Well, I heard some pretty silly statements after returning home from celebrating Thanksgiving with my brother and his family. Drew said, “I wish we lived in their house.” My husband asked him why. Drew replied, “Because they have food in their house. They have a nice sink. They have dolls to play with.” Okay, so I think the only thing we don’t have in this list are dolls. I think my son enjoyed playing with his girl cousin and her dolls. Preparing him for fatherhood…?
I was reading some neat books about Christmas the other day, and Will said, “I love Christmas!” I told him that I do too. We then started to name the things we love about Christmas. Will’s final response was, “Most important thing about Christmas is God.” I gave him a high-five and told him that he was very right.
Will recently said, “Daddy, I am worried about college. I don’t want to have to stay there all the time and to sleep there.” Jonathan and I both reassured him that he didn’t need to worry about it for a long time and that when he is old enough to attend college, he’ll probably want to have his own place. If not, we told him he could always commute from home to college.
Recently, L said to Jonathan, “Ladies do this.” He then demonstrated by crossing his legs at the ankles. Last night as I was preparing him for bed, he said, “Cowboys do this.” He then demonstrated their wide-legged walk.
As I was teaching the boys school, Drew said, “Mommy, when I get older I am going to marry you.” Will then said, “You can’t because daddy won’t let you. Mommy likes daddy too much. They’ll always be together.” I loved the sweet thought Drew had, but Will has it right! 🙂
Today, I took Will to the doctor’s for his 6-year checkup. He just turned 6, in case you were wondering. He weighed 55.7 pounds and is 49.25 inches tall! The doctor said if his growth continues, he should be around 6 ft. 3 inches in manhood. Wow! I don’t have any growth records for Jonathan or I at these same ages, but I guarantee neither of us were anything close to Will’s height.
Dear precious sons of mine,
I am almost afraid to begin this letter for fear that I won’t do it justice or write what I really want to write. I know your daddy is going to be arriving any minute so it’s a race against the clock to finish this. I have been wanting to write you guys a letter though to express some thoughts that are in my heart.
First of all, I want to say how thankful I am and humbled and honored to be your mother. I have often thought that God could have given you another mom — one that could do a much better job of raising you guys. Yet, He gave you to me! That is amazing! In my parenting of you, I am saddened to think of the times when I have made mistakes and not been the best mommy that I could/can be to you. For that, my dear sons, I am most sorry. This letter though is not to be a focus on the what-if’s or if-only’s but rather on those things that I would say to you if these were my final and last words to you.
So here goes… In growing up, I always had a deep respect for a model of godly manhood and leadership. I always had a heart to encourage young men to be all that God had called them to be. So when God gave you to me, I was humbled and awed to be entrusted with such a huge responsibility as training and raising up the next generation of godly leaders. You see, sons, I know that God has great plans for your life, and I have great hopes for your lives as well. Why? Because I know that we have a great God who specializes in taking mere mortals and transforming us into vessels for His honor.
My dear sons, in writing this letter I reflect back on my special moments with you guys — those precious first moments of holding you, moments when my heart is overwhelmed with the wonder of childhood and your own dear cute ways. I love when you pick me dandelions to put in my hair, when you ask me for one more hug and kiss, when you still want me to rock you before bed, when you run to open my car door, and when you try to comfort me when I am sick. You guys are so amazing, so manly even now!
I can’t help but imagine what it will be like when you are all grown up. It fills my heart with wonder even at the thought! My dear sons, may I challenge you and call to your minds the training you have received from reading God’s Word, memorizing it, from sitting in church, and from listening to us share about God’s workings in our lives. My sons, the most important thing in life is to first recognize that life is never fully realized and enjoyed until one has come to know the Giver of Life. My prayer first of all is that you would all personally know Him as Lord and Savior of your lives. May God give you hungry hearts for Him and humble hearts to obediently submit and learn from Him.
My sons, may you commit your hearts and bodies unto the Lord. There are so many temptations that you will face. I tremble for you, my sons, when I consider the difficulties and anguish you will suffer as you learn to temper your own desires and submit them to the Lord. This world offers a gawdy and showy package that appears delectable, but upon consumption, it becomes as empty and meaningless as cotton candy. Sons, hold out for the best. It is so worth the wait!
When I met your father, it was not his outward image that drew me. (Yes, I did love his blue eyes.) Rather, it was a humble and gentle heart that I saw that attracted me. Your dad has become such an encouragement to me as I see the godly father he has become and is becoming. He is so patient and loving and yet firm. I love that! My sons, I am so glad that I waited for the right one! If God has marriage in mind for you, don’t settle for something less than the best. Set your standards high — maybe impossibly high. Then, work on becoming the man of God that is worthy of such a girl.
