Young Mother, Every Moment Makes a Difference

by tklicka on October 25, 2014

Sometimes I have to come out of hiding and write something. I would actually like to write more often, but alas, I’m in a perpetual busy season of life. I once thought when my homeschooled children grew up, and graduated from homeschooling, got married, etc., things would start to slow down a little.

If you are a young homeschooler, I hate to break the bad news…things may NEVER slow down for you. Don’t be too discouraged, however. There are many good things in store for you in EVERY season of life, even if they are ALL busy!

I just entered a new phase – Grandmahood (yes, my spell check is telling me I just made up that word. It’s okay; I like it, so I’m going to keep it). It’s a wonderful season – I’m saying that in faith really, since my granddaughter is only five weeks old, but I trust it will be true for the next 20-30 years, if I live that long!

Jacquelyn smiles for her grandma

Holding my little granddaughter Jacquelyn brings back memories of holding my own tiny infant children in my arms, smelling their intoxicating baby scent, melting when they smiled at me for the first time, feeling the incredible softness of their baby skin, and tasting pure sweetness when kissing their slightly pudgy cheeks. It’s a little like reliving those sweet baby days all over again.

And yet, it’s so very different. I’m not Jacquelyn’s mommy; my dear daughter Bethany is. It’s time for her to enjoy the sweetness of her own tiny, flesh and blood daughter, and savor the thousand memories being made, moment-by-moment of each day.

Bethany and Jacquelyn, minutes after her birth

I am surprised that keeping my daughter and her daughter at arm’s length, so to speak – so as to not rob mom of the treasure of getting to know her daughter as she cares for her – is not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I am so very happy for Bethany being a first-time mother!

It’s true, that being a new mom is rather commonplace (how many millions of mothers have there been since Eve?) Yet, it is simultaneously as wonderfully unique as each snowflake that falls from the sky. No two moms, babies, or experience moms have with their babies are exactly alike.

I want my daughter to discover the things I have loved best about mothering a new child

Besides the smiles, sounds, smell, and feel of a little one in your arms, there’s learning to understand how your baby communicates what she needs, and then feeling fulfilled knowing you are meeting her needs. Making her laugh when you play with her, watching her learn new things almost every day, and seeing herm move from fear or pain to feeling secure or comforted because you are there are not insignificant moments.

I also want my daughter to know that the hard times – sleepless nights, physical exhaustion, and time spent trying, yet failing to console her baby in her distress – are important and do not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father. Her sacrifices are met by His gentle smile, and He is there with her in these moments, eager to offer His compassionate grace and help when she turns to Him.

Bethany is such a good mom!

Our involvement with our babies, in all their moments, even from their earliest ones is life-shaping and immensely meaningful.

I want my daughter to know this, even as I remind myself of this truth.

Why? Because I think today’s mothers are more tempted than ever to diminish the significance of their role in their child’s life, perhaps more so when their child is a baby.  The world shouts to them through every possible means, that a mother’s identity, purpose, and fulfillment are to be found more outside of the home than in the home.

The message that being out there in the workplace is where a mom can change the world and make it a better place may be hard to resist, especially when a new mother’s days are filled with changing diapers, feeding, burping, bathing, etc. By themselves, these activities can be mundane, even for the most content, happy-to-be-at-home mom.

A mom who is aware, however, that God has given her a baby with a heart and soul and mind – a living being made in God’s image – can find purpose in every moment of her life as a mother. By her love and care of her infant, she is helping shape that wee one into the man or woman her baby will one day be.

That baby, before she knows it, will become a busy toddler, followed soon by growing into an eager, active child, and will all too quickly mature into a young adult.

It is impossible for us to know ahead of time just how much the moments we invest in our children’s lives will make a lasting impact on their hearts and minds. We aim for faithfulness, and leave the impact to God. Thankfully, He is always creatively and intimately at work in each of them, even when they are tiny babies.

Every moment is precious and significant.

Young mom at home – giving your baby the precious gift of love and care, day in and day out – you are changing the world and making it a better place. This is the message I want my daughter to hear, the message I pray she hears with all her heart and soul.

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Why Marrying Again is Good…

by tklicka on August 3, 2014

Okay, perhaps I’ve gotten your interest with his title. For those of you who don’t know me, you may be wondering, “What on earth is this woman talking about? Is she promoting divorce and remarriage???

For those who do know me, you’re aware that my marrying again is the result of being widowed in 2009, when my best friend, Chris Klicka, joined the worshiping throng of believers before God’s throne after fighting and finally losing a devastating battle with MS. Truly, my loss, his gain.

Yet, God loves bringing life out of death. Hope out of despondency. Joy out of sorrow. He has done that for me and countless others who have walked through saying goodbye to the love of their life. Did we ever think when we got married in 1984 that we would only have just over 25 years together? No way. But we never get to write the story of our lives. Only God gets to do that.

