Oh! But I can't. I cannot go back. If there was a do over button, I would push it. I really would. Not because I didn't enjoy the first time around, but because I want to fully enjoy it again. To breathe deep and laugh loud and long. I've joked that I pray often that my oldest would forget "a lot." Not because she was neglected or abused, but because I thought I knew what I was doing when really, I had no idea.
The difference now? I still don't really know. I just know, that I don't really know. You know?! I am fully aware (or at least mostly aware) of my need for Christ in my mothering. Even with one or two, a momma's job is H.A.R.D and we are in desperate need of the grace of God in our parenting. The grace that can only come through Jesus himself.
This isn't something that keeps me up at night. Many of you know my oldest, and are probably thinking, "What the heck, Kari...she is delightful, kind, caring and has a beautiful servant's heart." Yup! You're right about that. But all of that really is in spite of many shortcomings. Yes, I know, faithfulness...I want to be, but so many times I find myself lacking. So really, truly any results that are positive are the grace of Christ working through (and sometimes in-spite) of me as well as in her.
Our verse this year for school this year that I'm clinging to, yet again, comes from the short book of Philippians. It is about not looking back, but straining ahead, as if you are in the desperate race of your life and you have nothing left to give...the long, rocky road is hard to run on...but by the grace of God you or looking ahead to that forward call heavenward.
Awhile back, I quit reading many lovely blogs because I found myself comparing about, well everything. It seems that in the area of mothering, we do this all too well. I also feel that children and mothering can't ever be reduced to an equation that would equal good, God-fearing kids if we just would do ________ things. They are all (those kiddos) just too different for that. If you don't believe it try having 8 running around your house 24/7. They are each unique in their very own right and cannot be reduced to a desired outcome.
God has rescued me from the idea that I have to save my children. That if I mess up...then my kids will be messed up. I look at my beautiful 13 year old daughter and it's like he has given me another reason not to believe that lie because I have messed up. A lot. With them all.
I realize that many will read these words and shirk this idea because grace is a scary thing. Of course kids need stability, boundaries, faithful, God-fearing parents who are willing to discipline them when necessary. All of those attributes are necessary, of course! What I'm saying in no way negates any of that. But so much of mothering is not black and white: there are many grace-areas (as I so lovingly will call them...from now on) where we work out our OWN salvation with fear and trembling in this regard realizing that all children are made differently...and so are their mothers.
So here is to enjoying the next many years that we get to enjoy having this ever so sweet young lady around. I praise the Lord for his working in her heart and mine as we weave together this special relationship of mother and daughter. I find myself enjoying and loving her more with each year. Her desire to know what is true is evident and I see a discernment in her that is beyond most 13 year olds. I see growth in her relationships with her siblings and learning to love the unlovable. She is also learning to laugh more at herself. I love that. She is a joy...such a joy.