The Greatest Blessing

Written by Diane Forler

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

Life got away from me.  It just did.  I didn’t mean to, but somehow I got into my late 30s before I managed to get married and have kids.  So, when I gave birth to the two little girls I had always wanted at 38 and 40 years old, I was beside myself with just about every emotion I could imagine.  Amazement, wonder, fascination, disbelief, but most of all love.  The greatest, biggest, deepest love I had ever felt.

Don’t get me wrong- I love my parents (now deceased), sister, husband, family, close friends, people, and I love God all very deeply.  Yet, the love a mother feels for her child, that moment when she first sees that baby’s face, well, there is nothing quite like it.  You know in that instant that this is someone you would lay down your life for without hesitation, and that never changes.

Like all new things, reality does eventually settle in, and raising those little precious babies has its challenges.  I remember one time when my oldest was about 4 and acting out to the point I was at a loss.  My Dad was there and I tearfully asked him how I was going to handle her.  His answer was simple:  Just love her.  Well, I knew I loved her, but I maybe didn’t know exactly HOW to love her at that point.  I never forgot him telling me that, and knowing the deeper meaning of it.  It takes every single Fruit of the Spirit to show your kids the love they need.

Loving your kids doesn’t always just mean being the sunshine and softness in their lives.  Love must also be tough (stole that from James Dobson).  It’s a hard balance to strike.   While it seems like we just want our kids to have a good, happy life, what we really want is for them to learn to think for themselves, be strong when things don’t go their way, believe in themselves, find ways they can be a blessing to others, in big ways or small, and, most of all, l trust God.  That means we have to walk the walk because kids notice EVERYTHING, and the older they get the more they let you know it.  If I want them to see Christ in me, they need to see the attributes described in Galatians showing up in the way I am living my life.

A few months ago, we were having a group meltdown (not my finest hour), me and my 2 now young adult daughters, when I was lamenting they’re not doing certain things I thought they should just know they should be doing by now.  Silly me. I just figured it would come naturally. They see me doing these things. They are plenty old enough to help. So why am I still doing it all??  Well, I found out.  My precious child looked at me and said “Mom, you haven’t really let us grow up.  You still do all this stuff for us that you want us to do for ourselves, you just don’t give us a chance to do it ourselves!”

Wow, I said.  I can help you with that!  I immediately started handing things back to them when they would tell me they needed something.  You’re out of vitamins?  Walmart carries the ones you take, or you can order them online.  You need that outfit for tomorrow?  There’s the washer!!  Hey, this is kinda fun!  We HAD taught them to do for themselves, I just didn’t trust them to DO it.  Now it’s my turn to let them. 

It was a life lesson for me. It’s funny because in pharmacy management I have always supervised a team of employees.  My goal is always to enable them to do their best, take on more responsibility, and work independently.  It makes them feel better about themselves and makes my life and my job a lot easier.  Why didn’t I apply that to my kids?  I guess it was easier to just do it for them, but it is not too late.  It’s never too late to be a part of making your kids’ lives better. 

Raising kids is a lifelong process.  The best advice I can give, aside from obviously praying and seeking God’s will, is to love them enough to meet them where they are, with all the “fruit” you can carry. The relationship changes as they get older and at this point, when my kids are 19 and 22, I am not done being their Mom. I find I need to watch them more and more, see who they are becoming, and be there when they need me.  Be patient, talk less, listen more.  Patience is not my strong suit, but it is so very important when they are at this point, on the brink of adulthood, needing me to trust them, and still looking to their parents as role models.

My daughters are the greatest blessing in my life, and I thank God every day for them, and for a husband who is a great “girl Dad” and partner in this journey.  I pray daily that they will find their way to all that He has in store for them, and I am so thankful to be able to be a part of their journeys, and for the love I have in my heart because of them.


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