“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” ~Psalm 103:11
Dear praying friends,
Three weeks ago I attended a Christian mom’s speaking/writing/blogging retreat called the MomHeart Leader-in-Training Conference hosted by Sally Clarkson of Whole Heart Ministries. She is not only a dear friend and fellow homeschooling mother, but is also a gifted and anointed speaker, teacher and author on the subject of a godly mother’s calling. My purpose for going? To seek God’s leading for this new season of my life.
Flying out to Colorado Springs for the retreat, however, was not easy for me. I had not been there since Chris passed away last October, and as I looked out the window at Pike’s Peak while we made our landing descent from 30,000 feet elevation I found that tears flowed freely. Memories came rushing back and I relived scenes from Chris’s last days with us there in the Springs. The poor man next to me must have thought I had a powerful fear of flying!
Believing God wanted me here, I asked Him for grace to step foot on the ground my dear Chris last saw in his earthly life. “Lord, You have called me to walk this new path alone with You. My life is Yours; my hands, my feet, my voice, my heart—it’s all Yours. Please use this time to whisper in my ear, to stir my heart to do Your will, for Your glory, O Lord.”
With about 40 mothers who share a passion to encourage moms through writing, blogging and speaking, Sally and other speakers shared their experience and their vision for reaching mothers with a message that is so critically needed—encouragement to see their high calling from God as nurturers, teachers and mentors of God’s Word and of all this is true, beautiful and good.
MY MOTHERHOOD STORY…HIS-STORY
I have loved being a mother to seven wonderful children! Oh, the stories I could tell—of crazy days, sweet heart connections, hilarious escapades, scary episodes, touching spiritual moments when we felt closer to the Lord and to each other, and on and on. What a privilege it is to be a mother—knowing that God has placed these seven eternal lives in my life! I love this place God has called me, yet also realize I am woefully inadequate to fulfill this calling on my own.
When I look back over the last 23 years as a mother though, I see more often than not just that one set of footprints the famous poem talks about. God has carried me when as a new mom I knew nothing. I had no training but relied on books and a few mentors, godly moms who were just a few years older than me, but light years ahead in wisdom and experience.
Even after I gained more understanding about parenting with each child God gave us, He wanted me to clearly know it was only and always by His grace I could be a mother that could please Him. He gave us seven children in ten years! Considering that as an early teen I said I never wanted to have children (I had the very unfortunate experience of babysitting some kids who were real stinkers!), this is nothing short of a miracle.
And for those who might be wondering—“Yes, I know where babies come from.” and, “No, I wasn’t crazy to have all those children.” Chris and I believed God knew best how many children we should have, and He gave us the faith to let Him decide. I’ve never regretted His decision once.
SEVEN CHILDREN, SEVEN BEAUTIFUL STORIES
Subsequent to being told after Bethany our first child was born in 1987, that I would probably never be able to have children again (I almost died that year from an initial onset of ulcerative colitis), I was thankful for each precious child the Lord allowed us to have!
That first year with Bethany I was wasting away from my, at-the-time, untreatable disease. I lost 50 lbs. in five months, could only eat green pea soup and Ensure, and got so weak and sick doctors were concerned for my life.
Even still, those baby days with Bethany were none-the-less, sweet ones as I cared for her from my bed, with such love, support and help from Chris. I remember wondering, though, if the Lord was going to allow me to live to see this precious child grow up into adulthood, get married and have children of her own. The Lord was merciful, however, and sent us a doctor whose treatment brought relief to my condition, slow healing and renewed strength and energy.
Two years after Bethany was born we wanted another child, but I could not get pregnant. We asked the Lord for almost a year to give us another child before He finally answered. I remember the doctor’s visit where my first sonogram failed to detect a heartbeat; I was on the verge of tears at the thought of losing this child.
Expressing her concern, the attending very pro-life nurse thought using an internal wand might help determine if our baby was alive or not. After some minutes her heartbeat was finally heard. Oh, how I then cried tears of joy and thanked my merciful, heavenly Father! Just short of three years after Bethany’s birth our precious Megan was born in 1990.
Next came dear Jesse, the son Chris and I had been longing for two years after Megan was born. I remember his birth so clearly as if it was yesterday, for his was the birth I got to watch. He made labor seem almost easy after Bethany’s 32-hour all-back labor! Seeing him born, all nine pounds of him, was an awe-inspiring moment.
Shortly before Jesse was a year old, Chris and I visited some friends who had six pretty rambunctious little kids—now, that was a memorable experience! Over dinner on our date night shortly after that visit, we have a conversation that went something like this:
Chris: “No one should have that many kids!”
Me: “I agree totally. Don’t you think we have the perfect number of children now? I mean, three kids; that’s a great number,” not realizing at that very moment we were pregnant with our fourth child!
