The Call of Motherhood | by Kelly

What a blessing motherhood is. I always knew growing up, that it was the only thing I would ever really do. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy other things, oh no, I have had several aspirations and interests over the years, but nothing has “stuck” like mothering. I tell people all the time that I know how to do a lot of different things, just none of it completely well. Once I recognized the fact that maybe what was meant to fill my time 24/7, was motherhood, it was like the gates of opportunity opened to me, the lightbulb went on, and I didn’t have to feel defeated by past failed endeavors anymore.

For the majority of my mothering career, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, with only the occasional part time “job” in the workforce. It’s not that we’re so incredibly wealthy we can swing it financially, quite the contrary. It’s simply that we’ve decided there’s a lot we’re willing to do without, so my girls have their mom with them. To shed some light on a popular issue of comparison and mom bullying, let me just say that our choice for me to stay at home is just that, our choice. Not your choice, not what I think should be your choice, not what I’m comparing to your choice. I believe a lot of people think that moms who stay home look down their noses on those who don’t. I can’t speak for all of them, but I’ll just say that for me, there’s no way I can compare your choices to my own and neither should you do that to me. See, the Lord planted a desire in my heart, called me to this life and even equipped me for it. The real question isn’t what I think of your choices in mothering, it’s what He thinks.

In 1 Chronicles 28:9, the Lord says,

“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”

This verse gives wonderful direction as to Who we should be pleasing. The Lord searches our heart: not the mom down the street, or the ladies Sunday School teacher, not our mom, or even the Pastor’s wife. The Lord. I think that maybe sometimes we look instead to what everyone else around us thinks, because we don’t want the real answer from the Lord.

What is He calling you to today? Maybe that question is answered with exactly what you’re doing in your life already. Praise the Lord for your obedience to His calling on your life! There is no better, or safer place to be than the will of God. But maybe you’ve felt as I have before, that there’s something missing. Maybe you know in the back of your mind what that something is, but you’re just drifting along, afraid to make any changes, out of fear of what others may think, or how it may upset the life you’re familiar with. Let me encourage you to seek the Lord’s will for your life and not what everyone else thinks you should be doing. Let’s face it, motherhood is so very hard, we don’t need to be trying to please everyone around us at the same time!

 

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Consider It All Joy | by Breanna

It’s been one year since I sat nervously waiting – they were late. I cleaned, re-cleaned, and organized some more to keep myself busy. I finally saw a car pull into the drive and my heart raced. She’s here. Our social worker got out first and then lifted the most precious little girl out of the back seat and came to the front door. This beautiful girl came bounding in the door, put her backpack down, looked and me and said, “Hi mom,” and at that moment I thought my heart would burst. She was amazing – so resilient and brave for all she’d been through. After the social worker left, we sat in the living room talking and getting to know one another & she spent a lot of time checking out her new bedroom & toys.

One year before that amazing day was another amazing day – our wedding day. We had a beautiful wedding & we couldn’t wait to start our life together and have a family. However, it didn’t happen the way I would have planned – great things never do really. Each month as time ticked by and I still wasn’t pregnant was tough, but I trusted God and knew he would give me the desires of my heart and allow us to have a family, even though sometimes trusting God is hard – we pressed on and prayed a lot. Then one day my husband and I were talking about a tough situation a family member was facing. She had lost her children and they were in foster care. I was still new to the family, and didn’t know the dynamics and history so I kept quiet – all the while my heart was screaming “why don’t those kids live here?!” Months had gone by and one night it just came out, I said to my husband “I don’t understand why those girls don’t live here.” That was all it took to change the course of our cozy life. He agreed and had been struggling with the same thing but too afraid to say it out loud. We made some phone calls that next week, and things begain to move at lightning speed. Within weeks we had our first precious girl moving into our home and a couple weeks after that – we got her little sister as well! We had always agreed that once we had children I would stay home and be a full time mama – so I resigned from a position I loved at a non-profit to be a full time mama to our beautiful two foster daughters.

Not everyone understood our decision and lots of people probably thought we were crazy. However, lots of people rallied around us. I was truly amazed by the generousity of people – within a week we had a twin bed, a crib, a changing table, toys, books, tons of clothes, car seats – pretty much everything we could have ever needed to make these two girls who had been through so much, feel right at home.

God knows what He’s doing

So here we were raising two beautiful daughters and loving every minute of it. Certainly there were challenges – lots of struggles and days of tears and wondering if we made the right choice. None of those compare though to seeing two children thrive, grow, learn, and be comfortable & feel safe. When we started this journey – we didn’t know how long we would have the girls, but the social worker thought that it would be a long term placement with possible adoption. We were a family – the girls knew and loved our parents as grandma & grandpa, hungout and played with all their cousins and aunts & uncles, and fit right in with our church family & friends. Then one day we found out that they would be going to live with their dad. At first honestly I was mad & then so incredibly sad. I felt like I had been punched right in the stomach. I cried a lot. I prayed – I probably should have prayed more. Because slowly God began to change my heart & I could have never imagined this – but I was glad. I was so happy for the girls. They deserve to have their dad in their life. Girls need good dads. I remember sitting in a Bible study of James and Beth Moore said anguish and joy can coexist. I never knew that to be true until now. I felt anguish over losing our girls and joy that they were getting their dad back.

