Friday, June 24, 2011

My Biggest and Proudest Fight

MOM! I love that title! I remember after I delivered Tenly, they showed her to me and had to whisk her away pretty quickly- but I remember looking at Lupe and saying, "I'm a Mommy!". It's so amazing that instantaneous feeling of unconditional love for a little person you just met. A little person who can barely see you and is usually screaming their little heads off- and all you can feel is overwhelming unquestionable love. (It honestly is a perfect reflection of God's love for us!)
Tenly 1st time on the stage\
In our premarital counseling Lupe and I both unanimously agreed that ministry would never come before our marriage, children, or family. Our priorities would always be God, Our Family, Ministry- we both wholeheartedly agreed to this. I was adamant that we would always keep this in focus, most of my determination came from growing up as a PK (preachers kid)myself. There were times that I felt "punished" or "sacrificed" for the ministry. I'm sure some of that came from the selfishness that comes with the age of children/preteen/teens- but some was justified. It's a hard balance to be a parent and minister- the attempt in and of itself is to be admired.
1st steps with 'Aunt' Chris at camp
After becoming a Mom who was also in the ministry, I knew I was going to have to stand strong about some things- but really had no idea what I was truly about to go up against. I was picky (as most Moms naturally are) about with whom, where, when, and how long I would leave my children. We had over 300 Bible School Students- and much of the attitude was to pick one of them that was available upon the need and let them watch the kids. I think we all know that, just because they're a Bible School student doesn't mean a thing- and for that very reason I took my time and was extremely thorough upon picking the 2 people who would be my babysitter for that 1-2 years (then would have to go through the process again once they graduated) (A couple years into this, God sent me Sarah Mo- she managed to make these decisions much easier, even to her own expense at times.) If my child was sick, I would be with them and not be at church or a ministry function. If I had made plans with my children/husband/family, I would not cancel them for a last minute ministry "need"- this brings me to my favorite quote: "Your lack of planning/organization does not constitute an emergency on my (or my families) part!". If an event conflicted with my children's schedule (bedtime is at 8 and event isn't over until 11) and I do not have adequate childcare- I will not be there. I did not want my kids to have to go to the camp to be able to see their Daddy. I did not want the camp to be 'their home'. I did not want staff and students to parent my children.
Gia at work with Dad
I recall a decision I made once that I regret making. The young lady that was over our nursery was going to be out for a couple of weeks to get married, and I would be covering the department. Well, Tenly woke up Wednesday morning running a fever that continued to climb throughout the day, she also had a runny nose, cough, and goopey eyes to match. Around 4:00, I made the phone call to inform "the powers that be" that I would not be able to make it and explained the reasons why. Mind you, I already had a reputation for being a "difficult mom" because I wouldn't push my kids aside. Well, the guilt was laid on and 3 phone calls later I threw Tenly in the car, jumped in and put my makeup on on the way to church. When our Pastors wife saw me there, she got the biggest smile and said how proud she was of me and how God honored me for putting the church children and families first. I know that statement was made to make me beam and cause my heart to swell. Instead, I walked away with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, because although I put the church children and families first- I put my own suffering child last. That was not alright with me, I was so upset with myself for compromising my main priority and most precious gift.
Tenly dancing at the camp
At the camp in Uniforms.
Then we hit the Birthday Party JUNK! It was proposed that we needed to have all Birthday Parties regulated out at the ministry. Either all or none of the staff and children could be invited, either all parties would be on or off the grounds, our date and guest list would have to be approved, no invitations would be allowed to be passed out, etc. There were reasons behind these regulations, and there were some validity to some of them. When asked my opinion, I candidly said it was crazy and ridiculous (and believe me, I was holding WAY back). I respectfully said I did not agree and refused to allow my children to be punished for being in the ministry. Of course, they said that wasn't what was happening to which I responded- the only reason the kids were having to have regulated parties was because their parents were in the ministry. That point could not be argued. It really bothered me- and I did not agree to follow the regulations- of course I did respectfully have the parties put on the calender- I had no issue with that. It did not help that all of this was happening while I was planning Tenly's 3rd Birthday party, lol- which went as exactly planned!
Summer Work with Dad, in Uniform
I fought, and I fought hard. I cried, and I cried hard. I went against the flow, I stood out from amongst the rest, I felt alienated on many occasions. It didn't change me, I wanted to be a good Mom more than I wanted to teach a class, be on a stage, be recognized, be 'honored (rolling my eyes)', have a title. Not that there weren't a few times when we were out late, off schedule, rearrange plans- and that's okay some times- but not every week/day. I'm not perfect and I have and will let my kids down, but I always want them to know I fought and will fight for them and our family.
Best Job EVER!
I look back, and I am proud of myself- and very proud of Lupe for fighting the Battle of Our Family regardless of how difficult it was. It was sometimes harder for him than me, we would make a decision and I might get a couple of phone calls or occasional meeting. But Lupe had to go to work and face the music all day, all week- and believe me- that wasn't easy. Lupe never once 'threw me under the bus'- even if he questioned the decision he stood behind me/us! The Biggest and Proudest Fight I will continue to fight is for my girls and my family. While at the ministry I was given the gift of being a mom- I'm still learning- but I'm a good mom who fails at times but continues to fight nevertheless. Family is my first ministry, I don't want to win 1000's of others to see my other 2 lost..........! I found and I know that God honors my fight for my family!

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