Tattered and Stretched

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One word. Five minutes to write about it. This is the idea behind Five Minute Friday and this is today's free-writing post.

stretch marks
stretch out
morning stretch

The first thing I thought of when I saw this week's prompt - stretch marks. Well, I have my share of those and it's been over twenty years since my youngest child was born, so it's safe to say the stretch marks will be mine as long as I live. I remember that I talked about the inevitability of stretch marks with my mom friends, and we wondered if there was anything we could do to minimize them. Looking back, it wasn't something we were terribly concerned about. We accepted that it was a price we'd likely pay because we were expecting.

Stretching is part of growing and changing. A woman's body has to grow and change when she is pregnant. We all have to grow physically, and we grow and change in our thinking and emotions as well. Sometimes the stretching is painful and sometimes it leaves a mark. But when growth is necessary, even the marks are worth it. 

Stretch marks are nature's badge of achievement. They show that you suffered morning sickness, heartburn, back pain and childbirth to bring a new life into the world.


No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ~Hebrews 12:11-12

This post is linked at Five Minute Friday for the word prompt "Stretch".

That was my five minutes with the word "stretch". And as I hunted up a quote to go with it and thought a little more about it, I reflected on all the changes I've gone through as a parent, and decided to add a few more thought related to my #write28days series about Coping With Change.

When you become a parent, your life changes in so many ways. The mom who births a child experiences all kinds of physical changes to her body. When a child is added to a family, the dynamics change. The priorities change, the budget changes, the expectations change. The way we think changes.

Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them. ~John C. Maxwell

And as more children are added to the family, we change again. As the children grow up, we find that we need to change. We can't cuddle and carry our pre-teens like we did our babies. We can't - or shouldn't - hover and protect our teens in the same way we did our toddlers. And then when our kids reach adulthood and move out of our house, we change again. That can be a painful stretch and can leave a mom or dad feeling tattered and torn. Welcoming our kids' friends and Significant Others into our lives stretches us too. 

 Stretch marks aren't only physical. We have psychological and emotional stretch marks too. ~Amber Trueblood

When we grow, we stretch. The stretching growth throughout the journey of parenting can be painful at times, but the wounds and frayed nerves are worth it, just like the stretch marks of pregnancy are considered a small price to pay for the joy of the child. 

Wrinkles mean you laughed, grey hair means you cared and scars means you lived. ~unknown

It's not easy. It's painful. And sometimes it doesn't turn out the way we plan. Kids will be disobedient and disrespectful. They will forget to call you, they will take you for granted, and they will do things that irritate the daylights out of you. They won't bother to tell you they'll be out late, and then will get angry with you for nagging them. There may be some bumps in the relationship as you get to know the person who will become your son-in-law or daughter-in-law. There will be some strained nerves and misunderstandings as you try to help them out, and as you figure out how to "share" your child with their in-laws.

Even for those of us blessed with good relationships, all the changes do leave our hearts and nerves stretched and tattered. I know no other way to handle it than to trust it all to God and just do my best. The stretch may seem so hard, and painful, but God is able to help us expand our hearts and minds to love all those he's brought into our lives.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 
~I Thessalonians 3:12-13~
See my related posts: Auxiliary Kids and Empty Nesting

For the Write 28 Days Blogging Challenge, I've decided to explore the theme of living well and with purpose during times of change. A few years ago, as I neared the end of my years as a homeschool mom, I realized my world would change when my youngest graduated. My roles in the homeschool community and in my social circles were affected. Things changed in the workplace. Things are ever changing at church. And as my children grew up and the nest has begun to empty, family dynamics are changing. To our surprise, my husband's job ended at the very beginning of 2022, and that has brought another round of changes to consider! I know very well that writing about coping with change is not the same as having all the answers. I'll do my best to share what I'm learning and experiencing, and I'd love to hear from others in the comments.

This post is part of the Write 28 Days Blogging Challenge hosted by Anita Ojeda. Find all my posts for the 2022 challenge here: 28 Days of Coping With Change

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