I spent a couple of hours this morning at a tea party.
No, not a political tea party rally. Though there is one in Tuscaloosa today, I just can’t muster the energy to spend my afternoon standing with a sign over my head and listening to politicians explain why I should vote for them. I know what’s going on locally, statewide, and nationally; I get it. I don’t want to hear one more thing about it! Just get me to the right polling places for primaries and the November election.
Hannah was invited to a real tea party. One of her sweet friends, also named Hannah, hosted an American colonial-style tea party. Several girls had period dresses to wear. The food and games reflected the colonial theme also. It was such a precious party.
My favorite was watching Hannah interact with her friends. It struck me today how healthy and happy she is at 11 years old. She isn’t embarrassed or afraid to speak in the group. She’s an encourager. She is helpful. Her friends think she’s funny and they like her ideas. She is artistic and talented. She can even make a pretty bow for a garden hat. I almost couldn’t hold back my tears of gratitude as I watched the girls play.
I’m so thankful to the Lord that her life has been so different from mine. By the time I was 11, my parents divorced, I carried a set of house keys so I could let myself in either of my parents’ houses after school, I watched hour after hour of television every day, I was withdrawn, angry, prone to fits and outbursts, didn’t interact well with others, told lies, kept secrets, and did things I’m too ashamed to mention.
Maybe you can see why my children are a wonder to me. Though it hasn’t been easy and I have made many mistakes, being a mother has been the blessing of my life. My children have taught me so much about myself, and the Lord uses them every day in my life. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me children and that they have been able to grow without most of the baggage I had growing up.
I know the following Psalms of Ascent aren’t specifically about parenting; however, these ideas of sowing and reaping, home-building, children, and fearing the Lord undergird much of my thinking about parenting and life. Plus, I just want to tell you that the Lord has done great things for me, and I am filled with joy!
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchmen stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion.
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!
P.S. I only imagine what it will be like to hold my children’s children. I’m sure it is overwhelming the first time you hold a grandchild. This Easter our family gathered at Karl’s mom’s home for dinner. At one table were those born in the 1930’s, the great-grandparents of my children, and those born in the 1950’s, the grandparents of my children. Then, at another table sat those born in the 1970’s, the parents. At a third table sat the children, those born in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. It was wonderful! We are so blessed!