Remember those days in grade school when you were asked what you wanted to do when you "grew up"? Sometimes, I was reluctant to share because the girls in class always seemed to say they wanted to be a teacher or a nun. After all, I went to a catholic school and we had nuns all over the place. I for one, did not ever wish to wear the black and white habit that looked like a penguin.
I was afraid to admit that I only wanted to be a mom. Were my aspirations too small?? Could I really have thought that being a mother would be the best job ever? Honestly, at seven and eight years of age, I had no idea what I was saying.
Now having finished raising my children, I can honestly admit that it was a very noble goal. It was by far the hardest undertaking I ever tried.
Yes, there were amazing times of joy and laughter and making memories, I loved having my babies and watching them grow into toddlers, and then facing my fears of sending them to school. Alone.
Wondering if they would be ok.
Somedays were easy and relaxed and wonderful. Other days were incredibly hard, wondering if I could make it thru till the father appeared home.
Being a mom to four kids is the best thing I ever did. Nothing compares to it, but seriously, I haven't experienced anything that has brought me more tears and unbelievable heartbreak as mothering these four amazing, incredible people.
And even with the trials, the frustration, the confusion, the unknowns of parenting, I would not trade a minute of it.
My kiddos have taught me innumerable lessons. How to persevere when you think it could not get any worse, how to love without reason or logic and how to keep loving when you didn't feel like it-at all. My kids taught me the joy of discovery- again and again. There is something about watching a child discover something new-something so wonderful and fresh. My children taught me how to keep going, to keep trying, in the midst of failure. They taught me how to care for the underprivileged, the least of those.
My kids fought for the underdog, and made friends easily with those who had disadvantages.
One of the best things they taught and reminded me is the reason I fight fiercely for what I believe to be right. In those teenage years when rebellion reared its ugly head, we fought for what we knew to be best for them. Even if it meant for them to hate us. Parenting is not easy; the tenacious, are the ones who struggle through and finish the course.
Now as I sit on the other side; the side where I am reaping the benefits of being a grandparent, I have the privilege of encouraging younger parents to persevere, to keep loving those little lives that have been entrusted to them for a short time. To help them see that even in the messiness of our lives, the times where we fail miserably, that mothering is an endeavor for the strong, the ones who won't give up, those that will love when they don't think or feel or even want to love anymore.
In case you have not been a mother, do not want to be a mother, or are a precious one who wants to have children, but as of now, it has been denied you- this is just my story.
I have had other "jobs" that I have loved tremendously.
I was a nurse for over 31 years and that was one of life's most precious blessings I have ever received.
The past six years I have walked alongside college women trying to figure out how to navigate thru life and have been challenged and blessed beyond my wildest expectations or imagination.
My dreams though are not over. I haven't finished one "job" and quit. There is so much more I want to do and will attempt to do, if God keeps me alive.
These are dreams I'm not sure I can share. Dreams that want to come alive, but seem hard to achieve. Dreams that want to honor God and man. These are the dreams for the rest of my life.
Dreams that if said aloud or putting pen to the page is very scary. Because then you will know. Then you can ask me about them. And what if nothing has happened? Will you wonder if I have given up? If I was afraid to try?
We all have those dreams, those not yet achieved thoughts, ideas, and plans we have for ourselves. Yet being vulnerable is one of those hard things to do. Because what if we let ourselves be known and then you don't like us. Or worse, you laugh at our dreams. Then we shrink back and keep to ourselves. We don't let ourselves speak our hopes and dreams. We try and become invisible to avoid what others might say or think. Then, we might become defeated and never get back up again.
What are your dreams? Can you share them with at least one person? So that you can be encouraged and cheered on? Where your motivation might kick in a tad bit sooner?
Are my dreams and your dreams the ones that God has instilled in our hearts because He is the ONE who truly knows us?
He is the One who knows what drives us, what tickles our hearts, what gives us passion.
For me, I can't pursue my dreams at this stage of my life without consulting God. For He is the One who knows if it is reachable. He knows how long my life will be-and how long yours will be as well. God is the One who knows my heart, knows my gifts, knows my failures and short-comings. And He is the One who will allow me to succeed.
All I know is that I want to keep dreaming, until the day He calls me home. Because dreaming is what keeps me hoping. Dreaming is what can change our world.