As a single woman, I viewed motherhood through rose colored glasses, imagining adorable, fresh-smelling cooing babies, in cute outfits. I imagined holding them, kissing them, changing them, singing to them, teaching them about Jesus.
I never imagined losing sleep while holding a crying baby.
I never imagined the real smell of that adorable child, who ejected vile fluids from all bodily openings.
I never imagined rarely eating a warm meal for over a decade.
My first rude awakening into the true challenges of parenthood came soon after I married Scott. We invited Tom and Jaci to dinner, a couple the Lord used as a godly example in the early years of our marriage and parenting. The entire meal, Jaci spent time cutting meat and feeding the toddler, while holding the squirming baby on her lap. Tom had to leave the table to discipline and to take the toddler poddy.
When the toddler was fed, the baby needed to be nursed. By the time the rest of us were done with our meal, Jaci's meal was still on her plate, cold. The gravy had congealed on her mountain of mashed potatoes. We didn't have a microwave to rewarm the meal, but she didn't care. Her babies were happy, so she was happy. She ate the whole plate of food cold, with a smile on her face, graciously complementing me and thanking me for the meal.
I never got that visual out of my mind, nor her sweet spirit in serving her children at personal expense. Her example was a shining beacon for my next two decades of interrupted and cold meals.
When we arrived Christmas Day, my daughter and her husband had a wonderful ham dinner prepared.
We all sat down and devoured the meal, laughing, passing and making new holiday memories...
...while Jana sat on the couch feeding baby Bubba...with a smile on her face.
When Jaci cared for her children that evening 23 years ago, I know she wasn't thinking that she was displaying her faith to profoundly influence my mothering. She also wasn't thinking that I would tell my children about her impactful example. In fact, if I were to get in touch with her and relate this pivotal moment to her, I am pretty sure she wouldn't even remember the situation. Jaci was just serving the Lord as a joyful mother of children.
When we think of the admonition in Titus 2 for older women to teach younger women, we think of women's Bible studies, radio programs or well-known authors who come through town to talk about their latest book on parenting. These things can be blessing, but I think we are most impacted by those quiet moments where we watch older believers living their faith before us.
It's also a solemn admonition that our quiet moments of parenting might be a living sermon to younger moms who are
Jaci preached a sermon for 23 years in my heart by being a Mommy who ate cold food.
Sisters, what sermon are we preaching with our lives?