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Joshua, My Amazing Arrow

May 15, 2017


     His statement broke my heart. “I’m sorry I’m not number 1.” I was sorry too. I was sorry that I had conveyed the message that he had to be number 1.

     Next Saturday is graduation day for my middle son, our family’s first college graduate. For the past four years, Joshua has been a student at The International House of Prayer University in Kansas City.


     To be honest, over-achieving is in my blood. It is a trait that at times I fight to overcome. #1 has always sounded like a suitable number to me. In high school and college, I was the “Rocky” underdog. I rose from the ranks of floundering swimmer to collegiate All-American. I worked hard, I liked winning, and I loved my name on the record board.

     For years, I brought my over-achieving tendencies into motherhood. Home schooling was an ideal platform to mold my little tribe of world changers. As we started out, I wanted to have fun as my kids explored the world around them, but lurking below my low-key exterior was some other person who was triggered when she saw other home schoolers excelling. I had to compete.

     To say that we were highly involved in extracurricular activities is an understatement. Our lives at times were crazy! I didn’t know how to do it differently. It was who I was. I can’t recall when things began to change, but thank God, they did. When I look back at my journals, I was crying out for change for a long time before I began to find it. Eventually I began to see the value of slowing down. Self-worth had nothing to do with winning, our abilities, or our outside involvement.

     I began this blog six years ago to encourage others to slow down. My blog, in a way, saved my life. I listened to my message, and my life changed. Do I still like to win, sometimes, but for the most part I have found joy, peace, and satisfaction in life alone. My life is now full of free time. I enjoy wonderful time with my daughters (my final children living at home) doing what we enjoy most, just being together.


     There was a good chance that Joshua was going to graduate valedictorian. Was I excited and proud? I’ll be honest, yes. But then I began to think about what really made me pleased with my son, and what truly made him a success.

·       Josh loves Jesus. There is nothing greater!

·       Josh is incredibly talented in many areas and he uses his gifts to serve God.

·       He worked hard to support himself through school. At one time he had three jobs, a barista, a farm hand, and the one that shows his humility, a manure scooper at a horse stable.

·       He served on student government for three years as events coordinator. He worked so hard on behalf of the students, often without assistance.

·       He traveled to Israel and Turkey gaining a love for the people of the middle east.

·       He served as a leader and mentor for underclassmen in the academic lab, teaching students how to write a paper correctly.

·       He became involved with ministry on the University of Missouri KC campus, leading people to Christ and spending time discipling them.

·       He traveled with classmates on ministry trips to Dallas, Pasadena, The Twin Cities, and New York City.

·       He was part of worship teams in the Global, and student led prayer rooms.

·       He brought students from six different nations to our home on holidays.

·       And he spent hundreds of hours in the prayer room.


     Joshua is a joy to my heart, and a delight to my life. He has helped me to see that our greatest accomplishment is falling completely in love with Jesus. He once told me if that was all he ended up with when he was finished with school, then the purpose for school had been successful. His achievement of graduating third in his class is an excellent accomplishment, he worked hard and always gave his very best.


Today I was reminded that being first is not the goal! I was also reminded that I still can send the message to my kids that being #1 will make me happy. I’m thankful for the adjustment in my thinking. I want to continue down the path of finding more peace, and knowing that intimate relationships with God and people are truly the goal.


     Congratulations Joshua Ross Spence! You are an inspiration to me. You are the greatest, because you have always sought to be the least. You are always teaching, and encouraging me. You walk in humility, love, and wisdom, always putting God and others first. My child has become a man that I look up to. You are more than #1. I love you!


Psalm 127:4

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man (and mother) whose quiver is full of them!”


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2017 9:09 am

    Amen! Congrats to Joshua!
    It’s not easy for our kids. The world bombards us with so many lies.
    Isey and I were talking about school- after going through the next 11 years- we came to college. He said Oh Granny, I’m not going to college! 😳
    I’m going to stay with you and take care of you when you’re a little old lady. ❤️

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