Another October has rolled around and with the chilling of the temperatures and the coloring of the leaves, my mind is forever drawn back to the Fall of ’87 when I, with rounded belly and amusement beyond description, awaited the birth of my first child. At only 17 and not quite sure of what I had gotten myself into, my anxiety grew exponentially with every inch of expansion in my middle. I laugh as I write these words, but it was no laughing matter then…oh the fear, the hope, the dread, and the anticipation…nothing I had ever experienced could compare, and ready or not, my world was about to change forever.
I’ve written many times before, some private between Heather and me, and a few that I’ve shared with others, of the journey into motherhood and adulthood that occurred for me simultaneously. Not something I recommend, but something God has surely used for good as He alone can do in all things.
The overwhelming responsibility of that tiny little babe awakened me to the meaning of the word “Mother.” In a moment, the first I looked into the face of my own child wrapped in my arms, the world forever changed and my heart changed with it in ways too numerous and vast to count. What had never mattered before suddenly mattered. Anything and everything that could ever affect my child became relevant. All things took on weight and I felt every whit of it each time I looked into that little face that would forever reflect to me the gravity of love.
How do I even begin to put into words all that lives inside of me concerning this gift of mothering? I’ve titled this piece, “English peas” so I guess I’ll just begin with that…During those first couple of years as a Mom, there was little money and so many needs. Babies bring with them the need for daily supplies, all costly and truly needful. I was so grateful we had family to help supply those needs, but I felt woefully inadequate for not being able to provide without their help.
Heather’s Dad’s family helped and my family helped and so each time either side of the family showed up for a visit, I was reminded of the “burden” my circumstances presented for them. There were layers of responsibility and demands that came with becoming a parent, and I was not prepared, but I wanted to do it all and to do it well.
After a couple of years I was able to get a job working in a bank. I was first hired in a temporary position as a receptionist and was delighted with the financial relief that came so quickly once I started earning a full-time paycheck. For the first time since Heather had been born, we could afford to pay all of our own bills AND buy all of our own groceries. I’ll never forget that first time I went and bought enough to fill up our pantry with money we had earned ourselves. As I stacked the canned goods one by one my heart expanded with fullness of joy. I well remember seeing the cans of english peas passing from my hand to the shelf as I thanked God for the blessing of His provision. Food for our family brought contentment to my heart. That is a lesson we all should learn if we haven’t already. When we have homes and food and means by which to care for our little ones, we are bountifully blessed. Learning to experience joy from having the simple and the necessary is fundamental in learning to live joyfully day to day.
Now, do you believe, I think of this every time I see a can of english peas and I have for all these many years, 20+, and it continues to cause my heart to overflow with gratitude? It’s true and for that simple, continuing joy I am deeply thankful. Think about the difference between seeing a can with a few green peas in it and seeing a nourishing provision given as a blessing from the hand of God. There is a difference in how we see and how we experience. The richness of joy is added when we recognize a gift for what it truly is.
As I reflect again, over the past 24 years, I think of what I hope my children know… Above all, I want my children to know that God loves them and has a good plan for their lives, yet they are both free to and responsible for choosing how they will walk through this world. I pray they choose well. I also want them to know how deeply I love them and that my prayers for them flow unceasingly day and night. They are forever close in thought and in the depths of my heart.
I long for them to know the peace of God and to know that He alone is the One who satisfies the soul of man.
I want my children to have abundant appreciation for the gift of life and the mercy and grace that is extended to them through Jesus Christ by the sacrifice He made on the cross. I want my children to be the redeemed of the Lord, to know their hope is in the power of the risen Lord.
I want them to know comfort in the midnight hour when it seems all the world has fallen asleep and left them alone in their waking; to know, then, that their God never slumbers and never sleeps, forever watches over all He has made, and that His grand creation includes them.
I want them to know the assurance of speaking words in prayer and knowing beyond any doubt that their voices are heard in heaven and their needs will be supplied according the the riches in glory in Christ Jesus because He ever lives to intercede for those who surrender fully to His Lordship. May that be my children and their children…
I want my children to know forgiveness, both what it is to receive as well as to grant, and the beauty that emanates from a loving heart that is anchored in the True Light.
I want my children to know perfect love, perfect peace, perfect wisdom. I want them to know, when they face the end of this earthly journey, that they found their way to God, that He beckoned and they answered, walked into His perfect will and remained there to accomplish all He had planned for them. May they know…may they know with assurance, they are blessed.
Psalm 145:8-10 “The Lord is gracious; and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.”