Looking Back

Preparing to send my oldest off to college next week has made me very introspective. I can't help thinking back over our family life. This week these pictures from ten years ago came to mind.



We had six week old twins, a 21 month old, and a six and eight year old. It was THE most overwhelming summer of my life. I didn't need to go to any amusement parks because I was on an emotional roller coaster 24/7. Riding high on new baby love and gratitude one minute and plunging into despair at all of the added responsibility the next. Picture the famous Charles Dickens' quote, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, come to life. I've had a standoffish relationship with summer ever since. :)

When you have five kids you don't go out of the house without being noticed. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said, "You've sure got your hands full", I'd be very rich! You also get asked a lot of questions. Questions that I wasn't prepared for and ones that created a lot of doubt in my mind. How are you ever going to go on a family vacation? How will you ever be able to meet everyone's needs? How will you ever get any time for yourself? And the big question, How are you ever going to pay for college? I can remember crying to my husband over these questions thinking we must have been insane to have ever thought we could raise five children.

I often write in a prayer journal, but I don't often read past entries. It's kind of like hearing yourself on an answering machine. Cringe worthy. I do keep them though because it's encouraging to me to see how God has answered prayers over the years. This week I was looking back over entries from that summer and I saw that I had poured all those questions and fears out to God.

And guess what...

We have gone on family vacations. We have had time for ourselves. The kids' needs have been met. And this week, when I paid the bill for my daughter's first semester of college, I again remembered those prayers and all the prayers I've prayed over the last ten years. He has answered them in unexpected ways and in ways that couldn't have been my doing.

I don't know what our family picture will look like in another ten years. I don't have the answers to the questions that will come into my life over that time, but I know the One who does. 

How about you? Are there situations or circumstances in your past that leave you amazed at how things worked out?



28 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! Congratulations on a huge milestone (and I can imagine an emotional one, sending your first born off to college is the stuff of both my biggest hopes and my biggest dreads!!). I love hearing the "through the other side" stories. Nothing that is any worth having comes easily! xx

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    1. Thanks, Meg! It is an emotional time, but I'm excited for her, too!

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  2. This is a nice reminder for a girl who knows well how God provides, but whose youngest (the fifth) is almost six months old and is part of a family whose finances have changed considerably over the last year. Our first won't be in college for awhile, but we are looking at a Lutheran high school for next year that has a bit of a shocking sticker price of its own. God will provide. Blessings to your family as you take on this next milestone!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! Your blog is so inspiring and I look forward to reading how God meets your needs for sure!

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  3. I didn't know you had twins. That's cool, are they totally different? You have a very beautiful family and I hope everyone has a great day.

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    1. Thanks, Leslie! Some days the twins are different, but I'd say they're very much alike most of the time! :)

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  4. You're thoughts are echoing some of my own! Not really exactly, of course, since we're at different places in raising our children, but I've been reminded that my needs have always been met, and will always be met. Thanks for sharing! And congrats on your college bound kiddo. Not really a kiddo anymore. I love seeing families like yours. Good families are the reminder that this world, although scary at times, is a wonderful place!

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    1. Thanks, Leilani! Big changes, but it's an exciting time, too!

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  5. God is truly amazing. My mom is a single parent and it has been just us two for the longest of time. I knew I wanted to be a doctor but I had no idea how we were going to pay for college let alone med school! But Jesus knew. Now, not only do I have a bachelors degree but I am also heading into my second year of med school. He always has a plan. Even though we don't always see it. I'm my opinion, the best solutions are the ones we don't see coming. Praying for your daughter as she embarks on this new journey!
    xoxo Dani

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    1. Thank you, Dani! And thanks for sharing your story. I love hearing how God has provided in other people's lives. It's such an encouragement to hear the testimonies of others! Congratulations on med school. What an accomplishment!

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  6. This is a wonderful post for me, Marie! We have just embarked on the parenthood journey, and oftentimes I'm wondering those same questions...How will we pay for our kids' college on a single salary? How will we afford family vacations, etc...Will we ever get another date night? (And we only have one kid - not five! ha!) But then I think, why do I worry? Why do I think it may not happen? God ALWAYS provides! It's nice to see that others have the same concerns, and yet they lived through it all, taken care of the whole time!

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    1. I'm glad you were encouraged, Chelsea! I wish I could say I always trusted perfectly. I usually try everything I can do myself and then leave it with God out of desperation. He's still faithful though! :)

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  7. When I became pregnant with our first child, we had enough money saved so that I could stay home from work for six months. When he was 5 months old, I told my husband that I wanted to stay home full time. He told me we would find a way to make it work. A week later he got a raise that was almost equal to the salary I had been earning! I'm pretty sure that wasn't a coincidence :).

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    1. Love that story, Lana! That's amazing! I don't think it was a coincidence, either. :)

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  8. God is so good! I love looking back at prayers and seeing how He answered them. What a lovely reflection and congratulations on new milestones being met... college... wow!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop)!

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

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  9. And I thought my life was complicated with two kids 18 months apart! I am always amazed that we make it through times when my husband is getting paid less than we're used to. We've had several seasons of our marriage like this, but we still always seem to have what we need and more. We are so blessed!

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  10. Good luck to your daughter as she heads off next week. The family dynamic is about to change and it'll be strange at home for a while. My twin daughters left home for college in September 2013, so I know how you feel.

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  11. Marie this is wonderful and I needed to read this. I have 4 children and hear much the same you have about our family size. I too have whispered many prayers that we could care for this wonderful and large family we have been blessed with. Good luck to your daughter on her new journey and thank you for sharing your story.

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  12. I will be thinking of you next week as your daughter heads off to college, Marie. Even though we all hope to raise our children to be successful adults, it is hard to let them grow-up! In my opinion, your five children are very lucky that you have been their mom!

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  13. I was almost crying after your first sentence - I'll be where you are too soon. I remember wondering what my family will be like in five years, ten years...and then those years pass by and here we are. I'll be thinking of you this week, Marie - best wishes to your daughter as she embarks on a new adventure!

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  14. O wow, what a lovely post and wonderful sentiment. I really enjoyed reading this and what a milestone-hats off to you as I only have one little one, and I wouldn't know where to start with five! Lovely stuff, ad I hope your daughter's new adventure goes well. xxx #magicmoments

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  15. What a milestone! Still some way off for me, but it will be here before I know it :) Wishing your daughter well for this big step x #MagicMoments

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  16. Oh wow what a milestone! I'm wondering some of these things (and fielding some of the same questions too) as we prepare to welcome our third - it's good to hear that it does all work out!

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  17. I loved this post, Marie. I have five kids too, and we get the questions, comments and looks. We've also been able to a lot as a family too. It's amazing, but it does work out. :)

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  18. I love looking through old photos and seeing how both the kids and we as parents have changed and grown with each other over time. It makes you realise that all those times when you think it couldn't get worse...well it didn't and we are truly blessed x

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  19. I always think it's best to let things come at you, prepare yourself as best you can yes, but there's only so much you can do, after that, it's down to whatever happens happens. Good luck to your oldest on her first semester at college! Popping in from Magic Moments.

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  20. I love this. I love big families and if my husband and I were from the same country I would for sure have more than two. And I am jealous I have always wanted to have twins. Good luck to your eldest going to college what a great milestone. I bet the house will start to get more quiet as the years go on. It goes so fast. Thanks for linking to Share With Me #sharewithme

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