Some mothers leave their children a chest bursting with homemade quilts. Others pass down jewelry, or that famous recipe for fried chicken (or whatever). My mother has passed down a godly testimony, and it is worth more to me than all the quilts, jewels, or fried chicken that the world has to offer. She has consistently (no, not perfectly, but faithfully) turned to the Word of God for her strength. She has applied its principles and claimed its promises. She is also an award-winning educator who strives to make everything relatable. Thankfully, she has not just used her talents in the pubic school classroom, but also in our home.

When I had my first baby in 1999, my world was turned upside down. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. Motherhood demanded more of me than I thought I could give. I didn’t know it then, but later I learned that I was also dealing with postpartum depression (PPD). Becoming a mom is amazing and wonderful, but also life changing, even without PPD. I felt like I was drowning. Terry got his first ministry job in a church in West Virginia, so we had moved 950 miles away when I was seven months pregnant. When my daughter was born, I dealt with fear and panic. I called my mom in Arkansas almost daily. She offered a sentence that I immediately clung to back then, and have continued to use as an anchor ever since. It was simply this, “Valerie, focus on getting through the first day, the first week, and the first month.” She said, “Look! You’ve made it through the first day! That’s one you can mark off now! It’s only two days till you can cross off the first week! By the end of the month, everything will look so much better.” Her perspective made my life manageable, and it has been priceless.

I’ve dealt with many changes since that “first day, first week, first month” in 1999. I had four more children, and with each one, my prayer, my “mantra,” was “God please help me get through the first day, first week, first month.” He always did. For each of our moves to new places, that sentence has been in forefront of my mind: first day, first week, first month. When I started college at age 42, I was completely overwhelmed, but I celebrated the first day, the first week, the first month.

Yesterday, I gave a condensed update on our lives now – we just moved 1,200 miles to Northern Michigan! We are in a temporary house while we await the closing of our home here, so another move is in my future. My current situation is that I don’t know where I am most of the time, or even where I put the scissors after I opened that last box. I can’t find the checkbook. I’m dreading the winter. And I sound like a hillbilly up here. My mind is filled with questions and insecurities, things that could easily cause me to fret and even panic. But I know that God is capable of seeing me through the first day, first week, first month – and beyond.

And guess what? Today, we have lived here an entire week! I feel better already.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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