The women of the Among Women panel have entered into each other’s sorrows. Now it’s time to share their joys. Here is Naomi’s story.
Naomi: “. . . through every aspect, every change, getting to know God better.”
For Naomi, as for so many others, all the joys of her sphere have contributed to her greatest joy; in the joys, trials, and travails of all the stages of family life, she has come to know God better. Built on the foundation of this joy are many other joys. In particular, there’s the joy of her marriage, the multitude of joys that came again and again as her children passed through various stages, and now, the joy of seeing the results of her years ministering to her family.
Naomi counts as one of her greatest joys the opportunity to share spiritual values with her husband, building a family and life around those values. Early in their marriage they recognized that they didn’t want to live a life of simply adding material possessions and striving for a higher position. They made a conscious decision to use their resources in other ways; this included delighting in having children. Those children came, one by one through years, until they numbered an even dozen. The 12 now range in age from seven through their late twenties. It is mothering these children that has brought Naomi a multitude of joys through the years.
In all their various stages, from babies and toddlers through adolescents and young adults, Naomi has found joy in getting to know her children, teaching them, and living with them through the hurts and joys that life brought them. Often, especially when they were younger, she would set aside time to simply be with each child. “This is your time,” she would tell them. “What would you like to do?” The next half hour might find her playing with animals on the floor, throwing a ball around, or playing soccer.
It can’t all be fun and games, however, when there’s a household to manage, and Naomi has also taken joy in being able to teach her children the value of hard work. She wanted them to learn the gratitude that comes from working to exhaustion, then being able to sit down and relax, content in the knowledge of work accomplished.
In addition to teaching them to work, Naomi enjoyed leading her children to Jesus as they faced the unique challenges that came at various stages.
“So many different times, [at] different ages, where the child [was] going through something really painful, I was able to sit down with them, cry with them, tell them I’m sorry, [that] I understand, [then] lead them on to Jesus where He was able to touch them in the very midst of their hurting. … These are the most precious times.”
Now, with several of her children parents themselves, and the rest strung along the ages from seven to early adulthood, Naomi has the joy of seeing the results of her years of patient teaching and discipline. She enjoys being able to see her home go from messy to picked-up in an hour’s time as the children complete the tasks that she assigns them. As a homeschooling parent, she loves seeing her children reading their books and completing their assignments with minimal involvement on her part. And she finds joy in seeing successful discipline at work, as much pain as there is in discipline itself. But ultimately, Naomi’s greatest joy with her children mirrors her own joy in a growing relationship with God. “The most important joy,” she says, “is to teach [my children] to worship, no matter what.”