As I was cleaning off the table, looking at all the nicks and marks in it, I started reflecting back on my life. The Lord has helped me grow so much through my mothering journey. One of those ways is knowing what's important. A few years ago, I would have been grumbling at the marks on my nice Amish oak table. Today, I look at those marks and thank the Lord that He allowed Nate and I to raise these four beautiful children. Most of you know my history in child bearing and how it was a struggle in the beginning. It's times like these that make me stop and remember God's goodness and graciousness to us. I know that God is delighted when we remember His gifts and miracles. Numerous times in the Bible, God is reminding the Children of Israel to remember how He brought them out of the land of Egypt and then later as He sustained them in the wilderness. It's easy to forget. But today God helped me remember. I remember my Dad washing the finger prints off the walls and I am following suit down my hallways. I don't know if he was grumbling on the inside or not but today, I am thankful that I have little fingerprints to wash off. I have had my times of grumbling and I'm sure there will be more to come. But the Lord is teaching me what is more important. A friend and I cleaned house for a lady named Kathy Stevick, who is now a good friend of mine, and she had A lOT of nick-knacks to dust around. I remember my friend and I being so careful not to break anything! She would always say, "It's just stuff!" I learned a lot from her. It really is true. Just stuff.
My table has a tale to tell! Art work galore, kneading play dough, doing homework, eating meals altogether, wrapping presents, scrap booking our memories, playing games, building dominoe towers, sewing projects, extended family gatherings, parties for all ages, and the occasional tent making. I hope I don't ever have to get a new table. Thirty years from now, I want to wipe down my table and remember that each mark or nick has a special memory, in fact, I might just have some grand kids then to add to my memory table! One last tidbit. My mom and I would go out the day or two after Thanksgiving and go shopping for a Christmas ornament. One year I picked an ornament that looked liked a cookie sheet with gingerbread cookies on them. This was either before Luke was born or when he was just little. It has six cookies on it. Three are dark brown, three are light brown. I always pictured that representing my family one day. Four kids, two boys, the dark ones, and two girls, the light ones. Then Nate and I at the top. Each year I got that ornament out, I would reflect on that memory. Some years I would be sad, thinking that won't come true. Other years I would think, wow I am getting closer. And here we are, Christmas 2008, and that ornament has "come true."
Dear Lord, Thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for answering my prayer for children. Help me to always remember Your goodness, even on the hard days. I understand now that raising children is not ALL about teaching them what's right and trying to be the best parents but it's just as much about You growing us parents into who You want us to become. Help me Lord, to keep my eyes on You! Amen.