God knows what He’s doing. He knew what He was doing all along. A couple weeks after the girls came to our home, we found out we were expecting! And now we have a beautiful daughter of our very own. But God used this to open our hearts to the foster system & the needs and we plan to go on this roller coaster again and have dreams of international adoption. The coolest thing is that we’ve been able to build a relationship with the girls dad and we still get to be a part of their lives. They call us aunt and uncle now – we have sleepovers – we take them to church & family events and it is awesome. Only God could have weaved these lives together in such a beautiful way & changed our lives so dramatically and amazingly in just one year. God will give you the desires of your heart – it just might not look like you expect. I wanted to be a mama so badly, yet I could have never dreamed that in one year I would get to be the mom for three beautiful girls.

“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” -James 1:2

If you’re struggling with infertility or some other unfulfilled desire, don’t lose hope & don’t give up. Continually seek God – I know it’s not easy & it’s okay to get mad & be frustrated – God can take it. Just always know that He loves you and He has a plan for you and for your family that you could never even imagine.

What if we had not adopted…Reflections of an Adoptive Mom | by Patty

Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, “What if?”  As an adoptive parent, I have asked this question many times.  “What if we had said no, where would our daughter be?”  “What if we had had our son first, would we have said yes to our daughter?”  How different our life would be, if the “what ifs” really were what had been.

I remember sitting in a courtroom listening to the state make their case to terminate parental rights.  It was heartbreaking.  They do such a good job of making it seem like this child’s parents don’t want her…that if they did, they have done, X, Y, Z.  I remember thinking, “I want her.  I have always wanted her.”  And I thought, how blessed she was to have someone in her life to say those words, “I love you, I want you, and I have always wanted you.  You were the answer to years of tearful prayers and petitions to God.”

I wondered how many children were living this same reality, and there is no one to say, “I love you.  I want you.”  There is no one to rescue them from their reality.  My heart broke.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Perhaps this is not a fair representation of how it really is.  After all, my daughter’s birth mother really did want to keep her, but she couldn’t.  The circumstances that transpired left her with the option to relinquish her parental rights, or her rights would be terminated.  She had to make the most difficult decision of her life, to give up her child, so that her child could be loved and cared for by family that she trusted to care for her baby.  I cannot imagine being in her shoes.

For the longest time, I was angry with my daughter’s birth parents.  Why did they choose drugs over their child?  Why did they behave so irresponsibly?  Why should this child be forced to live with the consequences of their actions?  I was angry.  But then I realized, that it was for this very reason that my daughter came to us, and became ours.  We all had to live in this reality, to deal with the situation as a family, and collectively do what was best for our daughter. 

I don’t understand why we have to endure hardship in order to receive blessing.  Perhaps, the blessing is the manifestation of Isaiah 61:3, “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

My daughter will grow up in a loving home, knowing that she is wanted, loved, cared for, safe, protected, prayed over, and that her family would not let her get lost in the system.  This leaves me to wonder, what if?

What if the answer to the question, what if…is you.

What if every child grew up in loving home, cared for, clothed, fed, encouraged to be who they were created to be?  What if every child grew up knowing they were wanted, fought for, and cherished for they are, faults and all?  What if we stopped fighting over the little things, like public opinion, or who the best sports team is and focused on our children?  After all, they ultimately decide our future. 

Every year 40,000 children become adults without ever knowing the love and security of a forever home.  They are launched into the world without the benefit of bring trained, prepared, nurtured and protected by someone who loves them unconditionally.  The ones they could have called mom or dad, are no longer there, and their future is decided by someone else.  Their life, their residence, their future, was decided for them, and now, they are alone.   What will happen to these children who would become adults?  Children who move from home to home, never to be adopted, never to have a family they could call their own?  What if the answer to the question, what if…is you.

The greatest gift and the greatest responsibility that God has given us, is our children.  They are a blessing that we have been entrusted with.  Consider the parable of the talents and servant who buried his talent, instead of growing it and multiplying it.  The servant who buried his talent, eventually had it taken away from him and given to one of the other servants.

That is the sum of my prayers for my family- that I will be a good mom- that I will help them, not hinder them.

Now imagine, your child is the treasure that you have been entrusted with.  Are you growing it, nurturing it, and helping him become the man that God created Him to be?  Or are your burying him, holding him back, not investing in what could be?  If you are not, ask yourself, what if you did?

