My oldest son, Nathanael will be ten this September. This brings me to think about things like ten years ago I was six months pregnant with my first child. There was so much excitement but so much fear as well. Would Jason and I be up to the task of caring for a tiny life? At the time, we didn't really think about the spiritual and eternal signifiance of bringing up children. Mainly we were worried that we had to keep this new person fed, clothed, sheltered and educated. This seemed too daunting a task for us. I can't even imagine what we would have felt if we had realized that we were also responsible for teaching him how to bring glory to God with his life and how to become saved from eternal destruction and brought to eternal life.
The last ten years have had it's scary moments: Nathanael got croup so bad as a baby he had to be rushed to the emergency room for breathing treatmants and medication; Matthew had bronchitis, asthma and RSV as a baby and as a preschooler managed to break both his clavicle(collar bone) and his leg the same summer; Jonathan hit his head so hard it required another emergency room visit to make sure there was no permanent damage; and Grace got pneumonia at four months old and had to be hospitalized... twice. But through all of it God was gracious to us. He preserved our children and made them stronger and healthier with each passing day. He also made Jason and my marriage stronger with each thing we had to deal with. Why is it the worst of days, like when you are spending the night in the hospital with a four month old who is fighting for her every breath, that you think of the amazing fact that God gave her this very breath to begin with and that with prayer and a decision to face all things together even hard times are manageable. It also made us appreciate the incredible friends that helped take care of our other children, visited the hospital, called us and most importantly kept us in prayer. How could we not be grateful for such an event?
There have been marvelous times as well: Watching Jonathan "read" a story to his baby sister; Sitting next to the older kids while they did their schoolwork and being amazed by how quickly they understood things; Hearing their first words and laughs, seeing the first steps; Watching the spirit begin to move in the heart of Nathanael as he begins to struggle with knowledge of his eternal destiny.
In all of this reminiscing I also look to the future and think about what it could hold for our family. The day is coming when I will no longer be "mommy" to anyone but simply "mom" as I have already become to Nathanael and Matthew. I think about all that we still have to teach them which is a little bit scary when you think that the oldest is already more than half way to college. I pray daily for these precious little people God has given me the gift of raising and pray for the spouses they will eventually choose. For now, however, I will be grateful for tiny arms around my neck and tiny kisses on my cheek, little voices saying "I love you" and little hands that reach up and grab mine. I will also enjoy being Mommy for as long as it lasts, then I will love being Mom just as much.