I met Emily Rimshaw earlier this year when I was speaking at a conference at her church. She told me how refreshed and motivated she was after hearing the message on the importance of mothers. Then she told me why. Her story of sacrificial investment as a 21-year-old caring for someone else's children really struck me. So I asked her to send her testimony to me so I could share it with you all. My point in doing so is to help us all think outside of our expectations and cultural norms in order to offer creative and compassionate James 1:27-inspired solutions when such needs arise.
Almost three years ago, a dear friend of mine passed away in a fatal car
accident. She was married and had two little boys, and the months after her death
led to an increased desire in my heart to care for her kiddos. I completed my
spring semester of my freshman year of college, and sought counsel about it and
prayed a ton, which led to an increased burden for the children. God was
opening doors and guiding me, and I excitedly decided to take a break from
college to take care of Mason (4) and Evan (2) full time. Since then, I've been
very involved in their lives, watching them 40+ hours a week and homeschooling
Directors and professors from my college asked me why I'd throw away my education and waste my life to care for children. I told them I could come back to school anytime, but more importantly that I did NOT see it as a waste at all. God values life and He loves children, and that, I told them, is what motivated me. I was shocked that people were asking me these questions; I thought everyone had a high view of care for children. But these interactions, which happened more frequently than even I like to acknowledge, made me eager to see God prove Himself to me in this new season, and left me with a passion to somehow reveal the lies of our culture that say the training of and investment in children is unimportant and demeaning. Because I didn’t believe that, and two years later, I still don’t.
The past few years have drawn me closer to God, increased my affections for the gospel, and made me desperate for His Word as I learn to care for children on a daily basis. One morning recently, Mason asked me, "Why do I have to obey?" I knew his little heart was longing for big truths about God. So I pulled him onto my lap and read him Ephesians 6:1, "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother; this is the first commandment with a promise, that it might go well with you and that you may live long in the land." I had so much fun explaining to him (again) that God wants him to obey and come under my authority as I care for him, because that's how God made it to be.
"That's how you'll be happy," I told Mason. "God wants you to be happy in Him and happy with His plan, because He knows best and you can't find happiness anywhere else." His eyes shown with a brightness that revealed motivation and new desires to obey, and I knew in that moment that he had just gotten a bigger, better view of God.
I love being at home with these sweet boys, caring for them, spending our precious days together filling their minds with truths about the gospel. I love laughing with them, making cookies with them, correcting them, and memorizing verses with them. I love teaching them school and chores, reading them Bible stories, and answering their questions about heaven and their mommy. (I even love to make scrambled eggs with them, even though it means cleaning egg yolk that somehow ends up ALL OVER the kitchen.) I love excursions to the park, and playing cowboys and guns in the backyard. I am radically happy, and I believe with all my heart that God has instilled in me a love to be radically feminine in my care for these boys. And a love for strength. And courage. And creativity. And productivity. And fulfillment. And here's the thing: All of those things I find right here, sitting on this chair with these precious boys, thanking God for children, and the joy He brings us through them. This has been the richest season of my life so far. I know that in and of themselves, no money, education, job in the workforce, or 'social standing' can bring me any more joy than God has let me find here. Since God has reconciled me to Himself through Jesus Christ, He is my satisfaction. And He has given me His joy in these children.
My little friends are 4 and almost 7 now, and I’m so thankful for them.