No regrets, just pure Joy!

The era of Joy and her Beanie Babies, all who had to be prayed for and put to bed each night.

This month marks an ending of an era for me. Joy will leave to go to school at Biola University in California next Tuesday. Waves of sentimentality have been sweeping over me. As I walked up the stairs to our bedrooms, I realized that she will not be there for me to bring a cup of tea in the mornings to start our day together, or to sit on her bed to have late night talks.

Oh, how I will miss sparkling, extraverted, always busy, always thinking and teaching and pondering and reaching out to her gazillion friends, singing, acting, speaking, making life beautiful, Joy.

For over 28 years, I have given over my life to being an intentional mother. I have sacrificed body, my time, my energy, spent many an anxious moment; prayed unending hours; faced conflict and tears and one more moment of training countless times; had thousands of devotions; made thousands and thousands of meals; carpooled everywhere from doctor's appointments to plays, speech tournaments and productions; listened on her bed for hours and hours of dreams and heart thoughts spilled over late night vigils, and so many more memorable and forgotten services of love extended as faithfully as I knew how.

Last week, Joy picked up a stray dog, Bobbie, and brought it home for a few hours!

And now, as I ponder my life, I feel so very, very blessed and satisfied.

It is not the books I have written that comfort me at night. It is not the blog  posts and followers and commenters or the face book fans or the face book friends or the twitter followers or the thousands of sweet moms that have attended our conferences that fill my heart with love, though I am so very grateful for each of them. But it is real live, flesh and blood, Joy, Sarah, Joel, Nathan who  hold my hand and say, "I love you, my momma!" --whose love and relationship is what matters to me and to Clay.

Last fall, Joy traveled with me to Hawaii to speak to military wives. Such a sweet time of memories made.

But it is indeed  the tangible, best friends, life and joy shared love with my real, next to my side, children that are with me and who have become the most important treasure God has given this side of life. I live daily to talk with them, to love them, to serve them and to pray with them. I am truly the most blessed of women, because God gave me these years of sanctifying me, tenderizing me, disciplining me and teaching me what really matters in life as I followed Him in this call to be a mother, giving his life to those He entrusted into my home.

Joy, last fall, in Sense and Sensibility

When I read and understood, "The Wise woman builds her house," I know that God's call on my life, whatever else I did, was to build with the Holy Spirit's guidance and grace, a godly heritage in my home.

And so my labor of love and worship to God, no matter what else I did, was to accept these precious human beings from His hands as the best and most eternal work I would ever do--to seek to show them Him and to seek to incarnate Him in my home.

My sweet girls, and best friends, this spring, together at a friend's home.

Taking on this God-designed role, crafted not only the hearts and souls of my children, but it was God's accountability for my own life to show me more of what He was like as my very own patient Father; to see His unconditional love; to better understand His undying sacrifice for me, his own child.

It was in the building of a godly home that my soul expanded, my knowledge and education grew, my capacity to work stretched, my Biblical knowledge and understanding developed as I taught them, and my heart deepened and grew so very satisfied.

When we walk in God's ways, mysteriously, we eventually see that His ways fill the longings of our hearts and satisfy the yearnings of our soul for a sense of purpose and belonging to a great cause and people.  In submitting to His will, we find what we longed for all along.

...Because in pursuing my precious children and the best for their lives, He was building for Clay and me our own best friends and a tight community of people who belong together and live to love and serve each other--the Clarkson history and heritage that ties all of us together.

Joy in California this spring, where she will be this fall,  pursuing the horizons of life with God holding her hand.

And so, I will miss her, I will spend many more hours praying for her and calling her and serving her in new ways, as I have done with my other three precious children, but there will be a deep joy in my soul, a satisfying rest, knowing that choosing this as the work of my life, that my children are the best book I could ever write, has been the right choice for me, and that my work of faith has been met, by Him, with grace, wisdom and eternal blessing.

And Joy, one of God's best gifts, will continue to fill my heart and soul with such humble gratefulness and joy. I love you, my sweet girl. God will be with you and you will be with me always in my heart.

I just can't wait to see the adventures and courses God has prepared for you to walk. May You know His presence and blessing each and every day, because, as you know, you are also so very dear to Him, too.