strangers because just from watching they knew how hard the task at hand was and how quickly those negative thoughts could sideline a runner who had come so far.  They sat through hours and miles of runners and held signs, passed out waters, and patted others  on the back.  I ran next to a woman who had "Amy" written on her shirt and those shouts of encouragement meant for her, were heard by me and I seemed to run a little easier.

The finish line came whether I expected to or not.  Those 26 miles seemed to go so slow as I was running but in the last .2, I couldn't believe it was over.  It had gone so fast and it was done.  I was done.  I got a medal on my neck, a silver blanket wrapped around my shoulders, and a banana placed in my hand, but quickly they were looking beyond me.  To those coming.  Ready to do the same.  Welcome them.  So many runners crossed the finish line and went back to run with others trying to finish.  So many found friends, and coworkers to encourage.  Others went to stand at the finish and cheer the hundreds left.  No one was comparing.  No one was judging.  It was all about getting everyone across that line.

I didn't see the final runner cross that line. But one thing I am certain, there were people there.  Not shouting, "Come on!  Everyone is ready to go home."  "What is taking you so long?"  "Why are you so slow?"  There were shouts of welcome.  I can almost imagine the cheering was even louder for the last runner who stayed the course than for even the first.  What I learned that day was a marathon is not a race for 99% of the people who enter; it's not a race because in a race someone has to win.  It's a run.  A run to start, make it through each mile, and finish.

Today, God brought to mind mothering.  On the eve of Mother's Day, I can't help but reflect on my own mothering.  Sometimes I look back to March 17, 1999 and I think how confident I was.  I had read all of the books.  I had prepared a nursery.  I had bought all of the cute clothes and the latest and greatest gadgets.  But nothing could have prepared me for my first moment of mothering.  As he cried those first nights in the hospital and I couldn't find a way to feed him or soothe him and I felt behind before I even began.  Who told me I could be a mother?  Walking into that hospital I was prepared and confident, walking out was a completely different story.  From that very moment of strapping him into the carseat and wondering how all of the buckles fit, I have been losing confidence ever since.  But what has gotten me this far, is not my preparation, my knowledge…it's the others.  The others that have built into me.

My husband.

He has been my biggest cheerleader since walking into that hospital.  He never left my side.  He encouraged me in that delivery room and everyday since.  When those fears and doubts and moments of failure creep in, he pushes them out with his words of confidence.  He points me to our Savior.  He speaks Truth.  He never lets me wallow in self-doubt.  He has my back and I don't think I could have done a marathon without him but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I could not do this mothering marathon without him.

Other mothers and spectators.

You know the ones.  The ones who validate.  Those who affirm.  Those who just let you ramble.  Those who don't let you down.  Those who love because they know how important this job is.  I have had older women come along side and speak Truth in love.  I have had pep talks from my mom.  I have had pity parties with my sisters and shared yellow cake and chocolate frosting and all of a sudden I can keep going.  I have had women in my same season of life walk beside me and bounce ideas with.  We have grabbed coffee, swapped kids, run miles together.  All the while loving one another just because we are on the same path.  I have passed younger mothers and have seen that look.  I hope I have spoken encouragement to them and helped them to run just a little bit stronger.  I have been "cheered" on by complete strangers, those who just know how hard this job of mothering can be.

God.

He is the very one I do this for.  His glory.  His plan and His purpose.  He tells me that I can do this.  He knows my name.  He is the living water.  He is my source of strength.  He is my reason to get up everyday and do what He has called me to do.  He is not comparing me to all of the others.  He knows my struggles and knows the right words to keep me moving forward.  He is there for each and everyone of us as we run this marathon of mothering.  His love and compassion is as great for the first as it will be for the last.  These children?  They are His.  They are His reward.  Our medals.  He wants them to rise up and bless us and shine for His Son.  The end of the run is not our reward, He says the very run itself is.

Why do we make mothering a contest?  Why do we compare ourselves, our children, our marriages?  Why do we think it's all about being better than the next person?  On this Mother's Day, why can't it be our marathon?  Why don't we stop watching others and judging them and just encourage them?  There is a common goal, especially for families of Believers…to see each other and our children in Eternity.  Why don't we cheer them on?  Why don't we come beside and hand each other Truth?  Why don't we stop running and take a minute to walk to encourage another?

