By Karen Beauvais
There we sat, clutching coffee, in Katie’s warm livingroom, discussing grammar with our editor. I slouched down in my chair, hoping no one would realize I was the queen of the misused hyphen, when suddenly we were challenged to “dive deeper.”
Uh, wait a minute… policing my semicolons is one thing, asking me to be even more transparent on a blog is scary for me. Can’t we just keep this about our kids and their crazy antics?
“Sure” choking on my coffee, “Just exactly how deep?” I asked.
Then it was suggested we look at some of the characters in the old testament for inspiration.
Yeah! I thought, Esther: Amazon woman of the old testament; saving a generation! Booyah! That will be my next post…
No wait, maybe Deborah, ace career woman, power broker and hand-picked magistrate. Oh. the choices!
We prayed, and I felt God quietly speak to me. The conversation went like this:
God: “I want you to write about Moses.”
Me: “What? Moses? Ha, that’s funny God, are you kidding me? Did I have too much coffee? Surely Moses has no place in a mommy blog.
First, God, Moses is a guy!
Also... he is NOT a mom, ok so he did lead a small nation of sometimes grouchy people through a desert. I get this. I myself have once driven by Sonic, with a van full of thirsty kids... in July.”
I’m not really big on dramatic prayer. Usually my back and forth in prayer is in still small, but potent, whispers with the occasional loud outburst of me explaining to God that life is frequently unfair.
All the way home that night, I thought about Moses and tried to figure out how he could possibly be anything like me at all. With his unusual birth, saved from death by a princess and subsequent palace life-- hardly my upbringing, in an upstate New York split level.
He once killed someone… okay, I would be lying if I said that thought never crossed my mind (especially in construction delays on I-75). Other than those two things, we hadn’t much in common...
But Moses was also an alien in a foreign land.
I suddenly thought about single parenthood and how alienated we sometimes are in the presence of happy couples, raising their kids-- all that on top of being a mom of a special needs child. I’ll never forget when they stopped inviting me to the neighborhood playgroup when Josh fell behind the curve. I, of course, inadvertently found this out on a day we spirited off to the park and saw the entire playgroup… minus us.
I think that there are a host of mothers that feel alienated at one time or another. The military moms, the pastor moms, living in a fish bowl of perfection. That awful place where you just don’t fit into “normal.” Moses, the rescued Jew, in the Egyptian palace, then the murderer in exile, actually lead a nation to freedom. God chose him, which I think is simply amazing. He certainly had a colorful resume that should have completely disqualified him. Yet God picked stuttering Moses.
God loves the outcast. In Him, we belong. Even with our differences and shortcomings, He redeems the alien. He is with you in exile even if that exile is in a subdivision, office or in your kitchen feeding a toddler.
Ironically, the real me... is amazingly like Moses.
The one who wants to shake, quiver and convince God I am not the woman for this job. Moses and I do have a lot in common. We serve the same God whose name is “I AM,” the “I’m possible” in the word impossible.
The one who unconditionally loves those who are different, and makes something great out of them.
Word of the Day:
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30
Father, when I was spiritually displaced, broken and alienated you chose me still. You have crafted my destiny from the beginning of time. You strengthen me with support and you give me courage to raise my children in the face of challenges. Help me to identify with your strength and not my own weakness. Father God together we will make it to the promise land.
For a moment, I stopped. I thought about a picture I have on my desk. It’s a couple years old and contains my four kids, all together, on stair steps. I love it; it makes me smile.
I realized in that moment that it was the only plaque I ever needed. It represented my life’s true accomplishment: four beautiful children who grace my life with love and laughter (...okay, and sometimes a little aggravation too).
So much pressure to perform rests on us, as woman, whether your job is at home or in an office. But with my children, I can be myself, and they love me, warts and all. That’s the kind of comfort and security not even the best job can bring, and the reward for a shared, selfless, life that only mothers know.
The smell of a newborn, the giggle of a toddler, the imagination of a tween and the fun that teenagers bring… after they consume every ounce of food in the pantry. I can painlessly imagine my life as a mediocre employee, with no awards to speak of, but I perish the thought of a life without children. All that zaniness and all that tenderness-- I just could not live without.