I found that when my children are the most difficult, it is because they simply want me.  They want me to love them, to give them my attention, my affection, my love, my assurance that they are ok, that we are ok.  I will be honest, being a parent is hard…and I am not a parenting expert.  I pray daily to become a better wife and mother, to love my children the way that they need to be loved, to help guide them, and not hinder them, to lead them, to be a better example of Christ’s love, that my husband and I would raise them to be the men and woman that they were created to be – to love God, to serve Him and to tell others about Him.  That may seem like a lot, but that is my heart.  That is the sum of my prayers for my family.  That I will be a good mom, and I will help them, not hinder them.

There are so many times that I feel, inadequate, that I am not equipped, that I am not enough for them.  I wrestle with the call to be a mother, and the need to work outside of the home.  But the Lord is so faithful to remind me, that I am enough.  I don’t have to be everything.  He hears my prayers, and He is everything that I need, and that by simply surrendering to Him, He will do the work.  I am enough, because He is more than enough, and He is all I need.

I Love to Wait!! | by Britta

My youngest had just turned 4 years old. He wasn’t a baby anymore and I wanted more children. Well that door had been closed…my husband and I closed it ourselves. Actually we slammed it shut and said “NO MORE!!”

I realized I had made a horrible mistake. I begged my husband. Can we adopt? Can we reverse our mistake? The answer was always no. I began to pray for more children.

The answer was always no. I began to pray

I have to admit in the beginning I did not like waiting. I actually hated it. I remember going into my closet and crying out to God…sometimes in pain, sometimes in anger. Not sure if this happened but I see myself shaking my fists at God saying “Why would you give me the desire to mother more

children if you weren’t going to allow it?” It was a painful time. A time where I did not feel close to my husband. A time where I cried everyday. A time…a long, long time of waiting.

Five years of waiting…five what? Years? Really?

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV

Looking back on that time in my life I can see where the Lord renewed my strength over and over again. I see His faithful hand guiding and shaping me. Even though at times I thought I would faint from the exhaustion of it all Jesus held me up. It’s interesting to me that through every trial in our lives when we are IN the trial we can’t really see much. We are just in it…in it knee deep, waist deep, and sometimes we feel like we are drowning. But looking back I can see God’s sovereign hand upon it all.” 

Hope changed everything for us

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2010 our friends had just welcomed their 8th blessing a brand new bundle of special awesomeness named Hope…I like to say that Hope changed everything for us. You see, she was born with Downs Syndrome and when she was born my husband’s heart was softened to more children. He told me that we could have more. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. The feeling of such deep love from my husband. In January 2011 we decided we would pursue adoption through foster care. I’ll save the story of our first little guy for next time.

Today 8 years later I can say that it was all worth the wait. I am not the person I was 8 years ago. I have a deeper faith, a deeper love, and a deeper longing for my Savior. I’ve had to wait for many things in my life and after this VERY long wait I can honestly say that…

I love to wait!!!

Do I trust God’s plan? | by Seana

Four years ago I stood at my kitchen sink one afternoon nap time sobbing as I held a plate in one hand and scrubbed in a circular motion with the sponge on the other.  “I don’t want my life to be only about diapers and dishes,” I complained out loud.  Over the next few days, God clearly showed me that my life is about serving Him in everything, whether I travel the globe in mission, write the next best seller, abolish modern slavery, or simply follow Him into the next load of laundry.

Do I trust God’s plan?  Do I trust His best for my life?

Today I stood at my kitchen sink again, crying again, grumbling, “I want life to be more about cleaning the kitchen 5 times a day.”

How often I am puffed up with high thoughts of my abilities and think He should place me in another position rather than my current unglamorous assignment.  No one wins the Nobel Peace Prize for loving their families well and taking care of the household.  I am educated.  I am able to do more.  Yes, maybe.  That is not the question at hand.  The question is: Do I trust God?

God knows who we are, after all, He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs and all the days ordained for us were written before one of them came to pass (Ps. 139).  He knows our talents and skills better than we.  No resume or references needed.

 Jesus is simply asking me to love those He placed before me

Please understand, I absolutely love mommyhood and serving my family.  My angst is not the value or treasure of my family, rather my desire to live effectively for the Kingdom.  I think of all the lost out there in the world and want to go and tell them about Jesus.  I think about all the hurting and want to advocate for their deliverance.  I think about all the orphans and want to mother them all.

Yet this is where He has placed me.  This is my portion.  My husband and two young boys are His wise decision for the investment of myself for His kingdom purposes right now.  Maybe there will be orphans in the future for me.  Maybe there will be mission travels again or slavery abolition.  Today, Jesus is simply asking me to love well those He placed before me.  To serve well in the tasks He assigns me and to do all with a thankful heart.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Ps. 46:10

God knows our hearts that long to make the largest impact for the Gospel with our lives possible.  He also knows in the scheme of eternity that sometimes the seemingly simple and modest assignments are the most essential to His long-term Kingdom-come-on-earth work.

He is trustworthy.  His plan is perfect.  Let us embrace our assignments with joy and know… to obey is better than any sacrifice… especially the sacrifice of our family.  Only we can be mom.

Blessings,
Seana