There is a little game floating around Facebook this Mother’s Day season called Sibling War and one of the questions is about who is the favorite. Our girls seemed to be convinced that we have favorites or at least they chose to slide answers in for that question. Last night my husband and I sat back and honestly attempted to self evaluate this question and their assumptions. What we found the most hilarious was that the one voted the most spoiled was the only one not chosen as a favorite. Therefore, it’s obvious to us that they actually deep down see and know that we DON’T have a favorite but absolutely equally adore each of them.
Our oldest, Ashleigh, is adored for her loyalty and quiet strength. One of our favorite things is her ability to tell a story. If the story isn’t funny, that’s okay, the inner joy we receive just from watching her try and tell it is really what we are listening to so regardless of the point it’s going to be hilarious. She has the most beautiful tender heart toward all things living. She introduces us to all the latest documentaries and concerns of the day. She is our researcher and planet saver and if any of our children ever headed up a March on Washington to save the turtles it would be her. She is full of life and love and it has been our greatest joy to watch her raise her own daughter up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our granddaughter is not even fifteen months old yet, but has already had her heart and mind flooded with the Word of God because her mother knows that this is foundational for her life and she didn’t have to wait until she was older to introduce her to the Scriptures.
Our middle daughter, Shelby, is adored for her tenacity and drive. She sets a goal and nothing is going to stand in her way in accomplishing it unless God Himself steps in and let’s her know she needs to let it go. She has a strong sense of justice and of right and wrong and she is not afraid to speak loudly to be heard. She has never waited for life to come to her, she has always taken the initiative to chase it for herself. At the same time she has a servants heart and never passes up an opportunity to stop and help someone she sees in need. She is not going to mince words or beat around the bush about anything. Don’t ask her opinion unless you really want to hear it, because she is going to speak the truth she sees even if it’s something you might not want to hear. She is always loud and always excited and loves to talk and thrives to teach and loves Jesus with all her heart and isn’t afraid to stand up and speak out and openly declare His truth even if she is the only one who believes Him.
Our youngest, Rebekah, is adored for the light and laughter that she brings everywhere she goes. She has the most amazing way of finding humor in life and her quick wit allows her to open the eyes of everyone around her to see it as well. However, everything is not a joke to her. She is also able to see past the fake smile and into the hurting heart and she immediately steps in to do what she can to help or at the very least acknowledge the hurt she sees. She is kind to all people at all times. She freely gives light and life to all. She sees the importance of the details and how the simplest acts of kindness can go a long way. She has the spiritual gift of mercy and this is made evident through the love and mercy of the Spirit of God that easily flows through her. She is quick to see the hand of Jesus in every situation and encourage others through her knowledge and experience of His sovereignty and faithfulness to see it as well. She is learning more and more every day to open her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is indeed on her tongue. She knows how to balance both grace and truth, never condoning sin, but always loving the one that is trapped in it.
As Mother’s Day approaches and I look at these girls that the Lord has entrusted us to parent I remain humbled. I remain humbled that the Lord kept chasing us and pursuing us with His everlasting lovingkindness and patient endurance. I am humbled that He rocked my world and brought me to my knees that I might look up and see that He was everything. I am humbled that as I chased after Him, or so I thought, it was really Him wooing me all along as He kept coaxing me through the stages and seasons of growth as a believer, a woman, a wife, a mother, as He was making me into a warrior of the faith that He would be able to use to raise up these beautiful young women of God to be about His business. I am humbled by the obedience of faith and all the blessings that follow it.
I am thankful for the lessons we learned from our own parents and for the teachers and experiences that the Lord brought into our life that opened our eyes to see our daughters individually for who they each are in Him. I am grateful for how He taught us that the things in their lives that made them different and possibly even got them in trouble as a child were the very things we needed to cultivate and teach them how to develop in a way that glorified their God. The enemy wanted to use them for evil, but their Creator knit them together with all their personality and quirks for good. I am thankful that the Lord blessed me with a partner in parenting that chose to see past the outward behavior to the inward cause so we could always find the good and use it to expose the enemy’s deception and distractions. We don’t chop the top off of weeds in this house for too long, we go straight to yanking things up by the root. We don’t beat around the bush or dance around difficult issues. We just jump in head first and hold on to Jesus for dear life.
Our girls know that they can talk to us about anything and everything without judgment. They know that authenticity is key and we are who we are no matter where we are and no matter who is around. Duplicity is not something that has ever been practiced in our home. They have learned the difference between hypocrisy and the act of discretion and taking the convictions of others into consideration. We are imperfect people who serve a perfect God who is faithfully at work completing what He started in all of us as He conforms us into the image of His Son. We are here to just keep encouraging one another as Jesus does what He does in each of our lives and the lives He allows us to touch as His hands and feet on this earth.
Mommas I implore you to trust Jesus with your babies. Parent them with His Word. Everything you need to know is in the Book. Look at Jesus. Teach them to treat people like Jesus treated people and treat them with the same grace and truth that Jesus treats you. Make the hard calls. Make the sacrifices. Take the time. Do the work. Don’t get so bogged down in making and enforcing rules that they don’t know how to let you into their mistakes and struggles. Don’t get so focused on protecting them from this world that they can’t figure out how to navigate life with Jesus while in it and end up living in fear or in the comfort of the box you built for them. They can’t shine and hide at the same time.
Let me encourage you that it is a sweet, sweet thing as a mother to look at my daughters and have no regrets. I regret not one ounce of time or energy that I have spent or will continue to spend on these girls. I regret not one mile I drove, not one hour of sleep I missed, not one tear I cried, not one battle I fought, not one job I didn’t take, not one outfit I didn’t buy. It is a sweet, sweet thing to experience the transition from just a parent to a best friend. If you try to be the “best friend” when they are young you are in danger of missing out of this sweetness, but if you stand firm and love like crazy… I promise you it will come. We are three for three y’all. Three of my most favorite people on this planet are our girls and not just because they are ours, but because of who they are and who we see them becoming in, through, and for Christ our Lord and the glory that His due His name.