Summer isn’t the best time for me to write warm and fuzzy anecdotal stories about the boys. Right now I need a whistle and a referee’s outfit to keep any semblance of order over here. Fun part of this story is that I am “working” from home these days. “Working” you noticed was in quotes. Working might be overstating things a bit. I am working but not for FLVS… Shhhhh please don’t tell. I fit in customer calls and support emails between lessons, camp, taxi service, VBS and a myriad of other activities.
Raising kids at any time is a challenge. I often feel way out numbered and extremely under qualified to fill the position of parent. However, the day sweet, cranky little Micah came into the world I was given the name tag “Mom.” Those years were fun and difficult, priceless and expensive all at the same time. Cliff and I did it as a team. However, the day I had to tell the boys that their daddy had died, was the most difficult of my life. Cliff used the last moments of his life to assure me of his love and give me charge of raising our three Smelly Monsters: Micah, Caleb and Lucas. He had such confidence and trust in his eyes as we talked about how I was going to manage without him, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we were in trouble. I couldn’t believe that it was going to be all up to me.
I spent many hours crying, praying and begging God to change our situation. However, he chose to lead us down that path. Once I accepted where we were, I began to beg God to help me rise to the occasion. Friend, many days I fall very short. God is so full of mercy. He cradles us and comforts us and stands us back up to try again. I learned many lessons hard and fast that first year. God taught me lessons that I in turn “shared” (the Monsters called it lecturing) with the boys.
Our first lesson was one we learned during Cliff’s illness. It all comes down to choices. You can’t control what happens but you can control how you respond. We as a family chose to respond in faith even after God didn’t answer the way we wanted. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Our second lesson was to let go of bitterness fast and often. Bitterness grows, so the longer you have it, the harder it is to deal with. Bitterness keeps coming back. This isn’t something that is a one-time deal. You have to let go often.(Hebrews 12:15)
Our third lesson was to accept responsibility. We waste time and emotional energy trying to find someone else to blame. Life isn’t fair. Difficult things happen to everyone. We must accept responsibility when we do wrong, ask forgiveness and move forward. The fastest way to fail is to blame someone else. (Proverbs 28:13)
Our fourth and most important lesson was to live with a thankful heart. Thankfulness is the key to abundant blessings. I am so blessed to have been given 13 wonderful years with Cliff. The boys are blessed to have had a wonderful father.(Psalm 28:7)
These days things are easier. I have someone to share the load. Daily I am reminded that circumstances change but those principles still hold true. Raising Smelly Monsters to be Spiritual Men isn’t a cake walk but it has its rewards. I know that Cliff is watching and is proud of the progress they have made. We have to remind ourselves daily of the principles but thankfully God understands.
Still Choosing Faith,