Friday, February 02, 2007

I know I am not alone

I have felt a bit weepy this past week. It is both a physical weariness and a heaviness I have on my heart over many things. Some of the heaviness is for others and what they are facing and the rest is my mother's heart.
The past week or so I have felt the mental, emotional, and spiritual demands of being a mom. The very thought of being someones "mom" has brought me to tears. The love that these children give me in spite of who I am, or what I have done, or what I continue to do and say is so remarkable. A child's love is so pure, genuine, forgiving, and perfectly wonderful. They love their mamas and trust them immeasurably. I believe God created us this way.
Learning to trust God with these lives He has so lovingly entrusted to me is one of the hardest things I have had to do.

I know I am not alone. We all dream of our children growing up happy, successful, beautiful, loving and as God honoring and fearing adults.
I know I am not alone. We all start out in this mothering role with hopes and dreams of our little guys doing well in school, playing sports, revealing wonderful talents and gifts right from the start.
I know I am not alone. I have been through the ballet classes, gymnastics meets, baseball games, and auditions to see all the parading mommies hoping their special child will be the "One". The "one" who shines above the rest, who is selected as the best, or who remains first through the test.

But what do we do as moms when our little "one" is not the best or doesn't' stand out among the rest? Or maybe doesn't even come close? How do we pray? As a mom in the midst of it, it is sometimes difficult to see that God's plans are always the best. We pray the scripture that says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." But we hurt as our child hurts. We cry as our child crys or walks away after being told they aren't the best. We hold on to the promises God has given to us as moms and for our children.

edited: (I removed my daughter's photo)

My eleven year old daughter, Kelsey, said to me the other day as we were discussing some of the difficulty she was having with her school work, "why didn't God give me better brains?" I have to tell you that at that very moment I did not have an answer. In my weariness, I could not bring up any great spiritual wisdom from anywhere within me. As she began to cry and say, "mom, I have struggled in 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade..and so on", I began to weep with her. I wanted and still do so badly to fix this. I want to do something. I wanted to take away the memory of the struggle and replace it with beautiful memories of fun and success. But I can't. My husband and I have prayed for this little girl, looked at everything prayerfully in her little life, we have sought the extra academic help and so on. But as a mama, it is so difficult to bear. I know I am not alone. I want God's best for my child.

As I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning and taking care of things in my home, I prayed for this girl. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed against the standards the world as set up and labeled "successful" in my daughter's life. I thanked the Lord for giving me this child (I had a difficult and scary pregnancy). I thanked the Lord that she is fearfully and wonderfully made just as God had fashioned her before the foundations of the earth. I recalled and prayed many of the promises he has given me for her and through some of the challenges we have already faced and His faithfulness in it all.

And than this morning in my in-box was the most beautiful words of encouragement from the only person who I had mentioned this little conversation to. A gentle and wonderful reminder from the Lord. Here is some of what she said in part as she has explained her own daughter's struggles in school. I have to tell you before you read this that I know her daughter and she is truly a remarkable, beautiful, and extremely talented young woman of God.

I have had so many talks with her over the years to help her see that the brains aren't what God wanted her to excel at- that it could have very well gotten in the way of His plans if she was straight A and locked into that. She has a boldness and a love to share her faith that has born fruit in junior high, high school, college, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and now Kenya. And school was hard for her. Sunday she will sing of her Lord in front of maybe 6,000 people. Not because she did well in school. God has great plans for Kelsey. She is fearfully and WONDERFULLY made to bring glory to God. Keep cheering her on, Momma. You were chosen to be her mommy and so get out your pom-poms and go at it!

Words cannot express my appreciation to this dear friend. She may never understand what "new" life her words gave to this weary mom. A mom who wants only what God has planned for her little girl. But I think she does know for she has prayed and watched God do this for not just one girl, but two, and one more who is still on her way. And of course I won't forget the three sons, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law and six (almost seven) grandkids.

So I am off to make poms poms in my heart and cheer this girl to the finish.

I have never won anything, but I rarely if ever enter contests or other things like this. But this jewelry is so cute and I know someone who would love this necklace so I thought I would join in on the contest fun at 5Minutes4Mom.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I needed to read this today. I needed the reminder, even though my child is 21. It doesn't change when they grow up and get on their own. They still hold your heart!

Carolanne said...

Ditto to what Chris said.
So often we measure our own or our child's success by the world's standard but as your email said, God created us with different talents and abilities for a reason. He does have a special purpose and plan for each one of us, including our children.
I am also trying to teach my students this.

Mrs. Julie Fink said...

Our younger daughter was like this, as a matter of fact, God used her situations to lead me to homeschool both of our girls for 6 years, and I'm so glad I did. What a wonderful blessing He gave me as I spent so much time loving and encouraging (as well as teaching :)!) them during those years. This daughter has grown up to become a very intellegent and useful servant of God and is now married to a godly man who serves God full-time and has a beautiful baby boy who just turned 4 months old today! I'm so proud of her and I am still enjoying a close relationship with both her and her sister (who excelled at everything I might add!).

P.S. And the best part is the heart that she has for those that are struggling like she did. What a blessing she is to them!

melanie said...

both of your daughters have stole my heart. they are honest, open, real, and passionate. they are true princesses of His work.
i read this after a week of struggles and wondering if anyone else has ever faced situations with their daughters, even though a four year old's situation is a bit different. i don't know what the plans He has for her, but I grasp ahold of His promises! sometimes i we think we are alone, and a few blocks away our sister's heart aches as well. much love to you and to your beautiful girls.

Cyndi said...

