I am so thrilled to let you meet a dear friend of mine ladies. Ruth Shelley has had a wonderful impact on my life as a young 20year old learning what it is to be a mom. Her heart for her children continues to this day to touch my heart. From living in the same city for a year to from a distance watching the growth of a woman learning to see her children grow up, move out and get married. I see a godly woman who is learning through the good the bad the joys and the trials. Enjoy this post from her heart.
These last few months I have been contemplating many things about motherhood. I have been missing the many stages of child rearing and growing up with the kids. I think I have been trying to let go because our youngest of 7 has just turned 18 and so now we are no longer the parents of 7 children, but of 7 adults. I have very mixed emotions about all of these changes. I am thrilled that our children have all grown up into wonderful adults. Five of them have married wonderful spouses and we have four beautiful grand daughters. We are anticipating the birth of grand child number five in another month. All of these things are great, but I miss the" being a mom" part of my life. It is different now. They don't need me the same and I am not there primary teacher anymore. Then a thought occurred to me, I was not the only teacher in our midst. Each and every one of my kids taught me a life skill or a life lesson while we were all growing up together. I would like to share with you now the things I learned from my kids and hope that you find encouragement in it. Even in the darkest moments of motherhood, God is using those very experiences to make you into who HE wants you to be!!!
What I learned from my kids:
Joshua our number one child
~ Being my first he taught me about beginnings. Firsts!! I also learned my vulnerabilities as a person. I had a little life, a person depending on me for the first time ever. What if all my ideas didn't work? What if I failed? I believed at this time in my "motherhood" that I had all the answers. My children would love and serve the Lord. They would love everybody and adore me. I have learned humility from Joshua. I didn't have all the answers. He has shown me that he had and still has a mind of his own and makes his own decisions whether they be good or bad. I have learned acceptance from that. As for adoring me......I don't think he should. He loves me for sure, but adoration is for his wife and especially for his Lord. I have learned to step down off that "he can only learn from me pedestal" and have chosen to allow God to teach Joshua. One of the biggest things I learned with Joshua is that only God can save ....I can't!!!
Jacob our number two child
~What I learned from Jacob. First of all that there is no such thing as second best. All kids are the best!!! I learned to trust Jesus with Jacob's life. Which later in his life taught me the power of a blessing and the power of a name. I feared for Jacob's life when he was a baby. Two of my friends lost their babies to crib death. So I feared so much that I may loose him that I pushed him away. I loved him, but I didn't give my whole heart to him. Later I realized I robbed him of a blessing. When he was a teenager I wrote him a letter and blessed him and apologized for pulling away from him when he was a baby. There was power in that blessing...in his life and in mine. It was through that experience that I learned God always gives us another chance....always!!!! When I realized the power of the blessing I also realized the power of his name....Jacob which God changed to Israel....His chosen. Jacob is chosen of God.
Priscilla our number three child
~Priscilla has taught me the power of prayer. I had two sons and wanted a daughter, a little girl. So I prayed for a little girl. For the first time I recall, God spoke to my heart and told me he had answered my prayer. I found out I was pregnant and knew right away, it was a girl. Many times during the difficult years of Priscilla's life I would remember that God had given her to us. She was an answer to prayer!! Many of the most amazing lessons I have learned in my Christian walk are because of Priscilla's life. Many answered prayers...many shining spots of gold. She has shown me there is more power in prayer, peace in prayer and comfort in prayer than in any other thing in my life. What a gift to have been given from God.
Amos our number four child
~Amos has taught me about sensitivity and compassion. When Amos was little he was so sensitive to others needs. He was so concerned about people's souls. He would see an accident on the TV news and wonder if they knew the Lord. I didn't have that sensitivity. Amos taught me about it. He was sensitive to wrongdoing and always wanted to make things right. This was sometimes a burden to his heart, but it taught this mother much. The times we apologized to teachers and principals for things he thought about doing...he didn't do them...he thought about doing them!!! These opportunities allowed us times to share our faith. Amos has always been sensitive to God's calling, he has fought it, but that too has shown me the spirit of man pitting against the spirit of God. He has taught me to follow God's leading and prompting or I won't be happy!!
Seth our number five child
~Seth brought us the gift of laughter. He has taught me that I need to laugh. There were so many times in our life when things were so difficult for Steve and I and Seth would come into our room late at night. He would start talking to us, but would end up doing a stand up comedy routine that would have us in stitches. The more we laughed the more he performed. Those were times of relief and respite for Steve and I. Seth brought laughter into our home in many ways....he still does!! God said laughter is like medicine for our soul...He is so right. To cry from laughing so hard is such a gift. Now when I am stressed I want to laugh or watch something funny. Steve and I try to laugh together. Seth our funny gifted son gave us that wonderful gift. Through it we have had great times and find peace. He has taught us much.
Isaac our number six child
~Isaac has taught me about being faithful and consistent. Out of all the kids, Isaac is the most like his dad. His personality is steady and faithful. He is not overly emotional or outgoing, but you can depend on him. He has taught me to stand firm, to be consistent and to follow and believe what I know is in my heart.. If I see a need...meet it, even if it is just picking up something and putting it away for somebody. Isaac always sees the need and faithfully follows through. He has a depth of stability that astounds me, even though he has insecurities and fears. I admire his faithfulness and he has taught me to be unwavering. I have seen his devotion on sport teams, in the family and mostly towards the Lord. His heart is tender with depth. I can still learn from him.
Leah our number seven child
~Leah has taught me that I can be strong in who I am. That I shouldn't worry or care about what others think of me. I am so amazed at the security and confidence that Leah has. She has taught me to be more like her!!! I have been ashamed of my pride and vanity when I am with Leah. She is so very comfortable in her skin and with who she is...both physically and spiritually!! She believes what she believes and speaks up. She has taught me courage. I have learned that I am who I am and who God made me to be and I have accepted that. I have learned to like and try new things because of Leah. She has a courage that I am still trying to develop. She has a boldness that comes from the Lord.
I hope this inspires you all as moms to look at your children and see their uniqueness. To ponder over their personalities and to see how they impact your life. Even the tough moments teach us something about ourselves. Always be teachable and allow the Lord to mold you into the woman that He longs you to be. Those beautiful gifts, your children, that He has entrusted to you can also become the most amazing teacher you will have in your life!!! God Bless!!!