My running marathon days are behind me... I think.  But my mothering days are not. I feel like I am at mile marker 13.  Close enough to the start to know I have to keep going, but far enough from the finish to feel weary.  I am currently purposeful in surrounding myself with other marathoning mothers.  Those headed in the same direction, with the same goals.  Those who just want to encourage and love me where I am. We don't look the same and the way we run our own marathons of mothering won't look the same either. I am determined to be one of the marathoning mothers for those around me.  I want to encourage, cheer you on, and truly celebrate with you when you finish your mile well and eventually come to the end.  Then I want to go back~run along side those still in the run.  Those who just need that one spoken word to keep going.  I want to finish my marathon well and help those around me, in front of me, and behind me finish well too.  This Mother's Day, let's not make it about ourselves but about all of us.  One run.  One goal.  One Mothering Marathon.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Haven't Missed it Yet




Change.  Never an easy thing for me.  Some thrive on it.  Some live for it.  Some crave it.

Not me.  I like status quo.  I like same ol' same ol'.  I like predictable.

But I married a Marine.  Change has been a part of the last 20 years and I would choose change all over again for that one man.  But my heart longs for predictable.  And God knows because He created me that way.  In our ever-changing life, I sought out sameness.  Predictable.  Stable.  Constant. I could countdown weeks by our routine.  Prepare for my husband's return, survive through his deployments, and serve him happily while he was home.   It's why we have tacos on Tuesday.  Pizza on Thursday.  Cinnamon rolls before church.  I mop on Monday.  I clean bathrooms on Thursday.  I wash sheets on Friday.  I iron on Sunday.  And God left us in Beaufort for 8 years in a row.  8 precious, sweet years.  And we thrived.  We dug our roots so deep because that is my heart's deepest desire.  He gave us a tight circle of friends.  A strong church.  We plugged in.  Everything was easy.  Day to day was very close to the same.  Week to week was closer.  And year to year in Beaufort was even closer to predictable.  My heart was content because it was how I liked life.

As retirement got closer, I could feel the winds of change.  And I avoided them.  I ignored his appointments with the movers.  I didn't talk about his retirement ceremony.  Just pretended it was not coming.  But like life often does…the change came.  And it came quickly.  And it hit me in the gut.



Soon, nothing was the same.  Our house was empty.  We said our goodbyes.  We drove away.  I still don't think I have fully comprehended the fact that I no longer live in Beaufort, SC on N. Eastover as a member of Community Bible Church.  I am no longer the story time leader for VBS.  I am no longer a 4th-5th grade AWANA leader.  I no longer run the streets of Habersham or take my girls to The Larew Dance Center.  I have spent much time missing what was home to me the past 8 years.  I miss my church.  I miss sitting in the upper balcony and saying hi to Miss Ann at the door as she hands me my bulletin.  I miss the swing bridge.  I miss meeting at the pillow store to grab Preston or drop off Cole.  I miss laughing with Jacki in the hall when we were supposed to be in Sunday School.  I miss seeing sweet Miss Laura and Miss Claudia as I turn in my progress reports.  I miss seeing Cin come around the corner on the limo of golf carts to get a treat for Belle-Belle.  I miss Chloe knocking on my door to see if the girls could play.  I miss Ale' Grace hanging out in my kitchen.  I miss having teenage boys on my top porch on a summer night.  I miss having picnics in the Princess Park out our front door.  I miss gingerbread houses with Sue and watching her perform science experiments that we never got to work.  I miss chit chatting with Charlotte on her front steps.  I miss listening to Audrey's encouragement in the front hall on Sunday morning.  I miss gearing up for VBS story time.  I miss Common Ground Hazelnut Lattes.  I miss slumber parties with Melissa and Jane.  I miss giggles from the Curry girls upstairs.  I could go on and on.  I even miss Scrappy and her sweet family.   I wish I could say I haven't missed it yet, but I do.  I miss it all almost daily.

We are here now.  Bullard, TX.  Where everything only 4 short months ago was different. Ironically, it was the first time the change felt permanent.  No Marine Corps road that led back to Beaufort.  No "We'll be back!" I felt so alone and vulnerable.  New house.  Husband gone.  New town.  No church home.  New school.  No friends.  New streets.  No furniture. New everything. And yet nothing.  I felt as though I had been stripped bare and just left.  I felt abandoned.  I missed home.  I was grieving.  Nothing the same.  Everything different.

Except Him.



In the first few seconds of landing in Bullard, He showed Himself.  My sister and her girls were standing in my driveway to welcome us to our new home.  He blessed us #1.  A new refrigerator.  Blessing #2.  Smiling faces running through the new house.  Blessing #3.  Family visiting more in the first week then in the entire previous year.  Blessing #4.  And on and on it went.  A few days later, I was struggling to find the good even though He had so clearly shown Himself faithful.  He brought me to the boys' new school and gave me my first friend.  And through her story about *her* move to Bullard and how so long ago she was missing the blessings God was trying to give her, I made a conscious decision that day to not miss one blessing He would give us.  Not one.  I would allow myself to miss what I had grown to love but I would not miss His grace and goodness and blessings He wanted to give me in Bullard.  Some days were harder than others, but I was like Daniel.  I made the choice ever before that first step. I resolved not to miss God in the everyday moments and, in the midst of all of the change and my grieving, I would look for Him.

