Growing Up

By Colleen Mahannah, Baby Bay Director, NewSpring Church

ColleenMahannahGrowing up, all I wanted to be was a mom and eventually a grandma. I didn’t have any glamorous ideas of professional jobs or high-dollar careers. All I wanted to be was a mommy. My own mother was a great example to me. I started babysitting my brothers, cousins, neighborhood kids and family friends’ kids at a very young age.

When I first got married (going on 37 years ago), I couldn’t wait for us to start a family. Then when things happened we hadn’t expected and some time went by, I began to question, “Is it God’s plan for me to be a mom or not?” I clung onto Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) which says  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And I kept hoping that His plans included me being a mom –somehow, someway.

Then God begin to bless us. Over eight years we had five children–including a set of twins! Although I got my wish to be a mom, life didn’t quite go the way I had hoped. We couldn’t afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom. I worked outside the home as a bank loan secretary. I had a boss one time who was a very career oriented woman. She just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t. She couldn’t grasp the fact that all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mom. She felt you had to have a career to be something important. She was a mom, but felt the career made her complete. That wasn’t how I felt though.

Eventually (when our fourth child was almost a year old) I was able to open a home daycare, which was the next best thing to being a stay-at-home mom. So for almost 25 years, I was able to stay home with my kids, but also watch other people’s children. I’ve totally lost count of how many children I watched over the years (I kind of wish now that I had kept better track). I did eventually get an Early Childhood Degree – not that I felt I needed the education to complete me, but in hopes it would help me to be a better childcare provider. If this was what God had planned for me, I wanted to have the knowledge to be the best I could be.

In church, I would volunteer in the nursery and other children’s ministries. Just as my parents did, I wanted my children to grow up to know Jesus. I began teaching them at home but also wanted them to learn in church. We were members of a small church (similar to what I grew up in) from almost the beginning. Then in the fall of 2000, we came to NewSpring (at the time it was called Messiah). Shortly after joining the church, I started volunteering. In 2006 I joined the children’s ministry staff. Now I am blessed to be a part of a fantastic children’s ministry in an ever-growing, amazing church, and am delighted to be the nursery director. I just realized that I have been doing this for almost 10 years. Wow! Time flies.

Sometimes I find it rather funny, that growing up, all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mommy. And God blessed me with five awesome children. This is one very proud mama. I am a grandmother now of six and more on the way. AND I also get to care for and love other people’s children. First in the home daycare and now at church in the nursery. I pray that they all grow up to know Jesus.

In Baby Bay and Adventure Avenue this month, we are learning that God has a plan for you and God’s plan is always best. The route my life has taken hasn’t been quite the one I thought it would be as I was growing up. As the Bible story of Joseph demonstrates, there are trials we may (will) have to go through before God’s plan is revealed to us. God has a plan for me (you) and that His plan has been (is) best. Not only have I been blessed and honored to be a mommy, but also an “adopted” mom and “adopted” grandma to many other children over the years.

When my oldest son joined the Marines and went on two tours in Iraq, the verse that I hung onto was Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (It’s still one of my favorite verses.)

So when things aren’t going quite the way “you” had planned, or not going the way you thought they would growing up; and whenever you wonder what God’s plan is, just keep hoping and trusting in Him. He does have plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) and He will be with you all the way (Joshua 1:9). God’s plan is always best.

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