Last night I sat in choir rehearsal, just as I have done for about a hundred years now. I sat in the back row of the altos, listening to people of God singing in four part harmony, happy that they all had conquered their Covid fear and chose to come out into public on a Wednesday night and sing. But beyond the joy of sitting among God’s people preparing for Sunday worship, I felt a warm joy swooshing around my heart because sitting next to me, making a joyful noise, were two of my daughters. Adult daughters. Married daughters with their own little families. Choosing to be there. Singing like angels. In another area of our church, two of my grands were in their own little classes learning scripture at their age level….preschool! As I sit here now, I feel tears stinging my eyes. Tears of joy. Because I know how hard I tried, how much I prayed, how many times I cried and even how endlessly I fretted over raising them in a way that they personally would experience the love and presence of Jesus and choose to live their lives in Him and for Him. I messed up…..a lot. I insisted they be at church every Sunday and Wednesday (unless you are Southern Baptist, you won’t understand this second day of worship!). How I made them try to see the importance of being a part of student ministry, service projects, student camp, student choir and Bible study. When they were little, I took advantage of every car ride to tell them the stories of Jonah, of David and the feeding of the five thousand. We often had family meetings that involved big decisions and prayer. As teenagers I constantly asked questions and listened as they told me of good days, relationship issues and even painful experiences. I would ask them what they think Jesus would have them do or say….or I would tell them what God had to say about things. Sometimes I would stop the car and pray…..and sometimes I even prayed with my eyes wide open while I drove. I am sure they can still hear me saying “Make wise choices” as they flew out the door. I encouraged them to journal their thoughts, their struggles and their questions to God. I shared scripture with them. We talked about hard subjects and hard decisions. Worship music was the genre of music that played in our car and our home. I am sure they thought we were the meanest parents ever because of the boundaries we set for them, and the things we said no to. I know I drove them crazy telling them to honor their commitments, to use their gifts for Him, to do the right thing even when it was hard. I prayed with them, for them and over them, and still do. I taught them the importance of church, gathering together as believers to worship and study God’s Word. I realize that trying so hard is never a guarantee that they will choose to live for Jesus. My three girls are strong, beautiful, loud, funny, loving, opinionated, young women. Yes, they are still young in their faith journey, they are beginning families of their own and I see them making their faith the center of their families. Not just their faith, but teaching their little ones (and little ones to come) that Jesus loves them and died for them and cares for them like no other. So sitting next to them in choir rehearsal last night as they chatted and sang made this Mama’s heart swell and melt all at the same time. I didn’t do everything right, I messed up so much, but somewhere along the way God’s grace and mercy covered my mistakes and they experienced His presence on their own and fell in love with the Savior. Now I am crying as I sit here, because that is all I ever wanted for them, for them to know Him, choose Him and live for Him.
That’s how I feel this week….I feel tired, I feel unmotivated, I feel overwhelmed, I feel hung over (which incriminates myself of a life long ago in that I actually knowing how that feels!). My eyes actually feel like I’ve been up all night. My activity of choice is to crawl into the sheets on my unmade bed and snooze for a couple of days. I make it through a work day, barely, and when I open my front door, I try to avert my eyes to the chaos that is in every direction I look! In 25 years of marriage, even when the girls were little, has my house every been this totally turned upside down! I want to tackle it….but I don’t! I toyed with the idea of hiring someone to do it for me, but realized I couldn’t actually afford for someone to do it!! It’s that bad, folks!
Then there’s the mental, or do I say emotional, state I find myself mulling through. I’m the mother of the bride. I am not familiar with this roll. I am a mother-in-law. I’m REALLY not familiar with this roll, or all the negative vibes that go with it. I have struggled this week with wanting to know about what my oldest baby girl is doing this week and realizing it’s now none of my business! When do I call, when is it okay to call and when do I not call? I feel suddenly shut out of her world! I’ve spent the last 9 months planning, making lists, and writing checks so that the wedding would be just as my daughter dreamed, and suddenly, I’m done. Task completed. Lists all checked. The event is now history.
I’m sure I’ll come out on the other side, wiser and definitely older. But for now, I’m not sure what I’m doing next. I’m still parenting two other daughters. One who is figuring out who she is as a college sophomore. The other who is 15 and finding social life waaaayyyy more important than school, both of which I seem to be sucking the joy out of!
I think….no I believe….that the gift to the mother of the bride….from the bride and groom….should be a week getaway (well, at least 3 days) to the beach or mountains to relax and do nothing….and then for her to get to come home to a perfectly cleaned and organized house.
This photo I am posting, is of the 3 girls God is using to mold me into the woman He wants me to be….it hurts too!