Image Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had.  This Mothers’ Day started off so beautifully as Gavin and Kiki made me a “special breakfast” cheese omelet and french toast.  The reason it was so special is because cheese is so expensive here in Addis and our family is so big so we can’t really afford cheese. And guess what I LOVE CHEESE. So this mom was happy. They made me a homemade card and bought me a box of oreos too. I think they bought these so they too could share in on the indulgence. We don t buy cookies of the sort well because they too are expensive. I got a gift card to go get a mani and pedi and I can’t wait to pamper myself.

At church this morning I cried over and over again sitting in my seat looking like a raccoon from my mascara. I kept rubbing in hopes that I had gotten it all off.  It started when they asked all moms to stand up. They began to talk about how special we were as moms and how hard it is to do what we do. I began to weep like a child lost in the mall searching for their very own mom. Why did they have me standing up? Why would they say these nice things about me? It was in fact very hard to stand in front of all these people as they said very truthful things about all of us moms.

I continued to sob and make eye contact with no one because if I didn’t maybe they wouldn’t notice what was taking place in my heart. Standing in the presence of my Father caused me to completely humble myself and my struggles. It’s really hard for me to except when people say nice things to me or about me because I know who I really am. I am but a mess that has been made Holy by my Heavenly Father.  He has chosen me for greatness that I simply can’t do without HIS Spirit to lead and guide me. HE has given me the blessing of being a mom to 9 children oh what was HE thinking.

I now have all of these teenagers that I along with my husband am responsible by the power of Christ to teach and love and encourage them in ways like they have never experienced before so that they may know they are loved by their DADDY and that HE created them with much purpose. Along with those things I must not forget to mention discipline and consequences to our actions.

I find myself on this very Mothers Day being put in two really hard situations that we as parents must stand our ground to teach our BIG kids lessons that will prayerfully radically transform their being into whom HE created them to be. It would be so much easier to give in and just try to be their friend but that will do nothing more but damage them.

Our little Abraham about 2 month ago, after his last time of running away we had a serious conversation with him. Trent and I decided that we would tell him that if he ran away again that he could not come back.  We wanted to do this the time before when he ran but our hearts couldn’t bear to say it. So this time it was a must.

I sent my mom a message and said mom you never gave up on me and always let me back home when I would run, this is what Trent and I are going to tell Abraham for the sake of our family and most importantly his very own sake. “Carmen all I could ever do with you was hope for the best” was her response. Ughhhh that’s a tough one to swallow here we are in this tough situation and all I can do is hope for the best. I believe who God is and what HE is capable of doing in Abraham but Abraham must want it for himself. So this worried me because I remember how long it took for me to get it as a child. Well it took until I was a grown woman and I didn’t want this to be the case for our son that has been alone on the streets for 6 years.

We followed through with what we felt would be best for our whole family and Abraham. Abraham did great for about a month then it happened. He didn’t come home from school and we found out that he had not been going to school for about a week. He would go drop his bag off in his classroom and leave the campus. The streets and the lies it tells had sucked our 11 year old back to darkness. He has an addiction to huffing gas to get high and cover up all his pain, he likes to smoke cigarettes and he went straight to it all.

Well Happy Mothers Day to me I get a call from our son Belay that Abraham was at our gate. We were away celebrating our friend’s baby girl’s birthday. My heart jumped with excitement that on this day I would get to see him after a month.  When we arrived at home we went outside and gave our dirty filthy stinky boy lots of love. It was the usual scene that we found ourselves in he was shoeless with indescribably dirty feet. He had his school uniform on which is what he left the house in last. Holes were present where they weren’t before. His shirt looked as if it had been drug through the mud 10 times.  He had an oversized jacket on that someone had obviously given him to stay warm.

Even in his filth he is still my son the one HE chose me to love and actively teach of his importance in this world even though he struggles with this belief.  We laughed and joked and I sat watching my son squat in his normal position that he has when in the streets curled up as small as he can as he squats to the ground. I asked him “why are you here Abraham?” He wanted to apologize for leaving again and began to say how he knew he didn’t want to be on the streets. Here we were in the same place we had been before. It was all too familiar to us all.

Abraham asked if he could come back home. Oh how my heart sank deep into the pits of the earth. This is it; this is where parenting gets hard. I knew the answer to his question even though it’s the opposite of what I would have liked to tell him. Daddies are sometimes so much stronger at holding their ground so this is where my amazing husband had to come in and reinforce what our last conversation with him was. We told Abraham no, that at this time he couldn’t come home because of what we had all agreed on the last time he ran away. We told him that we would pray and that he too needed to have some intense conversations and dependency on his Creator. Trent packed him up some juice, chips, sandwich and cookies and we said our goodbyes.

WOW how hard this was to us. We know that is was without a doubt the best thing we could do for Abraham at this point. If our word means nothing how could this little one ever trust us with his life. Please join us in prayer for Abraham. Pray that Abraham would listen to what God is whispering to his heart because it is only through HIM that Abraham can be strong enough to say NO to the streets, to say NO to the gas that he huffs and to have the courage to say YES to the new life that awaits him. We believe that Abraham will be back with us in Gods perfect timing but it still doesn’t make it easy.

We had another hard decision to make as parents on this Mothers Day. One of our teenage girls has been making bad choices. She doesn’t abide by curfew and is constantly inconsiderate to our family in this way. We showed GRACE GRACE GRACE over and over again and then it came time to let her experience how her actions had consequences. About a week ago we decided to ground her for a week. She cried, she said that we hated her; she said she couldn’t live with us anymore and it went on and on and on. Eventually she came around and was good. Then it came Sunday when she would be off restriction and she wanted to go meet a friend. We said of course, have fun but be home by 6:30. Well guess what she arrived at 7:00. 7:00 is not 6:30 so again we had to punish her for another week. She took it well this time and took complete ownership of how it was her decision that got her here and not our dislike of her.

She is growing so much in so many ways. It’s hard to take a teenage girl in who has never experienced LOVE on this level and completely expose her. We are trying so hard to teach them things that kids that grow up in families learn at an early age. Pray for our daughter that she would acknowledge what it is that is causing her to make these choices so that she can freely choose to do it differently.

I tell you these stories of the events on my Mothers Day to remind all of us moms of what being a mom is about. It’s about LOVING unconditionally, making the hardest choices of our lives for our kids to set them up to be strong, its about being courageous when we are scared to death, its about trusting HIM when we have all of our what if moments. Being a mother is about so much more than one day a year, it is about being a mother 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

Although times are tough as I am sure you are experiencing just as I, Please be encouraged and know that I have prayed for your ever changing, not knowing what tomorrow will bring journey. YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM!!!