Today’s Table Talk is written by our own Sue Bohlin‘s good friend, Kathryn Martin. We are so fortunate that Kathryn offered to share with us some of her vast wisdom. Get ready to be blessed. And might we all let the blessing flow forth to our kids as we anchor our eyes with gratitude on the goal, not the moment.
Thanks, Kathryn! … and thanks for walking the road with me.
Do you remember when just smelling your baby’s sweet head made your heart overflow with gratitude to God? When all it took for your child’s face to be wreathed in smiles was to see you coming into view? When your hugs and kisses solved most of their hurts both physical and emotional? Neither do I except in the far, dim reaches of my memory.
Now smelly shoes, eyes that roll at your suggestions and pain that is not easily solved seem to fill your days…and you have lost the overwhelming gratitude to God for this child. Instead your prayers are pleas for help, for wisdom and for patience. Good prayers, all, but maybe that prayer of gratitude that God gifted you with this child is still the prayer that should dominate your prayer life. After all, God trusted you with this child…yes this one with the bad attitude because He knew you could shape that strong will into a stronger will for God. Yes, this child with the learning issue because God knew that you would become an advocate for this child with teachers, with counselors and sometimes with Sunday School teachers and youth workers. Yes, this child who is now making unwise choices because God knew you would never, ever give up on this beloved rebel….just like God never gives up on you. What trust is placed in you by God.
I can remember thinking during a particularly trying period with teens that I was so thankful to be the mom of these guys. Now by no means were we perfect parents…our adults sons can tell you today of many mistakes we made. But I knew we would never give up on any of our sons and that their first and best advocate would always be their mom and dad…and all around me I saw families that gave into despair when their children did not fit the perfect Christian child box. Even at our worst moments, I could thank God for each son’s individual characteristics and ask God to use the situation or issue that was driving me the most crazy to make both the son and me into the persons God wanted us to become. So the son who was dragged through high school by my will now teaches young people who work in his business how to have a solid work ethic. The son with a less than stellar experience with understanding teachers now has a Masters in Literacy and works with challenged students in the inner city. The guy who marched to the beat of a different drummer on a different field in a different city (a “one-er”) is now an accomplished linguist, military leader and wonderful husband and father. And the “easy” son is an excellent businessman, husband and father who brings joy to every situation.
Three adult siblings were looking over an old photo album last week after their grandfather’s funeral. Gales of laughter at hairstyles, clothing choices and facial expressions came from the three women with their heads close together. In one infamous picture, the oldest was caught in a particularly obnoxious pose…a tween girl showing her attitude clearly to the camera. As they laughed over the picture, I thought, for not the first time, how glad I am that God sees us and our children as a moving picture and not a snapshot. We are not forever doomed to be that obnoxious, difficult child but can grow into the persons He wants us to be. And I was thankful for that beautiful adult woman’s parents who never gave up on her becoming a strong, Godly woman who lives out her values in the workplace as a gifted entrepreneur and as a wonderful mother herself.
How about making a daily gratitude list about each of your children? What can you be thankful for today about the child that is giving you the most heartache? What if you shared your thankfulness with them? Oh, yes, probably an eye roll or two would come your way. You are going to have to trust me on this one…but having a 28 year old thank you for never giving up on him will make a few eye rolls worthwhile.
Tired? Discouraged? Make that list now. And look tomorrow to add to your gratitude list. And oh, by the way, make sure to thank God that He trusted you with His precious creations…your beautiful children.
Writer, Teacher, Speaker, Wife, Mother, Church Administrator are some of the titles that might describe Kathryn Martin. A native Texan, Kathryn is married to Dr John A Martin, President of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY. They are the parents of four adult sons (Christopher, Cameron, Colin and Kyle) and three lovely daughters in law (April, Christa, and Amber) plus three wonderful grandchildren…twins Jack and Shiloh and Lily. In addition, the Martins’ niece Helen is loved as a daughter.
One of Kathryn’s greatest joys is the large group Bible study she teaches each year. Writing and teaching from the Old Testament in the Fall and the New Testament in the Spring keeps Kathryn studying God’s Word on a daily basis. In addition, Kathryn has spoken at hundreds of Women’s Conferences, Retreats, Seminars and Community Groups. Currently she is involved in Small Group Leadership at Pearce Church in North Chili, NY as a staff member in that ministry