Holding my husband’s hand the last two weeks of his life, as I remembered both countless precious moments and many tremendously difficult ones, my thoughts would turn to thinking about my family’s future. How was I going to care for and teach my children without my husband by my side? I also wondered how I would provide for them, but I knew God would take care of us, just as He has always taken care of all our needs.

It wasn’t until a year after Chris died that I even thought about my future. Would I ever marry again? Would I want to? What would marriage to someone else—most likely completely different from my husband—look like? I couldn’t even begin to imagine. I only knew that God was already WAY ahead of me. He was charting out my future in His goodness and love, long before I ever got there.

Peter and I met in 2011 under slightly unusual circumstances—online, through a dating site called Christian Café—yet after dating for the next several months, both of us were clearly aware God was bringing us together. And today is our second anniversary already!

Honeymoon in Italy.post

Marrying again…a new chapter of life

When Chris and I married, we were just “kids,” barely out of college, growing up together with our whole life ahead of us, like clean, blank pages of a book, just waiting to be written upon.

Peter and I, on the other hand, have brought our pasts with us into our marriage—his independence and years used to living alone (think peace and quiet, but also rather dull at times!), vs. my busy years raising and teaching seven children, and being a support for Chris in his ministry and with his MS (think loud, crazy, and fun, but also challenging and very difficult at times!)

What has this meant for our marriage, and why is marrying again good?

  • Being married a second time gives you an opportunity to learn how to love someone in a fresh way. Your new spouse has a different set of needs and desires, and you get to learn all over again how to show love in a way that meets their unique needs.
  • Of course, being married again also gives you an opportunity to be loved in a whole new way. Peter’s quiet ways and listening spirit have communicated care in a very different, but very deep way to me on many occasions.
  • God provides you, through your spouse, strengths you didn’t know you needed, and weaknesses He will use to sanctify you and grow you in your faith. Our differences are painful at times, but through Peter, God is stretching me in new ways to see His goodness and grace. It’s sort of like my having to use muscles I’ve never really used before. The more you exercise these unused muscles, however, the easier and less painful it gets.
  • I’m seeing a part of God’s wisdom, creativity, and love I would never have witnessed had I not married again.
  • New experiences and adventures lie ahead to be shared! I am especially looking forward to becoming a grandparent for the first time (of many I hope!) with Peter.
  • In marrying again, I’ve been given a second chance to celebrate little things more, and handle conflict more constructively.
  • In widowhood, you know how desperately you need God. Even though I’m remarried, however, I’m re-learning that I must still depend on God for everything. Widow or not, God has been and always will be my provider. He is the One to whom we should look for everything we need. This is always good for my soul, and I don’t ever want to forget this truth!
  • Being married again reminds us what a gift from the Lord marriage is. It is the primary means of living out the reality of the gospel on a day-to-day basis. We don’t always do it well; we do always have the promise of God’s help for every communication, financial, health, or any other challenge we face. The closer we draw near to Him, the closer we become to each other.

Celebrating two years of marriage with my second husband—my best friend and the love of my life—certainly looks different than my first marriage, but it’s good…all good.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also lovedyou and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to Godas a fragrant aroma.”            ~Ephesians 5:1

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Get Your Kids Outside this Summer!

June 26, 2014

My children grew up on a patch of land bordering a 15-acre lake most of their lives. Being a homeschooling family of seven gave us countless opportunities to get outside and soak up God’s creation…right in our own backyard. Oh, the memories my late husband and I made with our kids in years of summer […]

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Thoughts About Being Your Mother…

May 9, 2014

The first time I laid eyes on you, just seconds after your birth, I wondered how I ever lived before you arrived. Thousands of mothers before me have testified to forgetting the pain of childbirth in that moment. I concur. Wholeheartedly. Seeing your rosy pink skin, touchy its softness, smelling that unique baby smell of […]

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You Can Have the Perfect Home School…and Other Myths!

March 7, 2014

I’ve been hearing from several moms lately going through the mid-winter homeschooling blues… “We never have a normal school day!” “My kids are driving me crazy!” “I just wish I didn’t feel so tired (or sick) all the time.” “I can’t teach my children all they need to know; what was I thinking?!” I’ve been […]

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Celebrate National Grammar Day!

March 6, 2014

To all my homeschooling mom friends–today happens to be National Grammar Day. I’m using it as an opportunity to LAUGH! I’ve been grading my kids’ papers for years, and still don’t feel like I totally have the hang of catching all the grammatical errors…I’m still making them myself! I saw this list “How to Write […]

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New Goals for a New Year

January 13, 2014

New Year…new start. Don’t we all want to start with new goals for the New Year? I know I do. I’m a doer. I like making lists. I like checking things off my lists. I’m a I-want-to-do-big-things-for-God kind of person. My temptation at the beginning of a New Year is to DO more, and DO […]

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This is for you dads out there…

October 21, 2013

I have seven children who all loved their dad. Even though he had MS for 15 years before his passing, which meant he couldn’t do a lot of things most “normal” dads can do–throw a football around, teach a child how to ride a bike, walk on the beach, or go hiking–each one of my […]

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