The Many Faces of Mothering Part 4

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you sweet, hard working mamas! Today and through this series, we celebrate you…your journey, your sacrifices, your love, your faithfulness, your trust in the Lord. (If you are just joining us, get caught up with part 1, part 2, and part 3)Wendy Munsell blesses us with sweet encouragement and a reminder that God’s plans are always best.

Far More Abundantly

If anyone had told me when I was a girl that I would grow up to have seven kids and eventually 18 grandchildren I would have said they were crazy! The only families I had ever heard of that were that large were on TV. And although family life as portrayed on The Walton’s and The Brady Bunch looked fascinating it was certainly never anything I longed for myself.

 

Besides, I had a plan. I was going to grow up and become a brain surgeon! That was the most difficult and important sounding job I could think when I was a child and I desperately wanted, no, needed, to be someone who mattered.

 

But God interrupted my craving for validation and status with His own plans for my greater good.

The Many Faces of Mothering

When I was a teenager, I met and fell in love with the young man who later became my husband. At the same time, my family went through several years of tumultuous upheaval. Both factors probably had a part to play in making me forget all about my childhood career goals, but not my need to prove myself.

 

Fast forward five years. Now married, we were living in Maine and immersed in “living the good life.” That meant animal husbandry, growing our food organically, making plans to build a log cabin, and scratching out our living “on the land.” Starting a family seemed to fit in with those goals, because after all, what could be more natural?

 

That’s about the amount of thought processing that went into beginning our family. We were young, in love, and excited about beginning whatever came next in this adventure of being grownups.

 

Soon I was pregnant and immersed in reading books about natural childbirth, Lamaze, and breastfeeding. It was extremely important to me that I get this mothering thing figured out so I could do it “right.” I deeply feared giving birth. However, it wasn’t the pain of labor and delivery that worried me; in my mind I had to do it naturally. I was concerned about losing control and demanding drugs… and that meant failure.

 

But my first baby’s arrival broke all of my preconceptions about how the process was supposed to go. Let’s just say that it included going into transition on the floor of our outhouse, a breakneck ride to the hospital 35 miles away, and the labor nurse delivering the baby! To my great relief, our baby girl was delivered safely and naturally. I was euphoric!

 

God graciously blessed us with three more children over the next six years and the resulting total of three girls and a boy were duly celebrated.

 

I loved breastfeeding and allowed each of the children to self-wean. Cloth diapers, homemade baby food and eventually, homeschooling, completed my self-sufficient, check-listed plan.

But here is where the problem came in; I was still worried about my performance. Unfortunately, my children bore the brunt of a mama who was deeply concerned about appearances, my own and theirs. But, hallelujah(!), we serve an awesome God and He intervened and worked His good and perfect will for my family.

 

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV, underlining mine)

 

Jesus led my husband and I to trust Him for three more children, two boys and a sweet baby girl. However I soon learned that trusting God doesn’t necessarily mean that circumstances will go according to plan… at all.

 

I went from being a mom who felt she could pretty much handle this mothering thing with four kids to a pretty much overwhelmed-all-the-time mother of seven. Multiple challenges such as, a tight budget, a strong-willed child with undiagnosed ADD, and another two with learning disabilities brought me to the end of myself repeatedly. And honestly? That’s the best thing that could have possibly happened.

 

Having to rely on Jesus daily for provision, patience, forgiveness, and wisdom forced me to turn from myself to the only One who could supply all my needs. An unhealthy pride in my ability to meet life’s challenges was effectively dealt with when God convicted me with His truth; I needed for Him every. Single. Day.

 

I realize that by today’s standards, my mothering journey has been a bit, umm… unplanned. But that was probably best for me. I had hidden wounds in my heart that drove me to prove to myself and others that I had value. Unchecked, this craving for validation would probably have robbed me of the opportunity to learn the most important truth of all; my worth comes from Christ, and Christ alone.

 

“yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 ESV)

 

Looking back, I realize that God has graciously given me more than I could have ever asked for… a husband and a family to love, nurture, and serve. Through God’s gift of mothering I have come to realize that my worth in Jesus is not deserved or earned. It is a gift that is abundantly more than I could ever have asked for or imagined.

Wendy Munsell

 

Wendy has been married to her high-school sweetheart, Patrick, for 38 amazing years. They have been blessed with seven children and 17 grand-children! Wendy home-schooled all of her children although that job is coming to an end soon as her youngest child, Mallory, is now a junior in high-school.

Two years ago Wendy and her husband felt God call them to leave their home in Maine and move to Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to ministering in their local church, Wendy volunteers for an organization that serves women who have been victims of sex-trafficking. This opportunity is especially meaningful to Wendy as she has her own story of redemptive healing from being sinned against as a child.

Jesus has taken this formerly uptight, wounded, people-pleaser and set her free through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. In her words, “I’m not the same woman anymore. I used to attempt to work out my own salvation in a vain attempt to be a ‘good’ Christian. Now I follow the One who set me free with a heart overflowing with love and joy.”

Wendy writes to encourage others at her blog, Blessed Unravelling, where she has been writing since June of 2015. She has a special concern for those who have been wounded emotionally and spiritually. It is her hope that others will be transformed by the grace and mercy of Jesus.

She can also be reached on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Comments

  1. “Having to rely on Jesus daily for provision, patience, forgiveness, and wisdom forced me to turn from myself to the only One who could supply all my needs. An unhealthy pride in my ability to meet life’s challenges was effectively dealt with when God convicted me with His truth; I needed for Him every. Single. Day.”

    THIS- is what I needed to read today Wendy! I so struggle with this. As a young girl I decided that I needed to be a fixer. It doesn’t work on so many levels. I’m starting to journey out of this place- to be more vulnerable, giving parts of my heart to the Lord that have been sealed off by self-protection, allowing for more “messiness” so that I and my family, can work through things, instead of me trying to make things smooth. That is where real relationships are formed! In those messy places where we are our true self. Love this post!

  2. Wow. What an incredible story! I loved reading about how God transformed your heart through those precious 7 children. I cannot even imagine such a full house AND home-schooling them all? Amazing. And 17 grandchildren? Just so inspiring to see how God set you free through your devotion to Him and your calling. Thank you so much for sharing your powerful message.

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