Motherhood, grace, and eighteen years

In this month’s status report I mentioned my oldest son turning 18 (EIGHTEEN!!) and I promised my usual melancholy nostalgia would be featured in an upcoming post. Well, today’s the day! I thought it might be fun to post a few pics in honor of my boy’s far-too-brief babyhood.
Here he is on his birth day with his proud daddy…

Our little family…
His first Easter, my dad and grandfather in the background…

One of my favorite shots…

I love how he’s holding on tight to my shirt in this picture…

Spaghetti, anyone?

His first birthday. My mom made his scotty dog outfit…
In the hammock with his “baby”…

Thanksgiving program at preschool…
His first soccer game. What a good looking coach–and so young too! 🙂

Kindergarten graduation. I remember thinking at the time that I would turn around and he would be wearing the cap and gown of his high school graduation. And so he will this May. Crazy!

He and I this past Christmas…

And the three of us after a football game this past fall…

And all of us at Thanksgiving…

Yesterday I was complaining about commenting on how it seems all I ever do is laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry, all the time laundry. My youngest son, always seeking to encourage and defend me, observed that soon I won’t have as much to do since there will be one less of us, a fact that always seems to surprise me though I think about it every time I fold a load of clothes. My mind and my heart protest, asserting that surely he’s too young to be gone and so soon too! It’s not possible, I think, and certainly inconceivable to consider he will no longer be home every night come August.

I was unsure I was ready to be a mom when I discovered I was pregnant. It was my husband who excitedly watched the pregnancy test and who joyously shared the good news with friends and family. I spent most of my pregnancy scared and worried and convinced I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready that is true–no one ever is–but when the doctor placed him in my arms I was sure. I was a mom and in that moment I was, and forever will be, grateful beyond measure.

I’m not the best mom, not by anyone’s standards, and truly nothing has revealed my deepest insecurities and my desperate insufficiencies like motherhood. I can’t do this, not well, and I’ve confessed such in brokenhearted tears over and over and over throughout the last eighteen years (and three more children). I’ve seen the very worst of myself exposed; yet I’ve also seen the extravagant goodness and grace of a merciful and loving Father. I’m not enough, that is heartbreakingly true, but He is more and then some.

The past eighteen years have been the best of my life. I love being a mom to four wonderful sons whom I love more than life itself. We have known much laughter, much joy, much happiness. The Lord has been good to us! My husband and I are so proud of our boys and so humbled by the privilege that is ours to love them and raise them. We know that our oldest boy turning eighteen and leaving home isn’t the end of anything but merely a difference in the way things have been. We will miss him–oh yes, indeed we will–but we eagerly anticipate the blessings and joys yet to come!

So, to our oldest boy, on your birthday (or a couple of weeks later as the case may be), we want you to know how very much you are loved. Your accomplishments thus far are amazing and we hope you will be a wise steward of all that you’ve been granted. As proud as we are of your accolades and achievements, we want but one thing for you: that you love and serve the Lord Jesus with all of your heart, your soul and your mind. We are so proud of the man you have become and we pray that you will be a bold ambassador for the kingdom, unashamedly proclaiming the gospel, doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

11 thoughts on “Motherhood, grace, and eighteen years”

  1. Oh the sweetness and the handsomeness. A very happy birthday to your 18 year old and here's a tip I gave all my kids when they turned 18…"Don't go signing any contracts!!"

  2. From one very nostalgic momma, who feels as though these last 17 years have been the best in my life as well, I must say amen. Beautifully written and I share your sentiments regarding motherhood in every single way. It is a job beyond me and I believe my exact words (last week) were … "I wasn't meant for this". It was that hard.Thank you for sharing your heart today. It always resonates with me in such a sweet way.Oh, and I had the VERY same Chynna Phillips haircut. I have always known we would be fast friends in real life, but after seeing how much I love your pins on Pinterest AND now that haircut of awesomeness … well it's evident how deep the common threads run 😉

  3. This is such a sweet post, Lisa. You mention your feelings of inadequacy as a mom, but what you write to your son reveals that you and your husband have given him the best thing parents can give. He has witnessed your marriage that has God as its center and you have instructed him in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus. You really have given him everything

  4. Oh, Lisa, this is so precious! I remember that same thought on Tyler's kindergarten graduation day-that I would blink & it would be time for high school graduation. It was bittersweet. I cried for 9 months during his Senior year. Now, 4 sets of cap/gown later-it's all good! I know you feel such pride at what Nathan has already accomplished & well you should. You have a small army of young men that are all going to do great things–joy, joy! To God (& Mom) be the glory!

  5. I've said much the same thing and know quite well the sense of defeat and inadequacy you describe. Oh, but the Lord!Fast friends in real life, you know it! Not merely because of pins or haircuts either! Ha! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. You encourage me!

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