What About You Wednesday | My Mom

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Today is very special as we welcome someone very dear to my heart! In honor of this being her first week of retirement, and her 30th wedding anniversary being June 22nd, today we are welcome my mom to the blog. Let’s step into her season…  

What season of life do you currently find yourself in?

“Encounters generally begin with, “Hello!”   They end with “Good-Bye.”     In the past years, however, my experience has been the reverse: “Good-Bye….followed by “Hello.”

As a parent, releasing your children to college and beyond is one, big tearful “Good-Bye.” (It’s bigger than the tearful good-bye at the Kindergarten door!) Obviously, it is not a permanent departing, but the change of the parent/child relationship.   From the day of his/her birth, a parent’s objective is to prepare that child for adulthood, for that step into maturity, for that day of departure.   As they leave for college or career, it is time for letting go and saying good bye.   The next goodbye is far bigger and more permanent (because, somehow, once they leave for college or career, they always seem to find their way home again)!   When God brings that man or woman into your son or daughter’s life as a marriage partner, and you are sitting at the wedding listening to them repeat their vows of commitment for life, let me tell you, that’s one very HUGE good bye!

All of the good-byes have been followed by joyous hellos! HELLO to the new college friends and roommates. How enriching to share in the lives of godly young people who mean so much to your child.   HELLO to the wonderful man who loves your daughter and has chosen to care for and nurture her for the rest of her life. HELLO to the precious young woman who has brought out all the wonderful qualities you always knew were part of your son. Anticipating the joining of their lives in marriage is a great hello.

As a daughter I have said good-bye to my dear father. He waits in heaven for mom. Certainly it won’t be long until we say our earthly good-bye to her, too.   With those good-byes is the promise of the greatest HELLO imaginable when my Savior says to me as well, “Welcome Home!”

As a wife I say goodbye to 30 years of memories and experiences, and hello to the years ahead with the amazing man from Killyleagh, Northern Ireland, that God chose to be my husband.

As the student data specialist at an elementary school, I have said good-bye to students, their families, my colleagues and friends of twenty years. Walking through the cafeteria on that final day, it became so real. I was saying good-bye to the career and life I had known for so long.   Good-byes are so often accompanied by tears of joy and sadness.

However, I now say HELLO to opportunities that are yet unknown. There is a sense of great freedom and anticipation of the next years of my life. The possibilities for service and “hello” are endless.”

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?

“God is faithful to His promises. He said there would always be summer, winter, spring and harvest. There would always be seasons.   Each season of the year is marked by very distinct qualities. The trees, the sun, the animals all have an inner sense that it is time for the change. (Don’t we sense it, too?) How boring if everything stayed the same! We would miss the breath-taking beauty of the spring blossoms, the warm healing of the summer sun, the crackle and rustling of brown and yellow and red leaves underfoot, and the awe-inspiring splendor of a winter storm.   I am grateful that we experience seasons in our individual lives. We need the changes that the years and circumstances bring. We grow and stretch and learn and serve in different ways.   We say good-bye…but then we say hello again!   God has shown me that we “know” when it is time for the season to change.”

How have you/are you changing in this season?

“I’m relaxing! It still seems just like “summer vacation” from school. I’m sure the season of “retirement” will be more definable when school starts again.   I’m not panicking about what I am going to do with my time.   I normally want it all planned out and organized, but I’m learning to slow down. “In His Time” the steps will be made clear.   I know that retirement is God’s will for now. I frequently remind my daughter of the truth of a song that says God has a will. Our need is to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it. I’m trying to take my own advice! I’m anticipating all those new hellos!”

What encouragement would you share with someone in a similar season?

“Say good-bye to your children with open arms!   They need to know that you have confidence in them and that you are always there for wisdom, advice and support. Empty nest is really not bad. It’s a good season!  (And for you children, don’t forget pa and ma! Include them in your texting and emailing and make a phone call to each of them once in a while. Introduce them to your friends. Ask their advice. It makes a parent still feel needed J)

Thinking of retirement. Everyone told me, “You will know when it is time.” And you will!   As you prayerfully ask God to show you His will, He will make it very evident to you and will confirm, “This is the way; walk in it.”

