By Jennifer B.
Remembering back to the time when I was a little girl, I always was playing dolls. Whether it was packing all my dolls into our family car and going on a pretend adventure or asking my mom to babysit so I could go play outside with friends. Becoming a mother 17 years ago was a dream come true! We have three kids and have had many adventures. One of my favorite things to do is to reminisce with my husband about all the crazy things our kids did and fun times our kids have had. It is very easy for us to go from one memory to another and soon twenty memories were shared, as well as some belly laughs. Of course, these are completely acted out with motions and voices. In fact, I don’t think we have ever taken a long road trip without asking our middle daughter, “Can you fly this thing?” This saying came from one of the many Polly Pocket memories our middle daughter had when she was three. She decided the living room hallway was much too long to drive her car, so one Polly Pocket figure said to the other “Hey, can you fly this thing?” Jessie rose from the floor and ran to her bedroom and the long drive was over just like that! Don’t you wish you could do that on long car rides? There are so many treasures that warm a heart and bond a husband and wife.
What I was not warned about was the painful character building that motherhood would develop in me. About ten years ago, I seemed to have it all but was so empty inside. I was living out my dream with much outward success but inside I felt purposeless. I remember at some point even trying to pin my emptiness on my husband and on very low days, my kids. I still remember my rock bottom like it was yesterday. I was toying with dangerous thoughts of leaving my husband and cried out to God in a sobbing mess. In fact, it was more like a yelling tantrum that turned into an “are-you-even-real-God" moment. Little did I know that I started a journey with God that day and He would use my marriage and motherhood as the tools that would shape me into a maturing follower of Christ.
I started spending countless hours studying the Bible. I was being healed of so many issues. Everything that I read and listened to impacted me. I was starting to get strong and I was getting a true identity through Christ. At that time, I was a stay-at-home mom so I had LOTS of time with my kids. God would start to show me how my issues were impacting my kids. I would see how my screaming and temper was hurting my children. I went on a quest to find out why I acted like I did. I couldn’t control it. God would lead me on a journey through many different teachers using podcasts and I was being healed! My prayer time became more and more powerful! It seemed that when we were done with one thing, God would put a spotlight on another. God and I looked at my entertainment, how well I was able to love others, and my struggle with pride. The list just goes on from there. I was growing like a weed and the whole time I was teaching my kids about what I was learning. They were also getting healed from their jacked up childhood!
We are still on this journey with God and it is so crazy powerful! God uses my family relationships all the time to speak to me. I am still far from a perfect mom, but I am a perfect daughter and my heavenly Father always gives me a safe place to fail. My kids will all have their character shaping sessions through parenthood and I will be right there cheering them on. It was so painful to see how ugly I was behind the false safety of our home. God not only redeemed those years, but He restored my relationship with my kids. Sometimes feeling empty and out of control is a blessing because you come to the end of yourself. For me, it was where my journey with God started and just like the boy with the loaves and fish, God used what I had to feed my spirit. He used my relationships with my kids. I am so thankful for the fun memories, but also the terrible ones. My kids have been on a journey with me for the last ten years. They know a really powerful God!