Not only do they have the care of their own little broods (Joy-4 and Meagan-2), they also both care for two additional "littles" for added income. Hectic is an understatement and that's on a normal day.
This week-end everyone has felt a little sick. There have been a couple of fevers, some vomiting, a few colorful diapers and general lethargy for all involved.
I called Joy earlier to ask how things were at her house. The following is how many of our conversations go:
Hi Sweetie, it's Mom. Are you guys feeling better?
Hi, Mom! Yes, we're doing fine. Don't shove your brother. Say you're sorry right now. Yes, we're doing fine. Son, why are you throwing those chips? Don't waste those. Can you pick those up for your brother? Are you listening to me?! Hi, Mom. Wait. Mom, I'll call you right back! I think she's getting ready to throw up. Run.....run to the bathroom!
I've heard some great lines while talking to these "Heroes of Home-Making!"
- Come Here! Why are you naked?
- Did you just get that out of the trash? No! You can't have that!
- Don't put her foot in your mouth!
- Are you bleeding? No? Then you're okay, stop crying!
- Get off the back of that couch - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
- Get off that shelf - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
- Get off that table - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
I well remember trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone while my own toddlers were underfoot. My babies are now mommies themselves and it's so much fun being around them.
It's also fun watching as they pass on the baton of faith to our grandchildren. There is a scripture that has become one of my favorites for this season. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4
Because these grand babies are more important than any other aspect of life, I sometimes want to step in and help. I find myself offering suggestions that are actually requests wrapped in politeness. It's hard not to say, "You should do this the way I did."
But during this season of life, it's more important that I stand back and serve as cheerleader for these young mommies. It's tough to love this way but it's best.
I read an article today that beautifully articulated my feelings. I'm not sure who wrote it or I would give credit for this statement, "To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes."
The writer went on to offer a quote of Amy Carmichael, "Choose if your loved ones are to know all that I [God] can be to them, or if they are to miss the best because they have you instead."
It's the kind of quote I'll have to ponder for a long time to come. But one that I also hope will become a part of the tapestry of my life story. I want to offer this kind of love in all my relationships.
Each of us wants the best for those we love. It's hard to think what we have to offer may not be the best for them. But I encourage you to step back with me and take an honest evaluation after reading the quote a couple more times.
Perhaps your prayer will sound a little like mine:
Lord, help me recognize when I'm struggling with poorly veiled issues of control. Help me let go and simply enjoy the gift of having family and friends.
So often the Heavenly Father gives me help in the form of Tough Love. One thing is for certain, whatever the form, His love is always best!