Eight months later, in March of 1994 our sweet Susanna was born. She and Jesse were only a year and a half apart, and I remember for the first time feeling like life was a bit out of control! Four children six and under—how on earth do you juggle that?
Well, God definitely has a sense of humor for In 1994 I became pregnant again when Susanna was just five months old. Chris had recently been diagnosed with MS toward the end of that year and his health was declining rapidly. Then came the call from the doctor wanting to do a follow-up for some abnormal blood test results.
Two days before Christmas I had the sonogram that revealed not one child but two—Merry Christmas! Twins were the last thing I ever expected to have. On top of Chris’s recent diagnosis of MS, my pregnancy was a high-risk one. Amy, our smaller twin was actually falling behind in development. At this point she was three weeks behind but later in the pregnancy would be two months behind in development.
The weeks that followed were filled with repeat sonograms and predictions from every doctor that Amy would not survive the pregnancy. They only hoped that she would live long enough to give her identical twin sister time to reach viability. Realizing that only God could save our daughters, we fervently prayed over Charity (named thus that God might give her the grace to live up to her name and supernaturally give nourishment to her starving sister). Our prayers for Amy were for miraculous healing and provision for life in the womb.
However God chose to answer our prayers though, we wanted our hearts to be in the place of trusting Him! Amy means “beloved” and since we didn’t even know if we’d ever get to hold this precious child, we prayed she would somehow know how beloved she was to us.
At 29 weeks I went into premature labor, and the doctors prepared me for a severely mentally and physically handicapped child, if she survived at all. After the removal of 3 ½ gallons of amniotic fluid in less than a week from Charity’s sac, God wondrously stopped the build-up of fluid, however, and helped Amy to start growing. This was just one of many miracles God performed in saving these two precious babies!
And at 37 weeks on April 29, 1995, Charity (6lbs) and Amy (2lbs, 13 oz.) were born. Amy was too small to bring home, so after being in neonatal ICU for five and half weeks, Chris and I were grateful when we could finally bring our little 4lb, 7oz peanut home. That was the best Mother’s Day present I ever received!
With overflowing hearts of gratitude for God’s kindness and mercy, we embarked on an amazing journey of raising six children, seven years and under, four in diapers, and nursing two! From my finite perspective, this task to nurture and care for all these little ones was impossible. Yet with God, all things are possible.
God amazingly gave me so much joy those next years—sure we were tired, busy and didn’t have enough hands between the two of us, but the absolute delight of having these precious little ones around us was a truly wondrous time for both of us. The sweetness of those days was some of the happiest of my life. God, You are so good.
Our caboose, John arrived two and a half years later. The largest Klicka baby at 9lbs, 13ozs, John’s big puppy hands and feet inspired me to nickname him “our little man.” Even at two and three, though he was short for his age, because of his personality and demeanor folks would say, “Why, he’s a little man!” to which we replied God had given us that very nickname for him. At a very early age, John had a tender heart toward God and a maturity beyond his years.
THE WEIGHT OF PROMISES
“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” ~Acts 2:39
And now my “little man” is twelve. God knew what He was doing when He made each child the way He did. I have no explanation as to why God called my husband home when my youngest child was only 11 years old. I don’t understand why He has commissioned me to raise five teens as a single parent—it is so rewarding but also the most labor-intensive, God-dependent time in my life! It is a mystery that must wait for its answer in heaven.
Do I miss Chris’s unique gifting as a father and spiritual leading? Of course. Do I feel woefully inadequate for this task of shepherding my children’s hearts alone? Yes. Is my perspective often that of looking up at the mountaintop from the shadow of a dark valley? Absolutely. As I parent five young adults and two grown children, do I know what I am doing? No, not really.
I do know this, however—God, who is supremely wise and who does all things well, has called me to be my children’s mother for His glory. He has given me His Word and an abundance of promises upon which I can stand all the days of my life, including in this very challenging new season as a parent.
God has also given me children who have the capacity to both grieve the loss of their daddy and look back and see God’s goodness through the last 15 years of our lives together. Is this not amazing grace?
I am so blessed to have seven remarkable children. Even more, I am astounded to have such an incredible God I can call Father. And when I look at my current situation—as inadequate as I am, as challenging as this season is —when I lean hard upon God’s true, unshakeable, inerrant promises, my perspective becomes one from about 30,000 feet. And that view is very good indeed.
As we prepare for entering this new school year I would be grateful for your prayers that God would help me both in planning and teaching. May I not give in to the enemy’s pressure to put anything above being my children’s mom first and foremost, not even their education. May He help me to rest in all His plans for us and unshakeably know that everything He does is for our good.
Thank you for praying for us!
God is good…all the time,