Chemo is over. This trial felt like it lasted forever but the end is finally here. Now I am rebuilding. There is this assumption, for people who have never gone through this, that once treatments are over everything is better. In some ways that’s true but it many ways it isn’t. The worrying is over and truthfully that is the worst part.
It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. But now I am dealing with the after math. I still have crazy fatigue, weakness, a foggy feeling, joint pain, neuropathy in my hands, decreased heart function and hearing loss that might get better or worse over the next few months. Boy that sounds like a lot of complaining.
I’m taking baby steps and trying to return to normal life. Its working. I find my days filled with school, kids, housework, cooking, and a million other things. I’m busy. I spent the last six months going through hard things but doing it while encased in this beautiful cocoon that God built for me. My days were filled with sickness, of course, but they were mostly filled with playing guitar, reading the word, enjoying my family and having meaningful conversations with my savior. He taught me more about myself in this time than in years past.
I expected that I would learn all about depending on God and his faithfulness. But instead he used that quiet time to show me myself. He opened my eyes to who I really was and what I was about. Now don’t get me wrong I was shown his faithfulness daily but time and time again he brought me back to a place of honesty about myself. Everything changed. Who I am, who I want to be, what I want to be about…it all changed.
Now I am in a place where the rubber needs to meet the road. I can now start putting into action the things I have been praying and thinking on for months. So, I wanted to share one little thing God showed me.
I’ve been spending some time in Titus, specifically thinking on these verses:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
In so many ways I am both women. I am the young mom with only a 9 and 8-year-old who needs help, guidance and support from older mothers who have already walked the road that is ahead of me. I am also the older woman who is ten years ahead of those who are newlyweds and long past the days of diapers, bottles and toddler tantrums. I’ve been thinking a lot on what it means to be the older woman and how I can show love and support to those moms who are just starting out.
A while ago a friend of mine shared a passage from a book that she is reading and I felt the prick of God on my heart. The book says this:
“I want to be the one volunteering in the nursery; in fact, I want all of us who have raised our children to be the ones in the nursery, so that the moms of little ones don’t have to be. Let’s remember, so that we can be the Titus 2 woman that our generation is so desperate for.”
Here is a little known fact, or maybe just not so well known: our church nursery is staffed by almost all young mothers. In fact it’s mainly staffed by a single handful of volunteers who rotate. And they happen to be (mainly) the mothers of the babies in there.
I remember, as I am sure you can as well, how tough those early years were. I can recall having a toddler and newborn and how I would look forward to Sunday where I could sit child free and reboot for the next week. I needed that time to sit, worship and hear his word disruption free. It made all the difference in the world. The young moms in our fellowship are not getting that as often as they should be. We are failing them…I know that sounds incredibly harsh but we are.
Growing up I attended my Grandma’s church very regularly. What I saw there didn’t seem all that special at the time but looking back I can see how amazing that little Church of Christ was. The Sunday school, summer camps and VBS was almost entirely staffed by a large group of older saints. My grandmother and her friends taught the classes and their husbands handled things like woodworking for the crafts. I can remember walking through the doors and instantly all of us kids were their concern, as the shooed parents off to enjoy services. I am left with beautiful memories not only of a grandma that I loved and miss everyday but of her friends.
I distinctly remember a mom who was feeling overwhelmed and even as a child I could see it all over her face. Dorothy, one of those incredible older saints, sat down next to her and spent a few minutes telling her what an incredible mother she was and what a great job she was doing. The woman just sat their and cried. At the time none of that made any sense but looking back now I can only imagine how much that young mother needed to hear those words.
Over the last few months I’ve wondered, am I a Dorothy? When these moms are struggling I offer my prayers (which is the most powerful thing we can do) but I haven’t been offering my hands and feet. I have seen time and time again the call put out for nursery volunteers and very few rise up, myself included. I feel ashamed. I get so caught up in my own life that I forget to look for ways to help others.
It isn’t just in the church. How many times have I seen a prayer request posted and done nothing? How many times have I heard a young mother say how overwhelmed she is and I’ve just sat there? What have I been doing? Why haven’t I stepped up and helped these women?
A simple cup of coffee, a verse shared, words of encouragement given, babysitting for a date night or even just holding their baby during a bible study so they can focus would be helpful. God has shown a light on my heart and I have been founding wanting. That is the simple truth. My words and my actions have not measured up. I want to see a change in my church, I want to see a change in my community, and most importantly I want to see a change in my own heart.
SO, I am asking those of us with older children (ones no longer in that nursery stage whether that be elementary, high school or grown up children who have given you grandbabies now) to step up and be the Titus 2 woman. Let’s poor down blessings on these tired moms. Let’s be his hands and feet. Let’s minister to those who need us. I have a million ideas for how I hope to do this in the future but my first baby step will be volunteering in children’s church. Love you all.