I love how your dad is such a servant and willing to help in so many ways. He knows how to be romantic and to compliment. Sons, treat a woman with respect. Treat your wife with respect, and she will not help but treat you with respect. Honor and remember that you are called to love her as Christ loved the Church. In preparation for being a good husband, first be a good brother-in-Christ. Always treat women with respect — even if they act dishonorably. Be a gentleman because you are a gentleman — not because she is a lady or isn’t. Remember that as a young man, you are called to protect women. Part of that protecting is to honor her purity by not treating her as a cheap object of your lust. Again this is not based on her own purity but on yours. My sons, this will not be easy, but God has equipped you with every “tool” that you will need for this task.
My sons, remember that in preparation to be a good and godly leader, you must first learn how to serve. The best leaders are always the best servers. One can quietly “lead” or guide others into truth by simply and even quietly serving. Be also willing to speak a word when directed by God in due season but with grace. Remember that “In the multitude of words there lacketh not sin.”
Dear sons of mine, I know that there is so much more for me to say; yet, I am starting to tire. Darling sons of mine, I hope that in this letter you will see even more the depth of love that I have for you and how I pray and eagerly await the unveiling of the wonderful men of God that He has called you to be!
For now, you are just little boys, and your life is about eating tasty meals, getting hugs and kisses, spending time with us, and having someone there to bandage your hurts. But some day, when you are old enough to read this, I hope you will remember that there was a woman who gave birth to you and who loves you with all her heart and who prays for God’s will to be done in your lives.
Blessings precious, sons of mine,
This morning, my mom homeschooled the boys and gave me the time off. I spent it first going to the dentist and then to get bloodwork done. After that, I went to the library, took out some books, and then stopped at Panera Bread. With a cup of Spiced Pumpkin Latte, I sat down at my own table and popped open my newly borrowed book.
Before all you moms get too jealous, let me state that this is an extreme rarity for me. The reality is most of my days are spent in work. Life is work — a lot of it. Parenting has its amazingly precious moments like when my 2-year-old falls asleep in my arms or watching my children throwing leaves in the air while laughing. Yet, the reality is there’s the drudgery aspect and the hard work. If you still have a “Cinderella” view of parenting, it’s probably because you aren’t a parent or are not being honest. The truth is some days, (thankfully they are once in awhile) I feel that I should check into a hospital or wonder if my kids will wind up in prison. Then, other days I find myself filled with a quiet joy as I have watched my child do something amazingly selfless or kind. Those moments are monumental to me.
When I was single, I used to watch moms of 11 children parent with such grace and joy. It looked so easy. My own mom made parenting look pretty easy. We knew our parents loved God. We knew God was real in their lives; we knew they spoke with much wisdom. We knew they were our authorities. We knew they loved us. I taught others children in the classroom, at camps, at Bible clubs, and I even trained others. I babysat. I thought that as a mother, I would open my mouth and great wisdom would pour forth. I would be patient all the time. I thought that my children would be these perfectly behaved miniature adults, with Godly behavior most of the time.
Then I became a mom! At first, there were adjustments, but I soon fell in love with my precious baby and life seemed almost dream-like. Then at only 16 1/2 months, he became a big brother. Suddenly, I had two babies who had great needs. I felt torn and wasn’t sure how to balance it all. Suddenly, my Cinderella bubble had popped. Close to when my second son was turning one, I was once again comfortable with life. (Ha! Ha! God says, “Comfortable? I haven’t called you to live comfortably selfish. I have called you to growth and to die to self.”) Then, I found I was pregnant again! In three years time, I had given birth to three boys. I quickly adjusted and life moved along ’til my third child became more mobile. Suddenly, I realized that I was not able to be the perfect mom. God was showing me that I was not able to go in my own strength. He was stretching me beyond my comfort zone. He was teaching me that I was completely dependent on Him. He was revealing my own pride and bringing me to the humble admission that I am not the perfect mom. In fact, sometimes I wonder why God even gave me these precious children to raise. Yet, He did! God was revealing His amazing grace, mercy, compassion, forbearance towards me!
So as I sat in Paneras this morning, I knew that these moments are rare and appreciated, but life isn’t about Paneras. It isn’t about having a comfortable life. It isn’t about having the “perfect” and “controlled” life with everything planned just as I want. If I think that I will have the “perfect” life by having more fun times like Paneras, I will be sorely disappointed. Truly it’s quite empty in itself. For me it was a time to be refreshed and to have time to think and rejoice in God’s blessings to me and in His goodness. It was a time that God used to revive my heart and to remind me that my life isn’t about my circumstances; it’s about my attitudes and outlook. I can be the happiest woman on the earth while cleaning poopy messes and hanging up the 1000th load of laundry if my heart sees it as an opportunity to serve my Lord and as I recognize that my highest calling, most fulfilling job, greatest blessings today is for me to simply raise my children as unto the Lord. No, it’s not a “Cinderella” life; but it’s a much more fulfilling life! Afterall, I am a mother.
We told our boys a few nights ago that we are having another baby. Since then, the boys have said some of the following things:
Drew: “I can’t believe there is a baby in your belly.” “Mommy, can you sometime show me the baby in your belly?”
Luke: “Is there really a baby in your belly?”