“We will not hide them from their children, telling the generation to come, the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments.” Psalm 78:4-7
Over the past few weeks I have shared posts about the role a fathers fills in our lives. Below, one of my daughters, Hannah, shares what she has learned about being a mom. I hope her words are a blessing and an encouragement to you.
Many of you have probably read a little about the Juergens girls and may have heard a part of my story. I’m the second born of my mom’s eight daughters. I was commissioned as an officer in the Army Nurse Corps upon graduating from college. After four years of service, I gave birth to my first daughter. I remember bringing her home and standing over her sleeping that first night. I was hit with a wave of realization that I not only had the responsibility to keep this little girl alive but also to raise her up in the ways of the Lord. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I stood there, looking down at my baby girl, barely two days old, and cried out of the Lord for the wisdom, strength and endurance to run this new race of motherhood to completion. As an active duty Soldier I was given maternity leave but soon had to return to work as an Army nurse. After only three days of leaving my baby I felt a shift in my heart. I had to get out of the military. Little did I know I would have to hold on to that new desire of my heart for 18 months before I would be able to resign my commission.
I’ll never forget signing my final paperwork and walking back to the car, feeling so free. I was seven months pregnant with my second baby and leaving the next day with my 18 month old daughter to drive 10 hours to join my husband who had PCS’d ahead of us 4 months before. I had yet to realize I had actually just begun the hardest job of my life.
I talk to so many fellow moms who say “oh I’m just a stay at home mom.” After having a career and juggling family life and then transitioning home to full time motherhood I can tell you that stay at home moms have the toughest job on the planet — but also the most precious job! There have been MANY days of being completely overwhelmed as I have felt trapped and hopeless. So many days I feel like I have no purpose. So many days I just want to run to a quiet place where I can hear myself think! This is real life y’all. Momming is tough work!
However, there are also so many days I see the beauty and blessing I have been given. It is an honor to be chosen to raise two healthy, vibrant, high energy and sweet baby girls. As I continue on this journey I see more clearly the truths my mom always taught me: the value of Jesus first above all else, the truth of loving others well and investing in them, and of being Jesus to everyone around us. I purpose daily to teach these things to my girls in small, simple ways they can understand. Being kind. Being respectful. Loving others like Jesus would. Telling the truth. The most important truth I try to teach is an awareness of Jesus. That He is always with us. He is always listening to us. He wants to bless us. That all the blessings we have are from Him. All the beauty we see around us was created by Him for us to enjoy and better understand the wonder of who He is.
Recently my almost 3 year old has become a very adamant protector of my 14 month old. Even though they argue over toys and such, I have noticed that Raegan is always aware of and watching over her little sister. Ryleigh is a very adventurous and courageous little girl and can often be found in dangerous situations due to her curious nature and equal lack of awareness of danger. I have taught Raegan to call me for help when she sees Ryleigh in trouble instead of trying to handle it herself. She has gotten very good at this and with this training has really taken ownership of being the protector.
We are also teaching Raegan to share her things even though Ryleigh doesn’t understand how to reciprocate that action yet. It can take a few minutes as Raegan works through her selfishness, but she has started to really love Ryleigh well and show a heart of kindness and giving. One such moment occurred yesterday on a family outing when Raegan was asked to share a popsicle. After some firm resistance she finally started to share and it turned into the most precious sister bonding moment.
I stood there watching them, snapped a few cute pictures and then it hit me. THIS is why I got out of the Army. This is why I chose to be home with my girls. This is why my husband Brandon and I invest so much time and effort in training our girls in the ways of the Lord. All the prayers, all the talks, all the discipline is for this. Moments when that light of progress and victory shine through and I catch a glimpse of the future. The demonstration of care, protection and the love of Jesus shining through the actions of my toddler remind me that the investment is eternal. Yes I’m in the daily grind of raising two toddlers and it’s really hard most of the time. But I’m also raising future powerhouses for Jesus. My girls already know who Jesus is and love Him. This is just the beginning of His plans for them. We picked the girls names because of their meanings. Raegan means spiritual strength. Ryleigh means courage and valor. These little girls of ours are already exactly what each of their names mean.
So my hope is to encourage you as you’re in the fight today. If you’re a stay at home mom, a working mom or someone who doesn’t have kiddos yet, always remember the eternal investment we have in our kiddos! Purpose is found in what we value and invest in most. My purpose is to love my family well and raise my girls up in the way of the Lord! If I can’t do that well then I can’t do anything else well. I know that even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes that there are nuggets of hope for the future. So I will keep planting those seeds in the hearts of my girls. I know the Lord will then use me to water and help grow them into the powerful women of Christ they were born to be! Raising up a future generation that loves and knows the Lord and who will carry on the legacy of a people who serve the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength!
I firmly believe that each generation can rise up more powerful than the one before it. I believe in generational curses, but I also believe that with the Lord’s help we as parents can break those curses and instead establish generational blessings. These blessings can grow and become stronger with each new generation. I believe that I will live to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren rise up with more spiritual strength, wisdom and courage then I ever could have imagined for myself! THAT IS THE LEGACY. That is the eternal investment! And even though I don’t know what this road ahead looks like I know that Jesus is here with me every step of the way and that I will put my hand to everything I do with excellence. I know I’m going to mess up. I know I’m going to still want to run to a quiet place so I can hear myself think. I know I’m going to feel overwhelmed but I also know that the tough things are the most rewarding and that one day I will stand before my Jesus and hear the word “well done, my good and faithful servant.” Stay in the fight dear ones!!! You’re not alone!
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31: 25-31