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The years teach much which the days never knew.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


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motherhood… it gets different.

teacuppamela.pngI’ve been cleaning tonight. I decided to face the inevitable. I hadn’t been up to Timothy’s room in the last couple of days and so I decided to go up… to stand there… and then to sit among his stuff. It was interesting to spend time there — sort of assessing the life by what’s left behind, or to see what’s been important to him. One wall of the small bedroom is lined with bookshelves and on them are rows of books… dozens of missionary biographies and commentaries among a variety of other manuals, Bible studies and, generally, anything that pertains to evangelism, to missions, studying the Word and to the walk of faith.

On the floor were receipts, packaging and tags from last minute purchases. Some single socks. He’d removed the sheets and bedding and had some stacks of pants and shirts for the brothers to rummage through. and And then there is a small wooden train… miniature cars that stretch the length of one of the shelves. On the desk are gifts from Mexico and Africa and there are seashells. And a beach hat. He travels light. I smiled again at what was so obviously important and not imortant to him all his life — it was never a lot of stuff, never collections or showy things. I couldn’t decide what to pack away in the rubbermaid bins Wes brought home this afternoon for me to use for packing — I had asked him to bring three or four – now I see I won’t need all of them. I was going along systematically putting into the bins things I knew he’d likely want to look through someday – cards, pictures and some important papers.  I know it might seem soon to be doing this, but in a family with this many youngers, it’s best to get important things put away before they walk away.

I decided to keep a few outfits in case Timothy needs them when he returns — though he had asked me to just let the other boys have all of his stuff — somehow I wasn’t ready to see that happen. Things were all going smoothly as if he were returning in ten minutes and then I was struck with the thought that he was not coming back soon and will likely never come to live at home again — the reality of the permanence of all of this is suddenly overwhelming.  I thought: omygoodness – what?  is this for real?  (I know this happened when our oldest boys left home… but that was well over nine years ago — and they live +/- ten minutes away!)

I decided to take a break. As I made my way downstairs, I could smell the delicious aroma of fresh chocolate chip cookies. Mmmmm, mmm, mmmmm. Ahhh… another boy has mastered great cookies! I smiled… sort of a melancholy smile as it dawned on me that the day would come that I would be cleaning this boy’s room, too. I don’t know how many times I need to be reminded that this activity of launching children has happened and will happen several more times. I realized again that motherhood means lots goodbyes. Keenly aware once again that no matter what: time slips away quickly and we must let them go… we hold the babies in our arms for a little while; we hold their hands for a season; we hold them in our prayers every day but we hold them in our hearts forever.

I’ve spent a bit of time mulling over a conversation I had with a young mom some months ago – a woman I don’t know but I felt a bit of kinship with her through the course of our brief conversation. She was lamenting the plight of young mothers and the heavy load of each day. She was feeling overwhelmed and uninspired — overworked and unprepared for the task of motherhood and homekeeping. While she talked, she commented a number of times that she so looked forward to the days ahead when her children would be older and things would be easier — days when she wouldn’t be so tired and the children wouldn’t be so hard to take care of… I told her the same thing that I told a mama just last night: It goes so fast. You may not think so today and I know you’re real tired, but hang on — press on — it really does go so fast.

And, I’m thinking it really doesn’t get easier.
It gets different, maybe, but it doesn’t get easier.
What?
No.
No, I didn’t tell her that. But I should have.

I think that’s why we walk by faith and not by sight… for the days that aren’t easier.

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No comments yet to motherhood… it gets different.

  • Pamela, I was reading the page on your web site for Timothy. On the page , you give an address for Timothy. I would like to know if we sent him some money, would he receive it, or would it go to the missionary board to be distributed to whomever needs it most?Please reply soon if possible. Also,very important, is there other things he needs besides money that he can not get where he is? God bless you and your family.
    Melodie Barton

  • Mrs. Damian Garcia

    Oh my Mrs. Spurling. Your post made me cry. I think of your family often, especially your Katherine, Timothy and Abigail. I guess because your words make them seem like the children I have (and I do have a Abigail too!). My oldest is 17 now and it seems so very difficult some days to think that some day she will be gone away with her own family to care for. I love her dearly and I can’t imagine her not here. I know that time is still far off but still, your post reminds me that the days will be here before I know it.

    God bless you all and as always, we will be praying for you all.

    Mrs. Damian Garcia

  • Vikki Goedmakers

    Dear Pamela,
    read your post tonight and it brought tears to my eyes…You see my children are still young two are teens 13,15 and I have a soon to be 11 year old and I look at them everyday as they grow and hope and pray that they make wise choices and live for the Lord. You are truly blessed to have such a son …a son who has chosen a path that will not be easy but a path that will truly make an impact for the kingdom of God. My prayers and thoughts have been with you these last few days and I will continue to lift you and Timothy up as he is probably missing his mama as much as you are missing him. May God grant you the constant peace knowing that this is the Lord’s path for your precious son and the Lord will be walking with him as he goes about his daily walk. May the Lord bless you and give you strength .
    Love,
    Vikki

  • Julie

    A very poignant post. I have 8 children that are stretched across 20 years. In the last 18 months, 2 have married and one is on the edge of leaving hom…yet there is the precious 6 year old building legos in the middle of the living room. It is bittersweet for I know he too along with the rest of his siblings will sprout wings of their own…all too soon. We do raise them to be arrows and I am so very grateful that my older children are walking with the Lord. Yet it is hard…it doesn’t get easier….it can be good but not easy.

    Hugs to you dear lady as you walk through this time of change.
    Love,
    Julie

  • Pamela, I have been thinking of you often theses past few days. I read and tears flow down my face. You see I have only one son. He is my joy. I spend every day with him. He is lots like Timothy. He just turned 13 and is reading missionary books. I know that the day is coming, it is hard. I read your post and I think…… I want you to know, I love you. I appreciate your honesty. I can not say anything to comfort you really, not anything that you do not already know. I would like you to know I pray for God to help you with the adjustment. It has to be very rewarding knowing all the talks and the walking it out in front of your son did not go in vain.
    Melodie

  • Sandy

    I’m hoping I get this post through. I seem to mess up a lot trying to leave comments here (don’t ask me how, I don’t even know!) and when I go back to fix them my message is gone. Soooo… I’m copying this one so I can keep repasting if need be!

    Dearest Pamela, I just had to let you know how heart and soul I’m connecting with you in this. I’ve been through it twice now, too. It brings the truth of those times from the deep place I tried to safely stack them with my boys’ things. A place not easily tucked into a storage container or replaced by a change in a bedroom.

    Tears come now as I relive the way it felt to see a room no longer home to my boy/s. The way I saw things in such a different way … before. The memories, prayers and so much more.

    I wasn’t ready. Not the first time and not the second. And I won’t be for the next … or next… or next time. It is a time to find comfort only with the Lord. He knows all about it…our Father.

    2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

    He will carry us through these times under His wings and we shall sing His song…

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.