What Kind of Mother

The Ohio Turnpike: the jewel of Ohio!  Smooth roads and service stations that have clean restrooms, Starbucks and Cinnabon stores; truly divine!  With Jack’s lacrosse tournament this past weekend in Ohio, it was the best $2.75 I spent to drive on the turnpike!  We didn’t even have to use the restroom on the way home, but we stopped anyway. (I wanted to get my money’s worth!)  I think I could live at one of those service stations and be quite content!

What a difference from last year’s vacation when I struggle with contentment!

David has always wanted to take the kids to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to show them the majestic beauty of the Picture Rocks that he remembered from his childhood visit there.  We found a house that we thought was a good midpoint for our various day trips; Picture Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls, Soo Locks, etc., but also seemed isolated enough that Sarah’s crying would not bother the neighbors.  As we prepared to leave, though, we wondered how Sarah could handle the long drive up north.

“If she cries just driving around town, how is she going to handle 6 hours in the truck?”

She wouldn’t.  She couldn’t.

We debated on whether to cancel the vacation or have either David or myself stay home with her.  When we discussed these options with the other kids, the look of disappointment was evident.

David said, “The kids are going to resent her if we don’t go.  They make a lot of sacrifices because of Sarah and this would be very hard on them as they’ve been looking forward to this trip.”

Thankfully, amazingly, sacrificially, my parents offered to watch Sarah so we could go on this vacation.  While it was extremely generous of them, I felt incredibly guilty.

“What kind of mother leaves her child so she can go on vacation?!?”

This wasn’t a work related trip.  This wasn’t an anniversary trip with David.  This was a family trip and I was contemplating leaving a part of my family at home!  What mother leaves her child so she can have fun?   Is it fair to leave my parents to take care of her knowing that she doesn’t always sleep through the night, wets her diapers (or worse), and cries all day with no relief?  I cried, wrestled with this and prayed for wisdom and in the end we decided that Sarah would be happiest at home while we went on the vacation.  She loves my parents and would enjoy having one on one time with them.

As we drove up north, my mother’s heart strings pulled on me for leaving Sarah, but I saw a different side of my other kids.  They were relaxed.  I never realized how Sarah’s crying affected them.  In many ways, they seemed relieved as they laughed and talked.  At one point on the trip I sat in the back seat and had one child asleep on my shoulder and the other one laced her arm through mine as she was telling me what was going on in her life.  David looked at me in the rear view mirror and smiled.  I have spent so much time and energy pouring into Sarah; I didn’t realize how much my other kids needed their mom and her full attention.  I felt the Lord reminding me He has given me 3 other children that still need their mom.  In a few years Jim will be off to college, then the others will soon follow and I need to treasure these moments with them.

We did things that we could never have done if Sarah was with us.  We played miniature golf, went on a 2 hour boat ride to see the Picture Rocks, went out and sat down to eat in a restaurant and saw a movie.  There was no way in a million years Sarah could have handled any one of those things! David teased that we spent more money than we planned because we could do so many things we normally couldn’t do!

I thanked the Lord over and over again during that trip that He gave us this time together.  I truly felt like Mary in Luke 2:19:

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

When we came home everyone was glad to see Sarah again.  We missed her, but this break from her helped us come back refreshed and renewed.  My mom said that Sarah was fine and whether good or bad, didn’t seem to be affected that we were gone.

We are making vacation plans again for this summer and bless my amazing parents for their willingness to watch Sarah again.   My mom said it something they can do to help and give us a reprieve. What a precious gift!  I am so deeply grateful for my parents!

I have a feeling I am going to be treasuring and pondering a lot in my heart this summer for all of God’s goodness to us!  Thank you for your prayers!!

**The first background of Sarah’s prayer blog is a picture of Iroquois Island that David took with his phone from the house we stayed at in the U.P.  The newest background is from our second trip to the U.P.


In Sickness and In Health: A Love Letter to David

Today is our 20th wedding anniversary.  I was thinking about our vows and how we had no idea what was in store for us!  Here is the application of our vows 20 years later in view of how our lives have changed with Sarah.  Basically, what we know now that we didn’t know then!

“I, Jill, take you, David, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward”

20 years later of daily application:  To hold me when I am so exhausted.  To let me sob into your chest when Sarah used to smear her poop all over her bedroom walls when she was little.  Or, this on-going crying she is doing, or another sleepless night with Sarah and I feel like I am at the end of my rope.  You hold my hand and look into my eyes and remind me we are in this together.  You pray over me for the Lord to fill the spaces in my heart that only He can to strengthen and sustain me.

“For better or for worse”

20 years later of daily application: You always make the worst days better.  God has given you a big picture mind-set when I can’t seem to see even past the next five minutes. I am thankful that the Lord always has made it for us that if one of us is down or overwhelmed, the other is not.  It truly is Ecclesiastes 5:9-10a:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”

“For richer, for poorer”

20 years later of daily application:  When the Behavioral Psychologist said Sarah is ‘your million dollar child’ when she was 3 years old, we thought it was a figure of speech meaning that the costs for her care will be expensive.  Now, we think he meant it literally! 🙂  Yet, here we are.  God has continued to provide and sustain us.  You have shown by example that when a bill comes in (or just this past weekend when our old dryer finally gave out or when we had that sewer pipe in our basement break this winter), that we need to trust the Lord because He knows our needs and He will take care us.

“In sickness and in health”

20 years later of daily application: We had no idea that sickness could mean one of our children and the road we are walking.  I am so thankful you are involved with her care, joining me for doctor and specialist appointments when you can.   You are so good remembering details and dates.  I think it is funny that the doctor just asks you because she knows you will know! I love how you celebrate with me on her successes.  I know she is pleased, too.  She adores you!  While the words are not always there, her eyes tell you she loves her Daddy!

“To love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

20 years later of daily application:  I love you more than I did 20 years ago when we stood on stage at church vowing this covenant between us and the Lord in front of our family, church family and friends.  My love for you has deepened and matured to appreciate the man God has given me.  I cherish your love for the Lord, your Godly integrity in everything you do, your love for me and the kids, your friendship, your sense of humor, your hard work ethic, but most of all..YOU!

I mentioned in an earlier blog we had the Scripture reference Proverbs 3:5-6 engraved in our wedding bands.  We actually engraved two references.  The other is Psalm 126:3, which reads:

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

20 years later of daily application:  So true!! 🙂

Thank you everyone for your faithful prayers for Sarah and for us!