Hope for a Young Mother — part 8

That 11 year-old girl who prayed for a Christian home in part 2 was now 27 years old with three-year-old twins and a new baby.

Although my husband’s income was limited, I am glad I was forced to stay home during the girls’ early years. To make ends meet, I was able to earn extra money by typing resumes, selling jewelry at home parties, and later, working nights at Subway. Then, when the girls were a little older, I did day care in our home for almost 10 years.

Even though I had to count every penny, join the WIC program, and buy most things second hand, God always provided what we needed. And, He used my journaling to help me through the stress and confusion.

Since doing day care kept me in the house all day and my evenings were filled with work, I didn’t get to socialize much. That made it pretty lonely. As I recorded in my journal March 1992, “I have been working 3-4 evenings a week at Subway and taking care of Jake, Zach and Megan for daycare. I obviously have too little time to spend on friendships. How, Dear Lord, do I find the balance? If I quit Subway, I would not be too tired to have friends over. However, we need the money. I just have to invest what time I can into relationships and patiently wait for experiences to bond us together.” In my journal the next day I asked “how does God fill that feeling of loneliness?” and my answer was “diving into God’s word allows Him to talk to me and I get to talk to Him in prayer. We are sharing and He is strengthening me with His presence through His word. I can feel the void being filled.”

Coming out of a background of unhealthy relationships, not only was I learning how to develop healthy relationships, I was also trying to figure out healthy parenting. I don’t know what I would have done without the free development classes and studies at the church.

By the summer of 1992, the isolation at home and lack of accomplishment drove me to look for a creative outlet and I started to sell Tupperware. My journal at that time reads: “I have come to know myself now. Even though I’ve played the house wife for the past 7 years, I am not a barefoot, dowdy, quiet woman. I can serve my husband’s and family’s needs while yet being who I truly am.”

God blessed my business. Within one and one-half years, I recruited 20 members into my unit and earned a van. However, before I knew it, the job demanded more and more time away from my family. I had vowed that if Tupperware ever fought for priority in my life over God and family, I would quit. That is why, one year later, when I was told that I had to work even harder and put in more hours to keep my managerial position, I gave the van back and quit (Matthew 6:19-24).

I was still moving forward, however, and I adopted Philippians 3:13-14 as my life verse: “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling (me).” In order to be the healthy and positive mom, wife, daughter and friend that I wanted to be, I started caring for my health. Then, when the girls were all finally in school, I decided to go back to school to get my Bachelors degree.

Before going any further, however, there was still another piece missing in my life. Not only did I have a half-brother on my father’s side (see additional “comment” on part 1 of my story), but I always knew I had a half-sister on my mother’s side. However, we had never met her. She was taken away from my young unwed mother when her schizophrenia began. In my next post, I will tell how our sister found us.

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A New Life with 3 Babies — part 7

Because Jessica and Rachael spent the first three months of their lives with noisy machines and under bright lights, the quietness of our home was not very comforting for them. For the first several months, we had to put them to sleep by tuning the radio to static and turning it up full blast. One of our other biggest dilemmas was finding clothes small enough for them. In this picture, just before they came home, they were wearing cabbage patch clothes….

If it weren’t for the records I kept in their baby calendars, I wouldn’t remember their first year. When they came home, the girls were drinking only 4 ounces of milk every three hours so I had to keep track of how much each of them ate and when they ate throughout the day and night. I did not worry about training them to sleep long periods of time since they still needed so much nourishment. Therefore, they did not sleep through the night until they were seven months old. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to that career I mentioned earlier. Not only because the girls required around the clock care but because their fragile lungs couldn’t be exposed to germs in a day care setting.

Jessica and Rachael had been in the NICU at the same time as two other sets of premature twin girls who had also received blood transfusions. One year later, we saw the parents of one of those girls on the news saying their daughter had contracted aids from the blood transfusions she received during those first days in the NICU. The girls were born in 1984 and the state of Minnesota had not started testing blood for aids until 1985. As soon as we saw the announcement, I called the doctor and he said he had been expecting my call. We brought Jessica and Rachael in for testing. Again, God protected the girls and they had not contracted aids.

After the first couple years, I wondered whether I should take the risk and try to get pregnant again. Instead of worrying about the “what if’s,” I told God it was up to Him whether I could handle going through something like this again. This is when I came to know Him as my merciful Father and He gave me another little girl who was this time 8 lb. 11 oz. The experience was so different from that of the twins. I was in labor for four days and she was born two days after her due date. Christina was so healthy and happy that her daddy actually said “she smiles too much” and I wrote in her baby calendar “if she cries, there is a good reason for it. At 14 months, she still doesn’t cry when left in the nursery.”

The twins love Tina. When they came to visit us in the hospital, I held out my arms to hug my little girls but they ran straight for Tina! It was a feeling of sadness because I wanted to hug my little girls, but also a feeling of joy because they were so excited to see their little sister. Here they are trying to hold onto Tina…

God used this experience to start the process of breaking down the protective walls I had built as a child. He gave me an appreciation and understanding of the kind of love I had never experienced before. I didn’t realize until this point in my life how little I used to cry.

Being a 27 year old mother with three children ages three and under was very stressful. Not to mention living on a single income. I will share some of those struggles next time.

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