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 yours, hearing your gentle breathing and feeling the warmth in each breath had a way of filling my heart to the point of bursting. I knew somehow, when God brought you into my life it completed me in a way I didn’t think was possible.
And yet, each one of your siblings had the same effect on me, over and over. Could I be any fuller than I was at the moment of your birth? With the arrival of each of your sisters and brothers, however, my heart miraculously grew, and I knew it was impossible to ever imagine life without a single one of you.
Your baby and toddler years filled my days with the joy –
- Showing you the wonderful and amazing world God has made—the feeling of rough tree bark and smooth rocks; the sound of birds calling; the drip, drip, drip of rain on our faces; the smell in the air after the rain stopped; the taste of the first honeysuckles on the vine as we sipped the liquid from the blossom!
- Reading more stories than I can count and letting the delicious sound of beautiful words fill your ears and mind and heart, and then later hearing you chatter away as you made up story after story of your own
- Holding you close in my arms or on my lap—trying to communicate with my touch how much you mean to me and how much I want to protect you, comfort you, be there for you; even more, wrapping my arms tightly around you, I wanted to help you understand how very much your Father, God loves you
Your childhood years reminded me how important being a mother is –
- Raising and homeschooling you and your six siblings meant incredibly busy and often chaotic days – always planning, training, teaching, guiding, nurturing—what at a sobering responsibility, yet, I loved being a stay-at-home, life-teaching, leaning-on-God-for-every-moment mom!
- Managing our home – years of stocking, providing, nourishing, organizing and reorganizing, cleaning up, decluttering – I don’t think my life was busier than in those years, but I was made for this. I was the picture of imperfection, but I knew God was helping me, and I did everything with an eye to helping you manage your own home someday (and now you are – and doing marvelously at it, I might add!)
- Loving one another and enjoying who God made us to be crowned our life together – it made homeschooling the absolute best choice. I have never regretted for a single moment hearing the call to lay down so many other good things to give you the best
During your young adult years God showed me He is writing our story – a good story – even when it meant the death of many dreams for our family –
- Because of your dad’s increasingly debilitating MS, God kept rewriting our curriculum – no, I’m not talking about our school curriculum (although we had to make a lot of simplifying changes to that, too over the years); I’m referring to our life curriculum. I came to realize what you were learning about loving, serving, being patient, empathizing with other’s weaknesses, and ultimately, not living for this world, but the next, were the most important lessons all of us could be taught.
- I’ve also learned that the goal of homeschooling isn’t to make sure you have a trouble-free, perfect life – this wouldn’t be achievable, even without all the struggles we’ve had to walk through! No, I think my highest calling is to show, through my life – both in my words and through my example — that God is sovereign and good…all the time. And to encourage you that, in whatever you do each day, make it count for the One who made it all and put you in the middle of it to reveal His glory.
I love who you have become – a woman of truth, beauty, honor. You cherish life and live boldly for God, with anticipation of the good He has planned for you, not clinging to perfection, but redemption.
Each of you children is showing these fruits in your lives in different ways…how rich I am to be your mom.
Looking back, I wouldn’t write the story any other way. Yes, I would do some things differently – I am constantly in need of God’s grace to be His woman – daughter, wife, mother, friend. But being your mom is the abundant life Jesus promised He would give. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Forever yours, dear child,