Daniel 1:8
But Daniel resolved….



I was invited to lunch by a sweet lady who just wanted to welcome me to Bullard and to Brook Hill.  She brought me cookies one night on a particularly hard day. I didn't miss it. I was invited to join a Bible study that quickly grew my circle of friends.  They were incredible prayer warriors.  One stopped by just because she was close to our house. I didn't miss it.  I sat by my first ballet moms at the girls'  new school who prayed with me.  Three neat guys befriended Cole.  The founder of the school sat by Logan at lunch one day just because and started encouraging him.  I didn't miss it.  A first A on a test for my boys.  My neighbor across the street had a daughter. I didn't miss it.  A sweet friendship soon developed with my girls.  That neighbor is now a friend. The workers at our new neighborhood grocery store were so nice.  And remembered me.  I didn't miss it.  Phone calls from friends back in Beaufort at just the right moment.  Texts from new ladies welcoming us to town and to Brook Hill.  Introductions.  Invitations to lunch.  I didn't miss it.  A mom just happened to sit by me during a very hard time one night at Open House.  She prayed.  Asked others to pray for me too.  I didn't miss it.  The boys were happy at the new school.  I had lots of time with just my girls.  I didn't miss it.  Sweet fellowships at churches we visited. I didn't miss it.  I met so many new prayer warriors and friends.  Our house was fitting us perfectly.  The weather was beautiful.  I didn't miss it.  I discovered my new favorite donut shop.  My new favorite pizza place.  Target a few miles from our house.  Baseball teams for the boys.  I didn't miss it.



Amidst all of the change, He was my constant.  My constant reminder that He was here.  He was in Bullard and He was in control.  He would never change.  And most of all, I felt loved, taken care of, and secure.  Even in the middle of so much change.  I felt like a little girl crawling into the arms of a big father in the middle of a scary thunderstorm.  His arms wrapped around me daily.  He was using so many people around Bullard to encourage my heart.  He never let me get down a road of self-pity without amazing me with His goodness.  He spoke to my heart.  He brought verses to mind.  He was very real.  I didn't miss it in those first few weeks of being in Bullard.  I haven't missed it even in this day.  And I resolve not to miss it in the days ahead.  He is a good, good Father.  It's Who He is.  And I am loved by Him.

And I haven't missed it yet.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Do.


I do.

At 22, I couldn't have known.

You know the saying, "If I knew then what I know now…"



So many questions 20 years ago.  So many unanswered questions.  So many doubts.  So many unknowns.  I would like to go back.  Talk to 22 year old Amy.  


Dear 22 year old Amy~
You are married now.  You wonder if this young man standing next to you will live up to all of the statements being asked of him on the altar.  How could you know if he will in sickness or in health?  For better or worse?  For richer or poorer? At 22, you don't know.


20 years later, I do.  
He will be the strongest man you will have ever known.  He will be your rock.  He will be the logical one.  He will make you feel safe.  He will be stronger after 20 years. 


At 22, your day was wonderful; everything you had hoped it would be~ but I know doubts that will have crept up in your mind.  How could you know June 3, 1995 if he will be a man you can respect for a lifetime?  Will he keep his vows to love you forever? Will he come home because he wants to?  How could you know if you would trust him with everything you have even during long months of separation?  How could you know if he would still make you laugh, still be the one you want to share your life with, still make you feel safe?  At 22, you don't know.


20 years later, I do.  

I know he is true to his word.  He will do what he says he will do, or do everything in his power to try. He will give his life to Christ at 28 and it will change everything.  He will provide a home, food, vacations, and be a great Dad.  He is who he says he is.  There is nothing he will hide from you and there is nothing he would not do for you.  You will admire how much he loves your children, how deeply he loves you, how much trust you will have in him, and how much he will love the Lord.  He is honorable and would never do anything to make you doubt his love, his word, or his commitment.  You will feel loved, safe.  
You couldn't know at 22.  But what you don't know at 22, I know at 42.  At 22, on your wedding day, you don't know.



But 20 years later, I do.
So, enjoy the ride~ the moves, the memories, the children…him.
Love,
42 year old Amy




Thankful that 20 years ago, I said "I Do" without knowing if you would.
Given the chance to do it again…
knowing what I know now….
I would.
I love this man.
I do.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Boy, Your Man


 How did the fireman in this picture get to be 16?

