My grandfather told my mom occasionally when she was a little girl, “Trina, one day I hope you have a child just like you.” She always took that as a sign she was his favorite and he wanted more kids like her… Until she had me.
It’s worth noting that I was an only child.
Mom and I were both strong-willed and determined. As most kids do, I just wanted my way and would impose my will with resolve and a set of powerful dimples gifted to me by my dad. Since Mom was equally determined and willful, we were at odds quite often.
When I was younger, the scuffles were built around minor things we eventually overcame, such as lacking the money for a ride at the fair, not getting pizza for dinner, and being denied when I wanted to stay up and watch a TV show due to bedtimes. (Don’t be fooled who won that battle – I had a TV in my bedroom and she had to go to sleep sometime). Other times it was the crazy clothes I wanted to wear that day, or Mom’s financially-savvy decision to buzz-cut my hair herself.
As I grew older, the altercations ignited over more substantial topics that shaped how I would deal with life as I grew into adulthood: drinking, my dad (a man my mother disdained), trips I was allowed or forbidden to take, or the constant family and lifestyle transitions, which were happening each time she divorced and remarried. Once I became a Christian, we brawled over my participation in church, the Christian college I was set on, and my decision to move to my dad’s place when I became tired of the oppression (which, of course, lasted a whole two or three days, but was very dramatic for everyone).
She passed away eight years ago today. I am twenty-eight years old, and she would have turned forty-nine nine days from my writing this.
My mother once told me she hoped one day I would have a child just like me. Sounds familiar. And I received him: my firstborn. My beloved Charlie – named after my mom’s father who was one of the more stable and influential voices in my life growing up.
Charlie is determined, strong-willed, and has my dimples, not to mention bright blue eyes and a smile that will melt you where you stand. He is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for him, I was him – so I know how he operates. But fortunately for him, I watched how my mother dealt with me and have applied what I learned to a completely different worldview. How is it different? I will marry only once, I will not ground my children from church, and I will do everything in my power to nurture Charlie into the leader and influencer God created him to be. He will learn discipline with love, excellence with grace, and instruction with mercy. He will impact the Kingdom of God in one form or another, but his natural tendencies will carry him far.
My second son, Jase, is still a baby. I cannot yet clearly see where he is heading or how his temperament will develop. But he has a gentle demeanor and loves to talk with you. He will likely be a communicator of some sort and an encourager and lover of people. I will endeavor to strengthen those traits as well, but will have to heavily rely on my wife for help with that.
My third son is on his way, but not here yet. He currently only goes by the name Chickpea. Who knows what adventure he will bring along with him? God knows. And God trusts my wife and I to handle it.
I heard someone recently joke about having a second daughter. He was hoping for a son to wrestle with. A friend and father of girls encouraged his ego: “When God sees there’s enough man in the house, he doesn’t think he needs to add more.” I turned to my wife, pregnant with our third son and teased “So, what does that say about me then?” She replied ever so lovingly, “It means that God trusts you enough not only to be a man, but to raise men.”
Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…”
Through all of the trial, hardship, difficulty, persecution, struggle – and still, her love and sacrifice – my mother surely had no idea what she was doing to me and within me. How could she have known what she was forging? Out of the hottest fire comes the strongest steel. Perhaps she did not know how to set me up for all God made me to be, but God took what she offered and turned it around. After He did – and as He continues – a person is developing that grows Men of God. It is my heart’s passion.
So thank you, Mom, happy anniversary in Heaven, and happy birthday in a few days. And thank you, God – you have redeemed what was directed toward destruction and made it a powerful and valuable resource for Your Kingdom. I am truly honored to be among Your creation and useful for Your Purpose.
“Grander earth has quaked before, moved by the sound of His voice.
Seas that are shaken and stirred can be calmed and broken for my regard.
Far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see.
And this mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown in the midst of the sea.
Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. Through it all, through it all it is well.
Through it all, my eyes are on You and it is well with me.
So let go, my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.
It is well, with my soul.”
– From It is Well, by Kristene Dimarco