Mixed Feelings on My Boys, Marriage and Milestones

Today’s topic on Marriage Monday is Children and Marriage.


This seems like a timely topic for me, since I’ve found myself reflecting back on those many years of raising my three boys, due to some milestone moments of late. And not only have I reflected on the past, but I’ve also looked ahead to my three son’s futures, asking myself, “How well have my husband and I prepared them for life and marriage in particular?”
Honestly, I feel a bit sad when I look either direction—past and/or future.
As far as the past is concerned (ugh!), it’s bittersweet. I still have pictures all over my house of when the boys were small.

I love looking at those pictures! (“Memories, like the corners of my mind …”)
I remember my boy’s sweet, child-like innocence. I remember the cute little things they used to say and do. I remember how they all gave their trademark squinty-eyed, big, happy smiles to the camera. They could be such hams, when all three of “the bros” were in the pic!

I miss those days (sigh) …
My middle Son, Graham’s, graduation in May
And since my middle son just graduated from high school and is now a college freshman, I feel that ever-familiar twinge of grief rolling over me like it did when my oldest, now a college senior, left for college in ‘08. And that, of course, means my oldest is graduating college in May (Yicks!). All these milestones, remind me that the empty nest is just around the corner (2014 to be exact!), which brings me to …
… The future (double UGH!). Here’s where I struggle with worry about how my messy marriage and messy mothering moments have shaped their hearts.
So I always pray that:
  1. With life-experience, maturity and God’s refining influence, they would gain perspective about the many mistakes and messes they observed in me in my husband.
  2. God would use every relationship they have (married or not) to mold them into His image.
Unfortunately, I know what praying that second one means for them. It means I’m not exactly praying for easy, non-messy lives (sniff, sniff). Any loving parent knows how hard it is to watch your children experience pain. We want so badly to protect them.
But I KNOW that pain is the tool God uses to develop character, strengthen their faith and … make them good and Godly marriage material!
So I trust in God’s ever-faithful transformation. That’s exactly what God has done and continues to do for me and my husband in our messy marriage moments. He redeems the Messy—even the Messy Married!
Yay, God! (Smile!)

“In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” –Isaiah 63:9 (NLT)
“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.”  –Isaiah 36:17 (NIV)

  • God has a way of making our mess our message.

  • mipasmonologue

    Not praying for a non-messy life. Oh, how that strikes me! I want to pray for God to use whatever to mold my girls into his disciples, but it is so difficult knowing what that can mean. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • chasenajsmom

    I am a bit in denial. Having a HS freshman, I feel like I’ve got plenty of time, but looking at how quickly the last four years raced by, I am not so sure. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

  • Your prayers are so hopeful!

I’ve read several books and articles in the last year that make me wish I could go back and re-do SO much of what I now know I did “wrong” when parenting my children.

    I need to remember to surrender everything — my children and my regrets — to God and trust that He will bring the good out of everything, even my myriad messes!

  • Thanks for coming by and commenting, Cheri. I tried commenting on your blog, but it only opened a blank page. I don’t know if you’re aware of a technical problem or not, but thought you’d like to know.

  • e-Mom

    Beautiful photos of your boys! Such a lovely family.

    Oh my, yes. The transition you’re going through IS very difficult. I’m sorry you’re suffering, Beth.

    Take heart. It will come to an end one day, and you’ll realize that your heart is full of joy and excitement once again. We are over that bridge now, and looking forward to becoming grandparents for the first time this week (or next)!

    Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today.

    Blessings, e-Mom ღ

  • Mac an Rothaich

    Oh I can imagine it is tough to adjust to them growing old enough to leave. We work toward that but when it comes to that time I no I too will need to pray through it lots. Here’s hoping joy fills you as you enjoy their adventure from more of a distance and may you find lots of blessings in this new time of life. Thanks for sharing. I am farther removed from the stage still but it is important for me to think ahead enough to live for now in how I raise my kids so I can have less regrets when they leave my home.

  • Wonderful prayers for your boys! ANd seeing the pictures is a reminder how brief our time with our children really is. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Faith @ Gold in the Clouds

    Those are awesome prayers for your boys!! They are blessed to have a praying mother! Thanks for sharing!

  • tamiboesiger

    I feel your pain in sending a second kid off to college. I did it myself this fall! But I admire your willingness (and courage) to pray for God’s will in their relationships, no matter how messy that may be. Watching them suffer is so HARD! May God teach us how to step back and let Him work.