Friday, December 18, 2015

It's Worth the Effort

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I've had a rough year health wise. Looking back at our miscarriage, the deaths of many friends and family, and the big work load, I attribute much of it to heartbreak and stress. Just three weeks ago, I looked like I was near 60 instead of 50! I am looking better and am thankful for a body that can heal itself. 

During the long months I struggled to keep going, Amanda, 21, has come home and frequently looked at me, felt my forehead for the telltale low grade fever, and told me to go to bed and rest. 

Bethany, 12, has often asked me, "Mom, can I get you anything?"

Brandon, 23, buys me gourmet chocolate or some type of special treat every so often. He use to hide them in my room to surprise me until he moved out. When I thank him, his eyes mist up, and he says he's just watching out for me. 

Now that my health has improved, I am back at the treadmill. However, I gave Brandon my display cabinet which is where I set my ice water mug. I casually mentioned to Caleb, 14, that I was worried I'd fall when I bent down to get my cup off of a 5 gallon bucket. He found two shelf brackets and made me a perfectly sized shelf for my cup! As my strength has improved, I've been able to walk a lot longer. Caleb noticed and has come to check on me to make sure I was OK. I thanked him for looking after me. "Mom, you look after everyone else so I figured I'd check in on you."

On the 12th, the children were gathered to watch Ant Man, so I decided to sit with them and cut the sausages for the next day's meal to redeem my time. Joshua, 16, who has been waiting so eagerly to watch the movie, quietly left while the movie was playing. I looked at him curiously as he left. He came back with a knife, grabbed sausages from my large stack, and began slicing. I choked back tears as I said, "Thank you, son."

Keep teaching your children, mamas. I know, when you have been up with the baby all night, have chased toddlers all morning, have dealt with one bad attitude too many, are trying to recover from a virus, and catch up the housework, you don't want to do anything else. In fact, the thought of adding one more thing makes you feel like you will collapse! I've wrestled inwardly with my tired flesh and got up and taught the child who was misbehaving that self control is possible and a trait worth having. Imagining a spoiled, sassy child was enough to get me up to give instruction. Keep teaching them by your example. When they are having a hard day, help them accomplish their chores. Minister to their hearts because they need not only your example but to also feel the effects of it. Correct bad behaviors, and teach the importance of self discipline. Don't shelter them from the world so that sin takes them by surprise and ensnares them. Call sin you see in the world around you out and list possible consequences of it. When you fail in deed or attitude, stop, admit it, and apologize for it. Real parenting is tiring work that stretches and grows us, but it is so important. 

I am seeing the gardens in my children's hearts, which I tended so carefully and prayed over so sincerely, bear fruit. Not only do I see God's work in their lives, but I am touched by it as they now minister to me. This has been surprising because I didn't expect to receive anything in return as I mothered them. I kept at it because I wanted them to know the Lord and do what was right. All my weary and often flawed efforts combined with God's grace has turned around and is blessing me in so many ways. Keep going, mamas. I know the road is rough, but it's worth the journey.

Galations 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.