I’ve been blessed to have a few unique experiences in my life that have shaped me as a person of faith. One of them is being a parent of triplets. At the moment of our first ultrasound, my husband and I were launched on this incredible journey of intensity and grace. From leading worship sitting down as my pregnancy progressed to total bedrest at the IWK Health Centre for seven weeks that began the week before Easter, I learned patience and the ability to receive care. It was a gift to receive calls, visits, prayers and cards from my congregation and colleagues. I learned that ministry could and would continue without me!
Many multiple parents quickly learn they must lower their expectations of being the perfect parent, and they must learn to receive help. A group of church folks brought occasional meals and snacks (homemade biscuits were a frequent midnight snack!), did laundry, changed diapers, and cared for babies. When I returned to work when the kids were 1-year-old, a few church people continued to come once a week, and were ‘on call’ when there were unexpected pastoral emergencies. One woman even stayed with my son in hospital on a Sunday morning when he was recovering from pneumonia. My kids understand they are part of an extended community of faith. I am grateful that people get to know them, and that they have always been treated as individuals.
Now that Matthew, Isaac, and Charlotte are 12-years-old, they have different needs. As all parents know, the intensity continues. Friend dynamics can be a challenge in a small community. My children keep me honest, true to my day off, and challenge me about my motivation for doing ministry and taking on extra tasks. I challenge them to look outward, sharing trips I have taken to visit Presbyterian World Service &Development’s development projects. They challenge me about issues of faith, and how the church works. Sometimes, I wish we could regularly have such honest, forthright conversations with one another as adults in the church.
I have trouble believing that God puts challenges in front of us to make us stronger. God does take those difficult moments of being overwhelmed, and helps us to choose a different path, or to parent in a different way than we would have otherwise. As we are stretched, challenged, pulled to try new things, we accomplish more than we could have ever imagined.
I don’t think of myself as a ‘triplet minister mom.’ I am simply a person of faith, called to a position of leadership in the church, and called with my husband to help guide three little beings as they grow into adulthood. Those of you who have older children will say I have no idea about what is coming! Any age is intense, three at a time, with different personalities and no practice beforehand! Many things are out of my control. I can simply take things one day at a time, pray for strength, and remember I have a community of faith that will continue to walk with our family. Like many others, my husband and I struggle to be faithful servants and faithful parents.
One of my favourite things is when someone—my kids, a person from our church, a friend—reminds me to look outward, and not in. By looking beyond our family, our church, our community, as we go about our daily tasks, we are blessed and enriched. We discover new ways to live faithfully. Our eyes are opened to whatever unexpected journey God has in store.