As I stare at my little boy in this picture, I am in awe at how fast 16 years can actually go… and I begin to think of you more and more.  16 years ago you weren't even a thought.  I had so much more to think about and all of the things that I was busy teaching my little boy.  I was too busy loving my little boy, tying shoes, and playing in dirt.  I was enjoying bike rides with him sitting on the bike seat right behind me pointing out all of the things I wanted him to notice.  I was bringing my little boy to all of the places I wanted him to experience and all of the people I wanted him to meet.

You never entered my mind.

I was too busy being the mama to my little boy.  He was a delight.  I am so honored to have been chosen as this little boy's mom.  Not everyday was easy, but I knew everyday was a gift.  My little boy never left my side and if ever there was a Mama's boy, he was it.

I remember a friend had come to visit us in the hospital.  After a few minutes of admiring my baby boy's sweet face, she jokingly made a comment I will never forget.

"Too bad you didn't have a girl.  Boys eventually leave their Mama's."  

Her words were a blow in those first precious moments with my sweet little boy.  But somehow as I moved past her comments, I thought she was wrong.  As my little boy grew, I knew she was wrong.  Even looking back on those moments today, I am more sure than ever that she was wrong.  Boys don't leave their Mamas.

Boys need their Moms.  My boy needed me on those dark nights when he was afraid.  My boy needed me when he felt bad and needed to be rocked, when he couldn't reach the tip top of the block tower he was building, and when my boy scraped his knee.  I was his protection from the big bad Santa Claus when he was two and from the mean little girl at the Waterfront Park.  My boy needed me to push him on the swing and to teach him his letters.  I caught him when he jumped into the pool and picked him up when he fell down.  My little boy needed me and I loved to be needed by that little boy.
                                

Truth is Boys don't ever leave their Mamas.

Men do.


For this reason a man shall leave his father and *mother* and be joined with his wife and they shall become one flesh.
~Genesis 2:24



As I looked at him as he pulled out of our driveway today with a quick smirk and "Love you Mom,"  he looked more like your man then he did my boy.  And I thought of you.  My boy would never leave me.  But one day, your man will.

                                              

Tears are welling up in my eyes as I typed that last sentence, but not because I am sad I am losing my little boy but because I have so much respect and love for your man.  I realize that although I don't have much to teach him anymore, I do have so much more I want to train him in.  I realize how short my time was with my little boy and how close he is to leaving my house as your man.  And I want him to be ready.

I also think of the responsibility and job I have left before you are joined with your man.  I think of you so often and I pray for you as I go about my day.  As I find less and less things to be teaching him, I find more and more things I want to encourage him in and build him up in as he grows into a man.  I think of you.  I think of you when he forgets his clothes on the bathroom floor and I have to remind him for the hundredth time to go clean them up, when he doesn't make his bed, or when he helps me unload the groceries without being asked.  I think of you when he tells me how good dinner was, when he clears the dishes, or grabs a heavy item from my arms.  I hope you love it that I have taught my little boy to hold doors open for women, how to tell them when they look pretty, and how to treat them like ladies.  I hope you love that my little boy had two younger sisters that he practiced on.  He practiced helping them, showing them affection, and protecting them.

I think of you when I show him grace when he leaves for class and his room is a mess because he had been up late working on a paper.  I pray you will love and respect him and show him that same grace when he messes up with you.  I think of you when I make him go back and apologize to his siblings, hoping that one day he will be quick to apologize to you.  I think of you when we have talks about a girl he is interested in and I am encouraged by what those qualities are.  I am sure you are exactly what he is looking for and I pray that he will be the exact man you are looking for.  I think of you when I catch him reading God's Word and I hope one day you will be thankful that your man prays.  I think of you when he goes to work when he doesn't feel like it because he knows that work is what men do and in that work your man will honor God.  I try to encourage your man to be a hard worker and I hope one day you will reap the fruit of that encouragement.  I hope he makes you laugh and I think of you when he makes me laugh.

Today my little boy no longer looks like a little boy.  In fact, he looks closer to your man than he does my boy.  The fact is. .. he IS closer to being your man than he is my little boy.   I don't have anything left to teach my little boy.  My job is now to encourage and continue to build up in the young man you will one day call yours.  I am praying for you.  I am praying for your man.  And I am praying for me as I finish my season of teaching and training my boy to be your man.   Until then I promise to not grow weary and to finish this mothering race well.  When the day comes for you to call him yours, he will leave me.  He will leave me and be joined to you because that is how God designed it.  My boy will have become your man.  And it will be good.

Love,
Amy



March 17, 2016~So much in this young man's life has changed in one short year, but I am more convinced now than ever, he will be ready.  He has overcome such challenges and has become even more of a man than when I wrote this just one year ago.  He will be ready to leave our home.  He will be ready to stand firm in what he believes.  He will be ready to face the hard.  He will be ready to be a man.  Her man.