If you wait long enough, ….!

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Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!

Psalm 31: 24

So many eras I didn’t think I would live through—-crying babies with colic; ear infections and nocturnal asthma; hysterical fits and fusses and tantrums for never ending years, one day at a time, with a mysterious child with adhd, ocd and odd; marriage struggles between me, a totally romantic, relational woman married to a totally rational, organized man who had to work way too many hours to keep this family afloat; messes,  rejections from family for our ideals; 17 moves; loneliness, too little help or support systems; financial crisis; illnesses and hospitalizations and testings never ending; church splits; irrational people; and on and on.

Today, as I look back, I am still here, but God has changed me through it all. I am more patient with everyone, because I see how much I needed patience and still need compassion. I appreciate my faithful husband who has stuck with me through it all and has continued to dream of how we can change the world and write new books and keep this ministry afloat, (amidst him doing 4 loads of laundry last weekend, while I grocery shopped, bought birthday presents–again, and wedding presents for family).

The failures and mistakes I made gave me humility–a gift that allows one to be more appreciative of God’s forgiveness, love and grace. Humility prepares one to minister to others with compassion and sympathy. Few leaders are wise without a dose of failure and having to submit to God’s discipline. Children have a way of humbling mamas.

I see that I appreciate the Lord more, I am less attached to this world,  because after many disappointments, I have finally realized in my heart as well as my head, that this world is temporary, the broken place and heaven gives an anchor in the midst of taking our love for this world out of our hands.

I don’t really care as much what other people’s opinion of me is, because I know that I cannot please others and than my audience is the Lord. Only He can make me feel ok and centered with so much potential for failure in the eyes of someone who is looking and wanting to tell me their opinion.

I greatly enjoy my adult children as my best friends. After all of these years, our tastes were developed on the same food, movies, books, travel, spiritual experiences–Clay and I built our own kindred spirits and we all love being together.  (Maybe through all the struggles, my efforts at keeping going, training them, reading to them and telling them passionately about the Lord was really accomplishing eternal results in their hearts–but I didn’t always feel like it mattered at the time when they were fussing over things like, “He touched my toe! or His piece of brownie was bigger than mine–and all of these very important issues.)  I am pretty relaxed with Joy  as a 17 year old in college, because I know the Lord will faithfully guide her, teach her, speak to her and protect her–because I have seen Him be faithful three times before now.

I often didn’t think I could make it through another day, depressed, exhausted, overwhelmed. Feelings were often dark. But I had no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. God knew I could make it. God breathed life into my children’s souls. God taught Clay and me more about unconditional love and grace. As a good Father, the Lord was training and disciplining me, as His own child. Stretching me and building into my life, by using my own children as a soul-shaping tool. He is so good and so faithful. My family and my life became the road to my ultimate joy and freedom from the things I thought would fulfill to the things that truly fulfill. He used them to surgically remove some of the rough edges, expose the immaturity, remold my values and thoughts.

I still have my ups and downs, sometimes sadness and dark thoughts that a fallen world brings, and don’t know how my children’s stories will sort out, but I am more familiar with the process and the Trainer.

So, this week, though still filled with more and different kind of issues, I,

Thank you, my sweet Lord, for your wise ways, for keeping us going, for filling our souls with that which matters. Thank you that you helped me to keep going and going and waiting and waiting. How grateful I am that it is all in your good and capable hands. The sweet memories, the hope that comforts, the work that satisfies, all the things I did not know or understand when we first started. Keep me faithful and hopeful as I continue on this path of your making.

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Comments

  1. Tisha says

    Thank you so much!!! After recently completing a Mission of Motherhood study, while in the midst of raising children ages 6,4,3,1 and a baby on the way, I wondered if you ever felt the way I do at times. It’s truly inspiring to hear that you have the same emotions and struggles while working to build a godly family. Thank you for being so honest and thank you for sharing this! How refreshing.

  2. says

    Dear Sally,
    I so needed to read those words today-Thankyou for being so honest & transparent.I often think of you as I am pondering our own journey.Man it is so full-on,some days seem to be me just scraping through & I wonder ‘Is this what it’s meant to look like?’.I am HS mummy to 7yo,6yo,4yo & 6mo bubba.We have just come through sickness & 7yo in hospital & baby not sleeping etc,etc.I tell myself this is a season but sometimes I do feel darkness clouding my mind & everything I see is through negative lenses.Anyway thankyou for pointing me to Him who is faithful,for lifting my gaze to the greater purpose.Many blessings.Skye.

  3. says

    I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago, although I have read some of your books over the last five years. As the wife of a pastor, I am especially grateful for your perspective on homeschooling, family and ministry.
    We still long to find a community where we can feel at home. But slowly God is teaching me to rely on Him for comfort and companionship and to be patient for friends. Even though I have never met you, you have been a very holy friend to me.

