Let’s get REAL!
Life is not fair – it’s a roller-coaster filled with twists and turns and in the midst of those loop-de-loops things can become lopsided when we refuse to give ourselves permission to experience both the ups and the downs – it’s what makes us stretch, learn and grow. Someone wise once said, “There is no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.”
My belief is that it’s alright to cut yourself some slack – don’t be so hard on yourself, simply do – your – BEST!
Life happens – GROW with it!
Growing up, my greatest hope was to become a mother. In fact, I wanted TEN kids! How hard could raising ten children be? After all, my great-grandmother, Mary Jane Thomas Jones, raised sixteen children.
I was certain that if I married a return missionary in the temple, had family prayers, family home evenings, read the scriptures, attended church and served faithfully in our church calling – our ten children would grow up without a hitch!
Well everything started out as planned. I married a man that had all the qualities on my “must-have” list – some of those qualities on my list were integrity, compassion and a desire to raise a family with strong religious values. Yep! that handsome, fun-filled Scott Mackintosh passed the test with flying colors. We were married September 22, 1983 in the Salt Lake City LDS temple.
Now remember, I wanted ten children, therefore we wasted no time in starting our family. We began welcoming those children one by one into our home. I have to admit, it was not easy. Unfortunately, I discovered I was one of those nauseated, throwing-up-all-day-every-day-for-nine-months-kind-of-gals. Still, I loved my children with all my heart and had made up my mind that it was worth it to go through whatever it took to get them here.
When child number seven was born I told my husband it FELT like TEN and I was calling it good. Our family felt complete so we named our last son, “Skye” cause ‘Sky’s the limit!’ (actually the catchy phrase thing was something my husbnad thought of months later)
I had my first five children in six and a half years. Now that alone accounted for some crazy times at the Mackintosh house. I would tell myself that as soon as I was down to having only one-child in diapers things would be easier, or as soon as they are all in school life would be easier. Then one day it hit me… I had not done the math! The five children that were all born within six years had all grown into TEENAGERS at the same time AND three of them were beautiful teen-age-girls… I think you get the picture.
There is a reason I color my hair, have bags under my eyes and have calluses on my knees. Don’t get me wrong – Scott and I have been blessed with good kids, normal kids, and in fact, PERFECT kids:
Perfectly, “I’ll do things my way”
…….and Perfectly mine!
God knew perfectly the things I needed to learn and grow and turn me to Him. I cannot count the number of hours worrying, and on my knees praying and often times pleading with God over a child or two or three, His answer was often the same; “Be patient and love unconditionally.”
Most days the loving part came easy. It was the “be patient” part I often struggled with, because I wanted things fixed right then.
A parent’s fondest wish and greatest desire is that their children discover the divine potential within them…. to know just how simply special they truly are.
How do we as parents help our children do this? How do we encourage, praise and build up our children? How do we help our children feel appreciated, accepted, and feel they are worthwhile?
I believe the process begins the minute our children are born and continues until the day they leave this earth. Whether your children are toddlers, teens or adults, as a parent, you never stop worrying and loving them. Never. Ever.
And guess what? There is NO such thing as a family without problems, trials or challenges; in fact my definition of an “ideal family” is a family with problems that are bound together with LOVE! That’s an ideal REAL family!
The ideal family member knows that no matter what stupid mistakes or idiotic stuff they do, their family will always be there with open and arms and unconditional love that says, “I’ll walk with you – together we can get through this.”
In the book “What a Friend we have in Jesus” Chieko N. Okazaki shares many golden nugget messages, one being;
“Real families have real problems. Serious problems. Families comes in all shapes and sizes and configurations. But every family is precious. Every family needs support. A divorced family is not a broken family. It’s a family with particular set of circumstances that it needs to work with. A family with a gay child is not a failed family. It’s a family with a member who needs special love and understanding and who has love and understanding to give back. A family with a pregnant teenager is not a dysfunctional family. It’s a family with a complex set of decisions to make.”
I especially love Sister Okazaki words, because I, Becky Mackintosh, have the REAL family with real challenges, only I don’t see the ups and downs and loop-de-loops as problems, but as opportunities to learn and grow, and become close as a family. I wouldn’t trade our set of circumstances for any other.
Yes! Let’s get REAL! Life is NOT fair – it’s a roller-coaster! Let’s get real, embrace the ups and downs – I give you permission.
In Conclusion, keep God at the helm and Jesus Christ in the center of your family circle – together they will guide you through life’s storms. I suggest you carry an umbrella ’cause another storm is usually right around the corner. Christ said it would not be easy, but promised it would be worth it.