Today, let’s remember to appreciate all that there is in motherhood, and celebrate every moment. Whether you are the mother of one, or many-- we all have only eighteen short years to enjoy the ride. While the awards and accolades we receive at work won’t benefit anyone outside our job, the reward of raising kids in the loving admonition of the Lord will not only bless us and our children, but others as well. The awards are limitless and eternal.
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
Father, Help me to remember that no matter how mundane this day is and the tasks within, that you are shaping my children through me. Help me to take that job seriously and embrace its call. Help me to revel in the goodness and shun the things that marginalize the importance of this job. Today, I will remember that you are my reward and the good things you bring into my life are all of the things I really need.
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By: Karen Beauvais
Whenever I want to bring a room into hysterics, I tell them that in college I taught exercise classes and danced on a dance team. If that room is full of my children, I like to bust a move or two just to show them I still have it. The net result is usually tweens howling with laughter on the floor or 20-somethings at work snickering and shouting “MISS KAREN!”
When we have children, our willowy frames get curvy and stretched. It is a sad moment to stand in front of a mirror the first day of bathing suit season, when you realize there is just not enough fabric to work the kind of miracle you need right now.
It is upsetting that throughout the animal kingdom, the males are often the more beautiful than the females. The male peacock, for example, is the one with the fabulous teal and green feathers that fan out in an extravagant display while the mother peacock, who has to do all the hard work nesting those eggs and all, looks downright frumpy! If the sign wasn’t there at the zoo, I would not have even have known she was a peacock. I would have thought she was some sort of common pheasant or something.
One day I read an article about “loving your mommy body” like a war hero embraces his battle scars. See that one, I got that in Nam! And that one came when I dove on a grenade and saved my platoon!
All of a sudden, I realized my body was the way it was because 4 people came out of it. “See that scar? That’s a C-section that four human beings made. Four human beings that became honor students and camp counselors, good friends and wonderful Christians, I tell ya,” I bragged to myself... as I put the skinny jeans back on the rack.
But seriously, that simple article changed my outlook on “me.” I was not a stretchmark or bulge; I was mom, the hand that rocks the cradle… that changes the world.
God knew what he was doing when he made us soft and curvy. He knew that plenty of tears would be comforted in hugs and that the child we were raising wouldn’t be looking for a super-model, but the warm heart that is Mom.
Friend, love yourself today for all that you are, and forget what you are not. You earned your battle scars, revel in them and remember they brought forth life and goodness. And while that may not get you a reality TV show or a trip down the catwalk, it will net the best hugs ever and the greatest vocation of all time.
Word of the Day:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Father help me to remember you fashioned me in my mother’s womb. You made me for greatness, and greatness has come out of me. Help me not compare myself to an airbrush or Photoshop but to love the “me” that you created me to be!
By: Karen Beauvais
People say that when you have children, your life is never the same. I never understood that phrase until I had children. In the early days, despite strapping them to me and hiking, and towing them places I always went, life was pretty much the same. Except for one thing: my thoughts of health, safety and success now revolved around my children, not just myself.
My oldest son challenged this from the womb. At his very first ultrasound the doctor called me into an office and handed me a box of tissues. She then explained the fetus was not viable and that it was “probably nothing at all.” She explained that I could check into the hospital right now and have “it” removed.
Instead, sobbing, I asked for more time. The doctor, humoring me, made me come in weekly for blood tests. Over time, a miraculously thing happened-- that “probably nothing” grew, and then one day, displayed a heartbeat as if arrogantly saying “I am something.”
Years later, he was doing all the crazy, scheming things that little boys do, like making giant slingshots to aim at the house windows or tying a rope to the deck to swing like Indiana Jones. It made me chuckle… probably nothing at all eh?
So then, at 17, the kid who was “almost nothing” said to me, “I want to be an Army ranger.” I hoped and prayed this would pass like his quest to be Indiana Jones.
God and I had some very “nice,” little, private, screaming and crying sessions together in the van (God was not the one screaming).
I know the military is honorably and loyally protecting our country. So, passing by the triangular shaped flag that draped my father’s coffin as a veteran of World War II made me feel horrible that I, selfishly, did not want to sacrifice my own son. And I wondered if, somewhere, God had a ram for me like the story of Jacob and Issac (Genesis 22).
