Category Archives: Parenting

Happy Mother’s Day!

It took me twenty-five years to grow seven children to the point that even the youngest could brush her hair and teeth, tie her shoes, and make a PB&J. Note that I said could- not would.

I’ve been re-living a great deal of the experience recently as I’ve spent the last ten weeks raising nine giant breed puppies for the first ten weeks of what I hope will be their long and lovely lives. And as I’ve been compelled to skip yet another fitness class.

The cloistered lifestyle required for such an assignment is an experience in itself. But add to it the fact that one is not secluded alone or with other like-minded adults as in a convent or a monastery, rather one is not sequestered with adults at all. One is confined with newlings and the very young.

This also is not a confinement such as the voluntary commitment for segregation one might make to an institute of higher learning or to a health and beauty spa. Instead, this is a requirement of the job of full-time at home motherhood. Of course, those dedicated mothers who work outside the home are not going off to vacation every time they leave for the office, and are likely calling home often and running straight back there to labor after finishing up on their secondary jobs.

For the past ten weeks, I have cleaned up more poop and pee than I would have ever thought possible- and of course spit-up and the occasional vomit. I’ve listened to the same soft and some silly songs over and over and over again, because they were enjoyable or calming to the little ones. (This is a technique of torture used on adults in certain situations.)

I’ve spoken in soothing tones countless hours regularly repeating myself as the youngsters behavior clearly indicated that they needed to hear these things over and over and over again. Line upon line, precept upon precept, so to speak. I’ve spoken firmly. And I’ve occasionally spoken too loudly, and in a harsh manner and felt the sting of guilt and shame, as well as a need for confession and repentance. I’ve watched in joyous gratitude as some began to do little things for themselves, and as a few began to obey simple instruction as a result.

I’ve washed the same hair- okay fur- cleaned between the same toes and washed behind the same ears, day after day after day. I’ve carefully looked after each one’s diet and need for medications. I’ve comforted the sick and bound up the injured.

And I sang along with those favored songs again and again, hugged, cuddled, petted, played, pleaded and loved more than I could have imagined possible.

Finally, last evening, after all my tremendous effort, someone arrived to take the first of my small charges to a new home. I was over-joyed! Someone new to love her- hopefully better than I ever could! Someone for her to share with- both a home and her life! I was anxious. Would she remember the things I had taught her? The things she’d learned from others? Would she wisely  apply them? Would she remember my great love for her? Would she call me when needed but would she be able to stand on her own four feet? I was sad. Would she remember me at all? Would she ever be back to visit? I was concerned. Would her new helper truly love her? Forever? Would her new helper give her all and yet refrain from spoiling her?

This morning I woke to tend my brood and counted. One was missing! Oh, Dear! Six, seven, eight… where could she be? Where was she hiding? Is she in danger? In moments, it all came back to me. And tonight someone will arrive to take the first boy…

Happy Mother’s Day simply isn’t fitting. Happy EACH AND EVERY DAY to all of you truly devoted young mothers! May God bless your smallest efforts to train aright the boys and girls who will be our future. Next to Christ and faithful fathers, you and they are certainly our hope.

Copyright 2017.  L.L. Shelton.

A Mama’s Way

Searching clouds on breezy days
Rolling down the hill
Giggling laughing howling now
Until our aching sides grow still,

Tears blotted from sodden cheeks
Cheers composed and chanted
Into the ear pressed forward
Thoughtful encouragement granted,

Little kisses on upturned noses
Foreheads the hand lightly stroking
Singing prayers into darkest hours
Tender words in kindness spoken,

Tucking children into dreams
To wonder at the night
Illuminating words of Light
Laced through with things we like.

Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton

Plus-Sized Grace For Wives and Mothers

A word for wives and mothers, especially young wives and mothers:
Have you fallen victim to those books and articles that insist that if you simply do this or that- your marriage, your children, your family will become this or that… Burn those. The Bible does not offer any such guarantee.

God through The Bible, His Word to us, gives you and me one mandate: Do your best to learn of me and of my son who stands ready to save you; learn to love me, and to show your love through obedience to me… And you will have my blessing. Everything else is a surprise. Get used to it.  And trust me.

Therefore, if we aren’t sure of what our own obedience looks like, we better dig deep into the Word and become sure; for while God offers no guarantees outside of our own salvation, He does insist that the best chance each of our loved ones has for a blessed and healthy life is to learn of such life and to begin to desire it because we model it for them. He also makes it painfully clear that each one we love may not come to know Him and that the ones who do come to know Him will be made to seek, find, trust, love, and obey on each one’s own private journey of faith. We will not be enabled to give anyone salvation. We will not be invited to directly participate in the inner journey. It is a very private lifetime encounter exclusively designed for the individual soul.

And while I remain convinced that no other work has the potential for greater positive impact on society than that of being a good wife and mother, personally I am truly grateful that by some miracle of grace, every time my job gets harder- I find the strength to pray harder and to work harder; and it is such a sweet surprise to realize that Our Father is working through me to bring about His best will in spite of my own sin, my own lack of this or that, my own lack of perfection. It is an additional gift from a generous Father, and it is available to all of his saved children. ❤️

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Matthew 22 (22:36-40)

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton