Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mothers of Boys - You've Got This

by Debra DuPree Williams  @DDuPreeWilliams

December 2012, Indian Rocks Beach, FL
If you’ve read my bio, you know that I am the mother of four boys. Well, they’re all grown men now, thanks be to God. And I don’t say that lightly.

My nephew and his wife have five sons and two daughters. I have a lot of friends who are the mothers of boys. It seems as if we gravitate to one another like one of those earth magnets that has super-strong pull. Maybe there’s something within us that silently calls to one another, “You can do this!”  Or maybe just a simple, “Help!” seems to be written across our foreheads. I’m here to tell you, you will survive and, God willing, so will they.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my husband and I didn’t set out to have so many children, let alone four boys. We planned to have two. A lovely round, even number. Sounded perfect.

God's Plans 
Easter 1992, Valrico, FL
But God had other plans. I quote Jeremiah 29:11 to my boys all the time. They’ve heard it all their lives. Indeed, God’s plans for our family have far surpassed the plans we had for ourselves.
Even though we prayed like crazy for a girl, God knew that wasn’t what we needed. When I was forty and pregnant with our last child, who wouldn’t be born until after my forty-first birthday, I said to myself, Surely God doesn’t give the mother of three sons a fourth son at age forty when she’s longed for a daughter for so many years. But God does, and He did. And I wouldn’t trade that last baby boy, or any of his three big brothers, for anything. They are my biggest blessings.

See, God is sovereign. He’s omnipotent. He’s omniscient. He sees our past. He knows our future. He knew these precious babies before they were in my womb (Jer. 1:5). To me, that says that God had already chosen us to be the parents of these sweet boys. There are days when I have to wonder why He chose us. We weren’t, and we aren’t, and never will be perfect people. We made plenty of mistakes in raising these guys. We wish all the time that we could have a do-over. But that isn’t going to happen. We can only do the best we can this day, learn from our mistakes, and vow not to repeat them

It Wasn't Easy
Now, I’m not going to tell you it was easy. It was anything but. There were days when I sat in the floor and cried, overwhelmed with such a huge task of making men of boys, and the lack of help or a support system other than my husband, who worked way too much. He was a CPA, if that tells you anything. Tax season was a killer. We lived far away from my sister whose two children are from fifteen to twenty-six years older than our sons. My sisters-in-law couldn’t help. One had her hands full with young twin boys (thank you God, that could have so easily have been us as both of my parents are twins). My other sister-in-law lives in Greece. My mother-in- law was still working. My parents were in south Alabama. My friends were going through the same things with their own babies. We weren’t a lot of help to one another. We didn’t have time.

Our first son was three when we had our second son. Our second son was fifteen months old when we learned we were going to have our third son. Sons number two, three, and four were all preemies, coming in at five-and-a-half weeks, seven-and-a-half weeks, and eight weeks early. Those first few weeks and months were difficult. I had to juggle at least one baby at home and run back and forth to the hospital to spend time with the new baby. By the time baby number four made his appearance, I had two in grammar school and one in middle school. We were in Ft. Myers, Florida, and my husband had already begun his new job in Tampa. Life was a zoo.

                                                          Did That Really Happen?
The Six of Us, About 1996
 

 I’ve accidentally locked boys in the car. I’ve lost one in the grocery store and one at Busch Gardens (they are quick little boogers). We’ve gone out to eat and one, two, three drinks were knocked over during the course of the meal. Oh, this one’s a goodie. I survived two of them leaving the church service early (dad and I were in the choir), finding one of the service-  microphones in the sacristy and, not realizing it was on, saying something horribly inappropriate for a church service, or any other place, for that matter. The entire congregation heard it. I was mortified. They didn’t need to worry about what the parents were going to do, as son number one, who was fifteen at the time, hit the floor running. I think he was more upset than the parents. Nah. On second thought. 

As the boys got older, the problems didn’t go away. They only changed. We were not the perfect family, though on the outside, to many people, it may have looked like we were. We handled the problems that arose with as much dignity and grace as we could. And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. Sometimes it felt as if God was turning a deaf ear. But when we think He isn’t listening, He is busy behind the scenes doing things we cannot imagine. All with Jeremiah 29:11 in mind.

Pray and Pray Some More, and LOVE
In almost forty years of parenting, for my husband and me, the one thing that has made all the difference and gotten us through each of our trials is our faith in God and in His power to take any circumstance and use it for good. It is difficult to say that, as we have survived some life-altering events, but I have to cling to it. I know that whether or not my children are walking with God, He is walking with them. They are His sheep. He calls them by name. My prayer is that one day, all of our boys will hear His voice (John 10:3). Until that day comes, their dad and I are going to keep praying for them and always, always continue to love them unconditionally.

God's In The Trenches With You
I couldn’t share every event with you, that would be impossible, but I hope that you understand that through the good times, the bad times, the funny times, the heart-breaking times. Through the most painful of times to the happiest of times, they and I have survived, and you will too. So, mothers of boys (and those precious girls, too) press on. The One who knew them before they were yours still knows them, and He is in the trenches with you every single day. You and God have got this.

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