It wasn’t something I would have planned for my life at the ripe old age of 16, but it was God’s plan. In spite of our sin and selfishness, He entrusted us with a little baby boy who we named Austin William. And our life as a family began.
I had no idea what it meant to be a mother. I had what seemed like a thousand people telling me what they thought being a good mommy meant and like a good student I soaked up every piece of advice and watched others interact with their children. And I just kind of went along with it. For years. After all, I was so young and immature and every one else around me wasn’t. I was just going through the motions and hoping and praying that something turned out right. And I was dying on the inside. We were struggling with Austin and no one seemed to care. We just needed to love him more and learn how to be better parents. It was as if we had to continue proving that we were even supposed to be parents before anyone would listen to the fact that we were really having a hard time with him.
Over the years, I have learned what it means to be a mother. But it hasn’t been from reading the latest parenting book, attending a class, or watching someone else be super-mom.
God has used the past 15 years of ups and downs to show me what being a mom is really about. He has been right here helping me to grow up right alongside my son. Being a good mom is not about making sure my kids look good on the outside and perform for others. It’s not even about making sure they are well fed, dressed, go to church, have good manners and homeschooled. Those things are fine and would even describe my children (most of the time) but if that’s all it’s about, then I have failed.
It’s about making mistakes and asking forgiveness. Being there for my kids no matter what. Advocating for them when no one else will. Being confident that no one knows them better than we do. Loving them even when I don’t feel it and loving them enough to say NO. Not measuring them up to any standard but God’s. Praying for them fervently. Pointing them to their need for Christ always.
I have learned much more from being a mom than my kids will ever learn from me. Now that I am 31 (and so much older and wiser- ha ha) my eyes are being opened to what God requires of me as His child and I am slowly seeing that He is all sufficient and that He is the only one I need to complete this task. I admit that I get overwhelmed and very tired of being a mom. Especially a mom to a child with some special needs. It is exhausting most days and frustrating on the rest. But that is all part of the divine plan. If it were easy, then I would have no need for Christ would I? His grace is sufficient for me and His power made perfect in my weakness. I truly have to depend on the Lord each and every day. And when I don’t… well, you can just imagine how it goes.
October 27, 2011
My dear Austin,
I can’t believe it has been 15 years since that early morning when we first held you in our arms. After a hard pregnancy and days of labor, you had finally arrived and captured everyone’s hearts. I remember looking at your sweet face and wondering what kind of boy and man you would grow up to be. I remember finally getting a chance to be alone with you and daddy. The tears started coming as the reality set in that we were now your parents and we were responsible for this tiny little life that we held in our arms. We were scared, but we knew that the Lord would be with us. When we named you Austin, we weren’t as into the meaning of names as we are now and so we picked it because we liked the name. Now as I look at the meaning of your name I smile. Austin: magnificent; royal; great; helpful. So fitting for you. And of course the name William is passed on from your great-grandpa to your papa to your daddy and then to you. I treasure the picture we have with the 4 generations of “Williams” because it is a reminder of the godly heritage that you come from. A truly “royal” line of men. J
Over the years, we have had many ups and downs and it has not always been easy. I am grateful that God gave us you because He has taught Dad and I so much by being your parents. I am sorry that we have not been the best parents and we make lots of mistakes, but thanks for being a son who loves us in spite of all of that. I love you and want to be the mom that God wants me to be for you and I pray that you will continue to have patience as I figure that out!
You are so big now- towering over your short mom for a few years already- and it is hard to believe that I once held you in my arms while I fed you and sang to you. I want you to know that I have prayed for you to grow up to be a godly man who fears the Lord like your daddy. It is now up to you to make the decision to follow Christ with your life. We still have a couple more years left with you here, but you are now old enough to make a lot more choices on your own without us right by your side. In only one year you will be old enough to drive- yikes! We pray that in every situation you will choose Christ and glorify Him, but we want you to know that even when you fail and mess up- we are here. We love you and nothing you do will ever change that. We follow the example of Jesus, who loved us enough to sacrifice everything for us… He loved us when we were completely sinful, broken, and messed up. How can we claim to know Him and not do the same?
I love you Austin and I pray that this year of your life would be the best yet. Full of growth and change and deeper relationships. I pray that our relationship as your parents would grow stronger, more trusting, and closer together and not further apart. You are and will always be our first born son and we are grateful to God for the gift that you are.