Help us welcome back Danielle to the Mother of Daughters writing team! She is now living with her family overseas. I love the adventure God has her on as a faithful follower, wife, and mom. We are so glad she is back with us each month!
It has been a while since I have written for this lovely little corner of the web. So, since I have been gone a while, here is the short version of our story.
My husband and I got married right out of college, knowing one day we wanted to adopt children. About 5 years later, we decided to begin that process, never having tried to have biological children. Adoption was the way we were hoping to build our family. We were told it would take 6-9 months once our paperwork was turned in. Two years later, we brought our girls home. So, about 7 years into marriage, we were now parents to a 10 year old and a 7 year old. Neither one of those lovelies spoke English. So, through many tears and frustrations, we charaded our way through our first six months together. Since then, God has been weaving our family together in the sweetest of ways. My girls are now almost 15 and 12. Last summer we moved overseas to Bangkok as missionaries. My husband travels in and out of India working with different leaders there, and I teach at the International School my girls attend.
When I asked Stacey what she wanted me to share this month, she told me to share a little bit about what motherhood looks like from where I sit. So, with a pre-teen and a teen daughter, here’s what being a mama looks like today:
1-Talking till we can’t talk anymore. We regularly sit down at the dinner table and ask the girls to spill everything. It is so important for us as parents to know what is going on in our children’s lives. So, we listen. We listen to the really boring stuff about who sat with who, and who said what. In listening to those little things, we have built a foundation for when the bigger things come up. Because we have built a strong foundation in that area, we can then speak into those bigger areas. We spend lots of time talking our girls through thought processes, circumstances, and situations. There is no shortage of words in our home!
2-Learning to give my girls just the right amount of space. This is a hard one! I really want to hang out with my girls all of the time, they are really fun! But, they are getting older now, and need a little time on their own. However, the challenge for me is knowing the balance between a little healthy space, and not letting them withdraw, retreat or run from family life. This is the tension we live in with girls who are in those tween/early teen years.
3-Late Saturday mornings. Ummm….Thank you Lord that these ladies love to sleep. That’s all I have to say about that one!
4-Giving them freedom in their relationships with God. My girls are believers, and they know time with God is important. Everything in me wants to dictate the when and where and how long of their times with God. But, at this point, I want them to figure out their own rhythms. Their relationship with God is their own, and they need to foster it in a way that works for them. This doesn’t mean we don’t encourage, ask and talk through what they are doing and learning. It does mean that I have backed off of mandates in regards to their times with God.
5-Friend drama on the regular. There is always one girl in the group that stirs the pot and creates a little drama. So, I am constantly talking through what it means to be a good friend, how to confront in love, how to set boundaries, and the importatnce of speaking life. It can be tiring, and unclear at times, but dealing with this, has really given me insight into my girls and their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.
6-Answering hard questions, that sometimes make me squirm. An old mentor once told me to, “never let anything be taboo in your home. If you don’t provide answers for your child, they will look for them elsewhere.” That means, I answer lots of questions, whether I am ready for them or not. I am learning to perfect the “totally un-alarmed” face, so that when one of those squirmy questions comes along we can just answer it and breeze on by. I haven’t mastered it yet, but think I am getting there :)!
7-A constant lifting of their eyes, to help them see the big picture. They can only see their friends and current circumstances at this age. My job, as of late, is to pick up those heads and help them to look out on the horizon.
8-Homework that is too hard for me! So, yeah, sometimes I can’t always help with 8th grade math. It’s hard people!!!
9-Learning to deal with heartbreak, failure, and the fallenness of this world. LIfe has been hard. Moving overseas meant another loss for my girls. We have given up a lot. We have watched some friends walk through some really hard things. My girls are getting to see just how broken the world is, while at the same time learning that following Christ can really cost you something. This has been a huge blessing in disguise for us as we talk through the deeper implications of these things with our girls.
10-PRAYER!! Prayers for wisdom, for grace, for just a little more insight, for eyes to see clearly, for God to ground my girls in his word, and so much more. Prayer is my life line as I try to mother these girls. They are at an age where behavioral change alone is not enough. They need his Spirit at work within them to really bring about lasting heart change. So, I pray!
So, that’s what motherhood looks like for me, what about you? What does motherhood look like from where you sit?