On June 1, my hubby loaded up the car and traveled 15 hours to the University of North Dakota – to spend the entire summer taking linguistics courses that would prepare him to better serve in his new role with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
After photos, hugs, several goodbyes, and waves, I gathered our five children around and cried silent tears as we walked back into the house. This was the day that I had been dreading for months. Me, alone, with our five kids – I knew that groceries, bedtime, meal prep and clean up, discipline, etc. all fell on me. I felt weak and incapable, and at the very beginning, somewhat fearful.
It was a challenging summer – for all of us.
BUT GOD gave us the strength we needed each day to make it through.
As I await for my husband to return, I am flipping through my gratitude journal and reading the 185+ recorded thanks to God that span the time frame he was gone. Some of the thanks look like this….
- Friends praying for us and calling to check on me (even on day 1!)
- Hearing our kids thank and pray to God before bed (our implementation of ‘2 thanks and a prayer’ before bed each night)
- Grandmas (I think our moms are wonder women. They swoop in, make the kids happy, magically make the dishes disappear, and relieve this mama’s stress. They just work without their capes!)
- Singing songs of God’s faithfulness during worship at church
- An oldest daughter’s gentle hug when tears come
- Ms. Becca infusing energy and a highlight to the kids’ weeks
- Neighbors and friends being willing to help out with the yard
- Speaking Truth to myself throughout the day
- Rare one on one time with each of the kids
- Time at spray parks and with family friends
- Friends praying for our 4 year old and offering to help when her temp was extremely high
- Swim lessons and fun with friends at the pool
- Cooking lessons with Lynda (for the girls and some of their friends!)
- God – my refuge and strength
- Little buddy and his love for the ‘Flintstone’ car (Yes, even inside the house on this hot, hot, summer day!)
- Seeing my husband through Skype, smiling and enjoying the interactions with our kids
- Sounds of giggles from the kids
- God’s clear, visual reminder to rely on His strength and not my own
- Two teens coming over to play with the younger kids so I could sew with the older girls
- Seeing our 4 year old’s face light up as her sisters surprised her with a handmade doll just for her
- Knowing that God is always in control
- Air conditioning (as it hit 104 degrees)
- Books – LOTS of books from the library to read and some extra motivation from the summer reading program
- The girls joyfully helping out with clean up tonight. It was an encouragement and motivator for me to finish the day well.
- Encouragement and direction from another homeschool mom
- Brushing my daughter’s hair as we talked late at night
- Feeling God’s hand sustaining me
- Finally getting the spelling curriculum online with my hubby’s help from far away
- Children sleeping in (and mommy, too!)
- The sight and smell of RAIN sent from God
- A fun, but exhausting backyard Olympics with friends
- Knowing that it was only through Christ’s presence, grace, peace, and strength sustaining me each day that got me through this summer
In Courtney Joseph’s eBook, The Proverbs 31 Woman: One Virtue at a Time, she states
When I take my eyes off of myself and put them on my amazing God – my fears flip to confidence.
Yes! My fears turned to confidence – not in my own abilities as I am still weak. However, I saw my fears fade as my confidence grew in Him! For it is His strength and dignity that clothes my weaknesses.
As I reflect upon this summer, Christ’s grace, presence, and sustaining powerful hand is evident.
Thank you, Lord.