Then truth hit: The reality is I-- we-- don’t own our kids. We have them on loan.
Our bodies, our time and every square inch of our heart pours into them, but their destiny is in God’s hands. As mothers, we have to see more than the present but instead, into the future concerning God’s plan. God so often gives us that detour we didn’t understand only to have us find out that we got exactly where we were supposed to go.
As for me, I finally found comfort and peace in my Father God, who did not spare his own son for the good of mankind. He understood my heart, seventeen years ago, when I asked him to save my baby and, now, as I ask him to protect my son.
Trust is a hard thing. We wrap that word in a lot of clichés, but trust is a verb not a noun most of the time; it requires action. If you’re facing a situation that seems out of control and are tempted to panic, lean into the one who gave you your child in the first place. Yield your trust. First catch, then release your child into God’s trustworthy hands.
Word of the Day:
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” Psalm 125:1
Father help me to raise my children in your wisdom and stature. Help me to inspire them to do amazing things. And when those things involve me letting go, help me to let go in your peace. Whether it’s the school gate or an operating room. The playground or the marines, Father help me to trust you with my child that you will finish in him the great things we started. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Often, I am astonished at the 2000 plus Facebook friends I have. I wish I could credit this to my charming personality, but my crazy array of friends from far away as Bangladesh are all because of a 14 year old young boy and his AMAZING story.
My second son, Joshua, was diagnosed with severe autism at 2.5 years old. He is a living breathing miracle, and the sole reason I will never doubt the power of a good prayer. His diagnosis was a stinging verdict in a cold medical office as Josh rolled around silently on the floor.
Afterwards, A small piece of paper slid into my hand. On the paper was a referral to a psychiatrist for me because, supposedly, the road ahead would inevitably cause me to, “lose my mind,” the neurologist admitted in not so many words.
I left the office shell-shocked.
I knew the symphony of issues my little toddler had were serious.
I will never forget that day. I remember driving home, tears streaming down my face as I prayed.
In that moment I heard a still small voice say, “Celebrate small victories.”
Josh was a runner, a silent runner, who could not answer to his own name. I had 110dcb alarms on all my doors, and while he couldn't utter a word, he could amazingly evade every lock and alarm in the house.
Just taking a shower was an Olympic event. He also felt no pain, and therefore, had to be constantly watched.
He nearly drowned during a park outing, and once was even brought home after a ride in a police car, lost and unable to identify himself.
Eventually, in my desperation, I found a community of doctors, nutritionists and parents optimistically looking for answers. Year after year, an amazing thing happened: God began to heal my son.
It wasn't an overnight miracle, it was step upon step and victory upon victory.
So many times when I came to the end of myself, God was there.
We began to see Josh heal, each new treatment or supplement we prayed about working, never having to resport to scary drugs.
We watched as he slowly regenerated back into a happy boy. One day, I felt Josh's hand in mine, and I looked down as he said, “Hey Mom! I can talk to you now!”
But it didn't end there. One day, as his sister was being baptized he asked, “Mom what's baptism?” As I explained he then tore off his shirt and ran to the lake so that he could, too, be baptized.
Since then, Josh has found his niche… acting. Yeah, I know that's how God works, the silent kid is the one that ends up performing Shakespeare.
God, our tender Father, knows our sorrow when life doesn't exactly turn out perfect, and He is there.
He comforted me as I cried buckets of tears, as the mom of a special needs child.
Dear friend, if you are challenged with a struggling child, be encouraged today-- believe in miracles.
Sometimes when our children are saddled with a diagnosis, that peak seems too high to summit. But be assured- nothing is too big for God to tackle. The same God that poured out his love on the cross is big enough to handle your mountain.
Each one of us has a cross to bear, so pray with me today, and give that cross over to the one with experience at carrying it. His burden is light. He will see you through.
Word of the Day:
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. Psalm 77:14
Father, carry me today. Sometimes my situation seems bigger than I can handle. In the darkest of nights when I wonder if I can make it through with my child, help me to remember that you love my children even more than I do. Help me to lean on and trust in you, even when I can't see the end of this thing. I know you are with me now just help me in my weakness to feel strong. Let my children see me trusting in you to guide us. Help me to believe and hope in the good that is to come. When your hand is in things, miracles happen.
Author: Karen Beauvais