Your daughter is such a precious young woman! What a dear picture to look at along with reading your post. I started crying! I'm crying because I'm you, the mom, but I'm also crying because I was her. I'm still her. But God used that in me- the fact that academics never came easy at ALL for me- to fuel my desire to succeed when I became a teacher. "Success" for me was to make sure that no kids in my classes ever felt the way I did in school. Now, homeschooling my kids, I need to offer them that extra measure of grace that those school memories spur in me.

It could be that when she goes on to college, finds her "niche" and has a fresh start she will excel. For me it was breaking free of the "label." Once I moved on and started over, determined that I was as smart as anybody, or certainly as smart as God wanted me to be, I made the Dean's List.

Childhood is the only time when kids are expected to be good at *everything.* As adults we have the freedom to say, "Eh, this isn't really my thing..." but kids have to do well at math, geography, P.E., music, foreign languages etc.- ALL AT ONCE! I don't know why we as a society have decided that that's okay.

You are SUCH a good mom.

Natalie Joy said...

Beautiful post. Again, thanks for being so transparent with your life as a woman, wife and mother. Your daughters are beautiful amazing young women. I feel honored to get to watch them grow up and hope to be a positive part of their lives.
I often wonder what school will be like for my little Mel, especially with an academically gifted older brother. I know she will excel in her own talents, but I'm sure we will have moments much like you just described. Thanks for your wisdom before I even get there. I'm sure I will give you a call someday with a tearful "Help, how do I do this?" Thanks again!!

P.S. I have commented on some previous posts.

Deidre said...

Okay, I'm not kidding...this is one of the BEST posts I have ever read. Chris, it's simply beautiful. The honesty you share about your daughter and her struggles and then the e-mail explaining how God wanted to use her child in a different way that didn't include straight A's - well, that's just awesome.

My oldest is only 5, and I haven't had to watch her experience too much hurt from the outside world and it's standards yet, but I know it's coming. It's coming because it IS the world and this isn't our home.

I thank you for this wonderful post. You are not alone. Bless you for having such a heart for your children and for praying for them. Your children will be blessed because of it.

mommy to six J's said...

What a precious post it brought tears to my eyes. My daughter has always been excellent at all that she does and right now she is struggling with a lot of things like anxiety and her bedroom scares her and she dosn't like to be alone. This has been so hard for me to watch her go through this all of this. As her mom the only thing that we can do its pray for our little girls. That through all of this hard ship and trials our Lord and Savior will use this to grow them closer to Him and rely on Him and cling to Him. Especially when they are older and have children of their own Love, Char

Janet said...

Thanks for a great post. I struggle with my 10 year old son and his different ways of learning also. He has one of the kindest hearts, is a smart guy, and funny beyond words. We as parents spend too much time worrying about what the world sees as successful sometimes, and we really need to focus on what God is doing in their little lives, and pray for guidance from Him. We all know that pain and stuggle are part of growth, and that with God's masterful hand, these little miracles can be molded into fantastic creatures, all for His glory. It doesn't matter if they aren't on top of the WORLD, they are always number one in God's eyes, and if we will step aside, and let God do His will in their lives, all will be as it should.

Tina said...

I agree with Mel... she is an amazing daughter you have. SO talented and gifted in many areas...and God will use her with what He has plans for. My oldest struggled through EVERY day of school and we had those very same talks. Yet, God has a plan for her life. I can't wait to see how He uses her leadership and loving traits to do incredible things!

Susanne said...

You know what, Chris. The way your friend encouraged you with those words, you are now encouraging me. I too, have one who does not excell in school, which is hard because her siblings do so well. But she gets wonderful grades in the artistic stuff. That is where her giftings lie. I think you wrote this post just for me. Thank you.

Kelly said...

Chris, you so often write the words that are on my heart. You are not alone, but I know how it is to feel that you are. Just a beautiful, authentic post!

Your daughter is beautiful! I bet she lights up a room with that smile.

Unknown said...

Yes, I think that we all face this. It's so hard to accept what God's given us that we think is "less than ideal," but to watch our kids struggle is even harder.

Kim said...

2 Timothy 2:11-12
For if we died with Him,we shall also live with Him;If we endure,we shall also reign with Him.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore,since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,let us also lay aside every encumbrance,and the sin which so easily entangles us,and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,fixing our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfector of faith,who for the joy set before Him,endured the cross,despising the shame,and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself,so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

Our pastor mentioned these verses as encouragment for those going through difficult times or struggles. I know when our children are struggling,we love to point them to Christ who suffered and endured...surely we can endure our sufferings for His sake. It is a great encouragement for me to think this way.

Praying for your sweet girl and you as you encourage her heart to endure!


Lisa Spence said...

The temptation to adopt the world's standards for what it means to be successful or smart is one I have succumbed to many times, especially in the area of (and please don't judge me here) sports. I am so competitive by nature and my first two sons have some talent athletically. My younger two, however, do not and to my shame, it has been difficult to let them be who they are and not what our world esteems.

When it gets down to it, all that really matters is not grades or starting positions, but that my boys love the Lord Jesus with their lives.

Hang in there, and continue to encourage and intercede for your girl. May she know and rely on the love God has for her! (1 John 4:16).

Girl Raised in the South said...

If grades matter at all, its for a short period of time, then we go out into the world and make a difference because of the person we are,not how gifted we might be. Loved the analogy of a mom with pompoms. xoox said...

I was the child who not only had problems at school, but at home also. But, God used ALL OF IT for His glory! I am continually amazed at how He uses adversity to propel us into our destiny. I love your heart and I feel the very same way as you concerning your children. I am a first time mom at the age of 34 and my little darling is shaping my soul! Many blessings to you! Tracy