Thursday, June 23, 2016

21 Years of Motherhood

21 years ago (minus one day) I was timing my contractions from a dentist's chair. They were surprisingly regular and only 10 minutes apart. But I remained doubtful that it was real labor. I still had 5 more weeks until my due date.

We were house sitting (just like we are today) while visiting with Charly's family and friends in Kansas City, sharing updates on our upcoming move to China in the fall. Our plan was to move to Columbia, Missouri two weeks later, with what we thought would be plenty of time before our little one arrived.

When we returned to the house after our teeth cleaning, Charly called our doctor. She confirmed that I definitely needed to get checked somewhere, either in KC or Columbia. We weighed the options and decided on Columbia. While Charly gave his Mom a quick call to let her know, I grabbed a broom. If the baby was really about to arrive, we probably wouldn't be back in this house before our friends returned from their overseas trip.

Would you get in the car!?!

Charly did not feel the same way about leaving behind a clean house. He was now a man with a mission.

For as many times as he had sped down I-70 during college, worried about getting a speeding ticket, this time he had a legitimate reason. We made it in record time, and no one pulled us over. I felt every little bump in the road in our Toyota pick-up truck. And the contractions were getting more frequent.

We checked into University Hospital that evening and settled in for the night, hooked up to monitors.

At 5:25 the next morning our little Caleb Joshua (CJ) made his arrival. And Charly and I became parents.

We had finished listening to a set of parenting tapes in the car the week before and felt about as ready as we could be.

We did still need to make a stop by Toys R Us though on the way home from the hospital, to buy a pack and play so CJ would have a place to sleep (and he was wearing a borrowed baby outfit from the hospital).

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. 
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139:13-16)

Joshua David joined our family in Tianjin in 1996 (10 days after his due date).
And Jordan Elizabeth (one week early) in Lawrence, Kansas in 1998.

Then David Jonathan and Daniel Joseph joined us in Lanzhou in 2013 at ages 7 and 8
(6 ½ years after we started the adoption process).

Each one formed by God. 
Fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Joining our family in His perfect way and in His perfect timing.

This morning David and Daniel joined me at the kitchen table as I was reading the Bible, so I read this passage out loud to them:

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

What does it mean for me as a Mom to quiet my heart before the Lord?
With all of the noise around me, how can I hear His gentle voice?
What is His whisper for me?

The Purpose of Parenting is not about raising "perfect" kids who make me look good as a Mom.

With a parenting focus purely on obedience, it is possible to raise children who can look good on the outside with hearts that are still far from God. Hypocritical.

In the arena of faith, my goal as a Mom is not to make my kids look like me. But to help them develop their own personal walk with God.

God wants me to give myself grace as a Mom instead of evaluating myself by how much I am able to accomplish. 

How can I allow God’s love—through me—to never run out on them?

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." 
(Psalm 139:23-24)

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