  4. says

    I love this in combination with your other, cheerier posts–because these, together, paint a complete picture of what life as a Christian wife and mother is like. There are days where my home looks like a Matisse, and others where it looks like a Picasso! Thank you for honestly sharing. I think imperfection touches other women and helps us all know we’re not alone :)

  5. Joanna Taylor says

    Oh, how I needed to read those words today! This seems like a mirror image of our life. I grow weary in this stage of motherhood, homeschooling 4 kids (age 7-3) while dh is working late hours. The illnesses and never ending issues of training “spirited” children draining all the life out of me. I long to curl up with my Bible almost every moment. I see such hope in your words that one day it will not be for nothing. Lately I have just one dream, that it will be said of me that “God was my best friend.”

  6. Leslie says

    Thank you for these words of truth! I am always blessed to read the words from your heart – they bless and encourage me in the journey of life.

  7. Amy says

    Thank you for the encouragement. It was just what I needed to wake up to after a night of worrying about one of my children.

  8. says

    Thank you for these words today. I just was telling my husband this morning how I feel so defeated sometimes in parenting. (and we are parenting good children) This encouraged and blessed my heart today.

  9. says

    Thank you Sally, for sharing your heart. I am in the thick of it, homeschooling 4 children, ages 12, 10, 8 & 6.
    I am in the “God shaving, squeezing and shaping me” stage. He is using my husband, children, and homeschooling to mold me into the image of His Son. It is wonderful and painful!
    I want to thank you for your words. They encourage me, and give me hope.
    Thank you most of all for continually pointing us to the Father.
    I so look forward to meeting you one day! Either here, or High Tea in Eternity!! :-)

  10. Julie says

    I needed that this morning. Thank you! I just purchase Educating the WholeHearted Child and am really looking forward to reading it. :)

  11. Lydia Parks says

    Hi Sally, I needed to hear these words today…thank you so much! I’ve been raising my four boys as a single mom for 8 years, and I feel like God is preparing me for ministry. However, I have had to endure so very many hardships and lots of waiting, so this encourages my heart! My second son is 12, and is very bright, but displays unusual tendencies, nervous habits, high emotions, etc. At what age did you have your son tested? two people have encouraged me to do this, but I am still unsure.

    Thank you!
    Lydia

  12. Rhonda says

    Thank you, dear Sally. You humble me with your honesty and bless me in the knowledge that I am not alone.

    Rhonda in Monument

  13. Elizabeth says

    What a beautiful post, thank you for your transparency, you are such an
    encourgement. So much of it struck a cord with me. I have felt the rejection, loneliness and have asked myself so many times when presecution has come, Am
    I really making an eternal difference here in my realm, my home? I too am getting over (little by little) caring so much about what others think as long as I know that my audience of one approves of me and my husband, children and I have peace about our decisions. God bless you Sally

  14. Heather says

    Thank You for your honesty about the tough times of motherhood. Too often others make it seem effortless which makes it even more lonely during the tough seasons. This has been a very challenging tough week with my strong willed adhd temper tantrum throwing 4 year old. This brought me a fresh hope to keep going and going. Thank you!

  15. Melissa Swett says

    Sally – Your words have helped me to know that even though we are not perfect mothers, wives, daughters, friends and so on, that’s okay. You have been open in letting your readers know you haven’t been perfect either. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. It has helped me so much. I hope to someday meet you in person. Thanks!!!

  16. says

    Thanks for you open honesty Sally. It is so refreshing to hear someone like you be real. To know that you held onto your ideals even through the midst of struggles. I’m reading Clay’s book ‘Educating the Wholehearted Child’ for the third time at the moment and wonder how I’m going wrong at times. But it’s refreshing to realise that it wasn’t all perfect for you either. You had to figure out how to schedule your family in each season of life – just like me. Thanks. Corinna

  17. Emma says

    Hi Sally

    My eyes pricked up when you mentioned ocd. Can you tell me how to contact you privately about this? Just going through this wit a family member,

  18. Mary Jo says

    Thank you for the very encouraging post! I love how you said, “My family and my life became the road to my ultimate joy and freedom from the things I thought would fulfill to the things that truly fulfill.”

  19. charity says

    Thank you I needed these words tonight. I am on my way to bed tonight after a particularly trying evening. I keep wondering if I will ever be able to reach the heart of my son whom I am so desperately praying for and working for his heart. He is six and I spent a number of years working with children before having my own. My son has the strongest will of any child I have ever met. He and I were both in tears tonight. Tomorrow is another day. It will likely start with snuggles and him telling me all the things on his mind. That will be refreshing.

  20. Toni says

    This was beautiful I am saving this quote to my “mommy Instruction Manual”

    I don’t really care as much what other people’s opinion of me is, because I know that I cannot please others and than my audience is the Lord. Only He can make me feel ok and centered with so much potential for failure in the eyes of someone who is looking and wanting to tell me their opinion.

    I really need to start thinking this way!! I am always worrying about what others think even though I am trying not to. I am still struggling through the baby/toddler years and feeling so lost. This article made me feel so good, Thank You God Bless Your Family!

