The Girls, Joy, Sally, Sarah, Rachael
"I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."
Tomorrow, Joy is off to Oxford, and once again, we are washing clothes, packing, giving last advice, having one last dinner of favorite food, and praying amidst the hearts that always dread the parting.
Yet, from the beginning, I knew clearly that God wanted me to send my sweet ones into the world to play their part in Christ's kingdom work. But, we also all believe that family, marriage, mothering and fathering are the anchor. As a mom, I saw my role as one in which I would inspire my precious children to love Him and to serve Him as the most important work I would do in my home.
Though I am just a tiny part of the influences in the lives of my children, my part makes a big difference in their faith and perspective of the world when purposefully pursued.
God has indeed taken our children to the far ends of the earth in their desire to love and serve Him, but one of the commitments Clay and I made was to bring them all together 3 times a year to build memories, to continue to grow the foundations of our love and friendship and to remind them of our part in His story.
Earlier this summer, we gathered the kids on a date all could come to remind them or the invisible strings of faith and love that ties each of us together. The rituals have all become familiar and are mostly the same after all these years.
After a whole package of bacon, a loaf of homemade bread toasted and swimming in bubbling butter, scrambling cheese eggs and pouring countless cups of tea and coffee, I gathered my 5 children into the living room together, for one more moment to point all of them, at one time, to Him--the one who is my life and strength.
When they are all over the world--Oxford, Hollywood, Boston, New York City, Mexico, Colorado Springs, Etc, I often wonder, while on my knees, "Are they still walking with God? Are they being influenced by the world? Are their hearts loyal?" It is such a hard world they live in.
I do not always like what I have to walk through. I am Pollyanna and want life to be easy, neat, clean with no issues--(I always wanted an Ann of Green Gables neighborhood with them living close.)
but my life has never been that way, and I still have to walk through the messes and stresses that each day and each child brings.
But as their mom, they look to me to see how I am walking through them and what choices I make, a moment at a time, to live in faith amidst it all.
But in the four days when are together, I must steal this moment, one more time to be intentional, to point them to the One who is truth. I do what we did every day for years and years and take them with me before the throne of God and look into the heart of God and into His word.
And so I begin, "I know you have heard all of this before. But I have only this morning, while all of you are home together, to share my heart with you and to pray for you."
It is a rare moment for me--to have a 30 year old, 27, 25, 23 and 19 all in one room, all sipping, munching and together--wondering--did the work of my life take root. Is this motley crew, this group called Clarkson, attuned to what we have always held fast to--together, one day at a time.
But, this intention to not waste the opportunity to one more time document the eternal One who holds our lives, is the focus and strength of all that I am as a mother.
And so I ask, "What is the anchor, the verse, the foundational focus of your life right now? What is giving you strength to hold fast to the ideals we have always cherished in our home?"
And then, all five, in the midst of chatter, antics, even still the wiggling like they did when they were little, pour out their hearts honestly, naturally, comfortable still with our habit of gathering to talk about what really matters--
and the comfort and miracle for me is that each one is holding fast to the Word of God.
The boys--Clay, Joel, Nathan
Nate--"Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend--it is my model, my goal, to lay down my life and serve."
Joel, "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Sarah, "Ephesians 1, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of your calling, ....."
Joy, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, ....., and the heroes of faith who followed hard after Him."
Rachael, "Nothing can separate me from the love of God." Romans 8
And so I sit here, in my small room, exhausted from making all the meals, the dishwasher that decided to break just before they all got home making my burden a little more, putting up with the stress of 5 young adults straining towards life with differing personalities, always issues of finances, health, love interests, life decisions--honestly it all wears me out and I feel so small and inadequate at times.
But in my living room, this weekend, amidst all the messes of our lives, I saw eternity in their hearts, faith that informs and leads and gives strength and the God who is leading them all. There was a miracle in this quiet moment, unobserved by the world, but celebrated in heaven,
5 children seeking on their own, to follow hard after Him--that is the miracle I have always hoped for and here amidst jammies and tossled hair, I saw the hand of God.
"With God, all things are possible."
It is all too much for me to handle or control because at times, my heart is faint and my faith challenged, knowing I do not hold all the answers
--but in His hands, and by His faithfulness, somehow they were all listening, they all took heart nad believed, and I know as they all go back to their arenas and lives today, God will already be with them, ahead of me and waiting for them, and ready to show His faithfulness.
There is an illusion out there that some women have it all together--but really, it is only women who trust God to have it all together, that will ever have the hope that their labor of love will ever amount to anything--
Nothing is impossible for Him.
I am not and have never been up to the task, as I fail and fall short every day--but the miracle is that he took my paltry offerings, my little basket of fish and loaf faith, and made it, in His hands, enough,
So today, this early morning, as I prepare to send the first two away at the airport, I again come, begging before the throne of grace,
"Please, Father, you keep them. You hold them. You lead their hearts back to you every day--and unless you provide for them--they will have no hope. But I know that you are the one who provides and so I leave it all in your hands."
And now, I again move slowly to the tea kettle and toaster to send them off with all the love I can muster, but with the knowledge that I have never been enough, but He is always enough and in Him, I rest it all and wait to see, one more time what He will do.
Never, not one day in my whole life have all of my ducks been in a row. But one more time, I see that He is the one who holds it together and who makes it work, and one more day, my life will move on in His strength and in His abundant faithfulness.
"My grace is sufficient for you. My power is perfected in your weakness."
My squirrelly, fun, always adventuring children.