A Prayer for My Mom…

 “Heavenly Father, thank You so much for giving me the perfect mom for me. Thank You that I can also call her my sister in Christ. Thank You for the season You have her in. Thank You for being aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You for the example she has been to me of a woman who fears You, seeks You, knows Your Word, and finds her strength in You. Thank You for the wisdom, support, unconditional love, patience, encouragement, and sacrifice she has shown me over the years. Thank You that when I had no friends and felt like I didn’t fit in, for giving me a friend in my mom. Thank You for giving her the perseverance to never give up on her children. Thank You for revealing Yourself to me through my mom. Thank You for the many lives she has touched in the many roles she has played. Thank You for the way she has honored her mother and father. Thank You for giving her the gift of hospitality and administration, things she has passed along to me. Thank You for enabling her to let me go. God, I pray that You would continue to reveal Yourself to my mom in new ways. I pray that her relationship with You would continue to flourish. I pray that as she slows down and seeks what You would have next for her, that she will be willing to do whatever You may have her do to further Your Kingdom. I pray that you will continue to help her release control and her desire to always to know the plan, and increase her trust, as she rests and nests in Your blessed plan. I pray that her and my dad would enjoy this new, sweet season of marriage, and learn even more of Your love through it. I pray that You would give my mom sweet friendships in this season. I pray that You would provide women younger than her for her to invest in. I pray that as she lets go, she will continue to hold onto Your promises. God, as our family grows, may my mom (and the rest of us) embrace new memories and traditions, while still treasuring the past. May my mom continue to see hellos and goodbyes as gifts of grace. May my mom never forget how much I love her, and that You love her even more. In Your Faithful Name, Amen.”

One Fourth of A Century

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Today is my 25th birthday. Today I am one fourth of a century old. And so in celebration, I am officially launching this new blog. I’m not new to blogging. I’ve had a blog for a few years which I would write on every now and then, rarely going public with my posts. But, I feel like it’s time for me to begin sharing, in hopes of encouraging.

Will you come with me through the seasons?

As I was looking through some old pictures I stumbled upon this picture:

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Apparently though I’ve been writing for a lot longer than I remember! Ha.

Last night boof (the hubs) and I went to my parents for my birthday eve. As we sat around eating cake, conversation turned to memories of growing up and the way in which my parents raised my brother and I. And there we all sat, my mom and dad, my brother and his fiancé, boof and I. It was surreal, a lot to soak in. It’s my first birthday being married, it’s a miracle that my brother is getting married, and my parents are edging toward retirement. The birthday parties have gone from Pretty Little Princess to sitting around talking about marriage, house remodeling, and cooking. Oh how the seasons have changed, oh how they have changed us.

As I left, my mom tried to remember the details of my birth story: time, weight, length. These things kind of get a little foggy after twenty five years.

When we got back to our apartment, I remembered something I had tucked away a few years ago, the birth announcement my mom had written. As I read through it, I realized how quickly things changed for my parents the day I was born. They walked into the hospital with one child, and left with two. It reminded me of how quickly things change in our lives, and how most of the time we do not know the dramatic effect they will have on us. I was overcome with so much gratitude for my parents as my eyes were open to how much the season of parenting has changed them, how much it has impacted them, how much they have sacrificed (and continue to). I guess this realization hits home a little more now, being in a position where I could be a mom. Oh so much will change in my life if (God willing) that happens! I look forward to that season, but for now, I look back on the moment my parents were ushered into a new season, of having a baby girl. I only hope to be half of the parents they are to me.

“The Psalmist reminds us that each human being is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ As our 8 pound 13 ounce, 21-inch long daughter came into the world, we praised God for His miraculous handiwork. It was 4:34 a.m. on Friday, March 2 that Amy Elizabeth was born.

We chose Amy Elizabeth for several reasons. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, was born in Millisle, about 20 miles from [Amy’s father’s] home village in Northern Ireland. Her life and writings have been a great inspiration and challenge to [Amy’s father]. Amy means “greatly loved” and that is exactly how we feel about our Amy. Elizabeth means “God’s promise.” How often we have looked to His promises and faithfulness. Also, [Amy’s grandma] is Elizabeth, and [Amy’s mom’s] best friend is Rachel Elizabeth.

Who does she look like? Well we all agree that she is a Quinn baby, a real Irish Lassie. She looks like her Granda Quinn, her uncle Denis Quinn, and her Daddy. She has lots of hair which was very dark at first, but just could turn out to be auburn!

Big Brother is taking it all in stride. He is very proud of Amy and loves to hug and kiss her! “I’ll never get tired of holding my baby sister,” he says. He is into sticker books, mazes, and dot-to-dot activities right now. He has also just recovered from the chicken pox!

Thank you for praying for us. [Mom] is feeling good and Amy is a healthy baby. We are now trusting God to clearly lead us in the next segment of our lives as we seek His will regarding a place of ministry. Pray with us for His unmistakable direction.”

As I read this, my eyes get a little blurry and my heart full. My mother’s last line in my birth announcement is the same prayer I asked my parents to pray for me last night. Sometimes the most encouraging thing in the present is to look back and remember the past, and here I find they overlap. And I am assured; the same God who was faithful then, will be faithful again.