I remember the times when I thought I was losing my mind in trying to deal with four boys all within 7 years apart. I tell the truth when I say my twenties were a blur. I walked around sleep deprived, felt like a slave being used and whipped into subjection of being a submissive wife. I was pulled from every direction with the boys, church, spouse and demands of the chores. We lived in a small home with a sagging floor in the kitchen, with the washing machine on one side and the dryer on the other side but however I was thankful to have those doing at least four loads a day. The two bedroom house only had 6 rooms with three closets and a floor grate heater that the boys would fall on time to time and leave burnt waffle marks on their little hands or feet. I remember begging my husband to move or praying God to give us a bigger house. It was there in that home we started in ministry. From being part in teaching during Sunday School, home prayer meetings and bible studies, to youth directors and ladies auxiliary my involvement was crucial to my survival. My tears that flowed sitting in the ladies bathroom wrestling with the boys seemed endless and at times I thought I should have just stayed at home and watched preaching on TV. My purse, along with large bag containing snacks, water, cars and trucks to pacify the boys during preaching didn’t always suffice. I felt as though I was so mean in making them sit still and popping them on the leg or taking them to the bathroom as they screamed “No mommy don’t whip me” while people chuckled and the older generation smiled and said, that’s right whip your kid. During that time there was no such thing as a nursery or someone else watching your child for you. However, the long haul of sticking it out and come hell or high water they were going to church. What little I heard was enough to keep me hungry for more at times and at other times I made myself pack up and relive the nightmare. What little worship I got to participate in saved me from more emotional breakdowns that I had time to time. What little knowledge I gained from the studies and what little time I got with the girlfriends was enough to keep me “stable”. Most of my high school friends were already getting divorced and getting remarried or had moved away so I turned toward the church. There I found solitude, peace and joy. I could get my fix of somewhat a jolt of the Holy Ghost by letting out a war hoop or jumping up and down on the devil to keep me from wandering from my calling of wife, mother and Christian.
You see I was raised to be very independent so for me to know the role of a wife, a Christian one at that took even a big demand on my part and that was change. I did much soul-searching and changing in my twenties. I really didn’t feel loved because love was only superficial at the time, I only felt used. I know now what I was experiencing is trying to find myself, my own identity wrapped up in things. I was a stay home mom, feeling used and trapped into mommy mode with no light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t appreciate motherhood as much as I wished I would had. I loved the children, don’t get me wrong and in fact it seems as though I cannot escape the calling back into children ministry. In High School I believed I would be a Pediatrician but I didn’t want to put the school hours in because I would be “old” in my late twenties. I laugh at that statement now. I tell young mothers now, their ministry is their children, pour your life into them because they will grow up one day and need a good strong foundation.
With our oldest I demanded so much from him after I had my second child. I look back now feeling guilty at times and think how mean I must have been demanding him to grow up when all he needed was just to be loved and held cause his younger brothers got all the attention. That is why he was so partial to Granny because she let him sit in her lap and feed him even when he was six. If I could go back, would I have changed some things? You bet but we cannot go back or even think about the regrets or that would put me in such a depressed funk I would just sit around and cry all day thinking how bad of a parent I was. Life in my twenties can I be honest, it sucked and I know that may seem like a harsh word but it is the truth. My body was no longer a 5’4″ 104 pound hottie but a mommy making baby producing machine, robot full of at times, resentment toward my husband for making me fit into his schedule. I loved being pregnant however I didn’t like my body changing. Never would I want to live that over again. I focused on at times what my needs were and how they wasn’t getting met instead of meeting the emotional needs of my children. My husband needs were always taken care of so I think that’s were the resentment came from. I felt as though he never helped with the children, much less dress, bathe or feed them but he did however come home to vacuum under one of my meltdowns. He proceeded to help with this chore from that time on. We struggled financially, struggled to love each other and trust each other. We tried to leave our past behind us, tried to look forward to a future of hope and promises.
I think back and what I did treasure was the closeness of my babies. I think about the good times. I think about them rolling the cars up and down my legs and feet while I read or studied. I think about the many times we played in the back yard with the sprinkler or jumped on the trampoline together. I think about curling up next to them and taking a nap together, making sandwiches for lunch or the usual mac-n-cheese, the oatmeal or cereal for breakfast or the home-made popsicle. I let them jump on the bed, play hide and seek in the closets and play with play dough. I liked being a fun mommy.
Those were innocent times where we were all changing. Changing into what God wanted us to become. Giving us memories that one day would shape our lives. Getting us prepared for a life of ministry, but with the calling comes many hurts. Hurts that only a mommy can feel when their child is hurting as they grow into adults and trying to find their own way. Hurts that lie dormant and are only revealed for a time of healing. Wounds that were once secrets which seem to explode now that makes me question my parenting skills. I tell my boys now, we parented the best we knew how. We wasn’t always great but we did our best for what we knew at the time. Life is life, life is not fair and life has its good times and its worst times. There are times of struggle and times of pain but it is through all the crap that makes us persevere into the man or woman God wants us to be. I hate feeling like I failed as a parent and wish I could have protected them even the more so from the ugliness of this world. I cannot think or either fathom the reason why but only the hope that lies within this world of pain to reach others. Writing this blog helps in the healing process as tears flow down my cheeks hoping someone will read and feel loved during this time in their “mommy mode”.
So, if you are a parent in your twenties, maybe you can relate to my pain and my treasures, the mixed emotional basket full of craziness. It is only a season. Do your best, take time for your spouse and time for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go right or you don’t feel appreciated or you don’t get any help from any body. Times like those change us. God has a way for us to depend upon Him and not ourselves or others. He was the one who helped me survive all the seasons and I am confident that He will continue to help and guide me as I am in my other seasons. Through it all I quoted, Train up a child in the way they should go and they will never depart from it, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me and Jesus said, I will not leave you or forsake you. These three Scriptures kept me going, were my strength and my hope during my twenties.