  21. Angie says

    Oh Sally, what a great post! Actually, just change some of the specific to you details, and I could just about have written it myself! I can relate to so much of what you wrote as I enter the “winter” of my active parenting days. The doors are slowly closing…only about 3 more years and I will be where you are, with our youngest in college. It went so fast, well, some days. Lol You are right, the Lord has a way of humbling you through your kiddos! ;) I have no pride left.

    I’ve endured so many things through 25 years of marriage and parenting, your words “Today, as I look back, I am still here, but God has changed me through it all.” ring so very true. So many times I prayed He would change a loved one, my child/ren, or my circumstances, but instead, in His infinite wisdom, and mercy, sometimes He changed ME. We serve an awesome and loving God.

    Once I got into my 40′s I started seeing myself more through His eyes, (so hard!) not worrying as much about other people’s opinions, having more confidence (still a work in progress) that I have opinions that count, and something valuable to contribute to this world, (above and beyond my amazing kids and my God honoring mommy identity) not sweating the small stuff so much, and experiencing some encouraging confirmations that maybe I didn’t mess up my kids after all with all the times I failed and fell short! Haha.

    Btw: I thought each child was strong willed…the most stubborn I’d ever seen (and I was a preschool teacher and parent educator by training. Believe me, being an “expert” means nothing when you have your own kids! In fact it can even be a bit of a handicap, and in the end it’s all still a faith walk), until the next one was born! My noggin has felt “bruised” at times from all the proverbial “head butting” over the years. ;) I learned, slowly, to pick my battles & what hills were truly worth dying on, tried to say “yes” more than “no”, talk more than yell (failed, repeatedly), give them control, choices, challenges and chances within acceptable limits, and affirm my belief in, and love for, each of them.

    Now, I really like and am enjoying my 2 (male) teens! They are fun (and funny) people to hang with, though still challenging at times. The gray in my hair increases every month and year! My 2 older, grown and gone, kids have had their struggles too, but Praise God, they are contributing members of society who know the Lord. They serve Him and others, making me proud (and causing me to pray) every day. I even got a great “daughter in love” out of the deal. We’re so blessed. To my immense pleasure and vast amusement, people say she’s kind of like me! Well whadaya know…. # 1 son must have thought mama had some good qualities worth looking for in a mate! :)

    • says

      Thank you for this! We young momma’s really need to remember that “this too shall pass” and learn from your examples to trust the Lord in the process. He’s doing something we don’t see. Listening to your story helps me to see the big picture. They will grow up and God will have His way with them, even if it’s not my way or an always easy road. I need the reminder.

  22. Julia says

    These words blessed me. As a mama to a two year old (and one on the way), it can be easy to get caught up in the difficulties of the season and feel discouraged, but it is nice to hear someone else has been there and to have reminders that what we are doing matters. God inspires and encourages me from your own stories and words. Thanks for being open and honest.

    -Julia

  23. says

    I just LOVE this post…I started to read it yesterday and was interrupted…I think that was the Lord because I needed it RIGHT in this moment…thank You, Jesus!

    Praying that prayer with you! I wish I could reach through the screen and hug ya or at least shake your hand! ;)

  24. Andrea@FlourishingMother says

    these words are such encouragement and blessings. thank you Sally for sharing your heart.

  25. says

    Sally, thank you for remembering. Thank you for not forgetting what motherhood on those hard days and long seasons was like. Thank you for not candy-coating it or glossing over it. Thank you for not making it seem less than it was. Your realness and your humility in sharing are what fill and encourage my soul! I truly consider you a mentor and a Titus 2 woman in my life and I am so grateful for your wisdom and transparent heart. I needed this today. I have five young children that I am continually on my face before the Lord for, seeking His counsel and direction, His strength to cover my weakness and His heart to infuse mine. Your words give me such hope and comfort!

  26. says

    This blog really is a fresh cup of grace and truth! I love that you’ve walked the rode I’m own and can look back and say God is faithful and good through the good and bad. I know it sounds sad, but it’s nice to know there were days you were depressed and wanted to give up…and yet God’s grace carried you and you’re here! It strengthens my faith and encourages my heart. thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts. It’s like water to thirsty Momma’s souls :)

  27. Pam says

    I have had the same struggles! I have been reading your books and have been so encouraged – I know it’s going to be worth it all and it is so helpful to hear someone on “the other side” see the evidence that faithfulness and obedience to the Lord will reap a harvest of righteousness in our children! Thank you for sharing and thank you for your message to mothers – that what we do is a ministry!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] So many eras I didn’t think I would live through—-crying babies with colic; ear infections and nocturnal asthma; hysterical fits and fusses and tantrums for never ending years, one day at a time, with a mysterious child with adhd, ocd and odd; marriage struggles between me, a totally romantic, relational woman married to a totally rational, organized man who had to work way too many hours to keep this family afloat; messes,  rejections from family for our ideals; 17 moves; loneliness, too little help or support systems; financial crisis; illnesses and hospitalizations and testings never ending; church splits; irrational people; and on and on. Read the rest at I Take Joy [...]

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