I met Maria twenty years ago when we had both had new babies, and were taking our kids to homeschool swimming lessons. Maria was full of life, fun, laughter, and had a big smile. I admired how she made living with a large family, look so easy. But life took a different turn for Maria. Read her story of grace and leaning on Jesus during devastating times. Maria’s story will fill you with hope.
Life With Maria
Greetings Women Warriors!
My name is Maria Kahtava. Oh, where, oh where do I start? Cindy!!!!
OK. I am a 61-year-old single mom, blessed with nine fabulous, quirky, adventurous, and most importantly, kind, adult children who range from 21- 37 years of age. Of the nine, there are eight boys and one girl. Adam, Hanna, Jesse, Aaron, Jacob, Jordan, Benjamin, Andrew and Kodi make up my tribe. They have gone through that dark forest and emerged into the sunshine. It makes this Mama happy.
My story has had some major devastating events, but I would go through it all again just to get these kids. I cannot imagine my life without this crazy brood. I also have five grandchildren, a son-in-law and a few daughters-in-law, all of whom I love! Waiting for us in heaven is an Angel Baby Leigha.
I loved the life of being a Mom and looking after my family (usually!!!).
I didn’t have an actual plan to homeschool, but rather kind of fell into it. Homeschooling was relatively new back then, but I thought that if I could teach my kids to talk, use a spoon and fork, use the potty and dress themselves, then why couldn’t I teach them to read and write, add and subtract? Plus, we wanted to be the primary influence in their lives. So, the homeschool journey began and lasted for over 20 years.
I loved my life (well, maybe not the night the flu hit the “bedroom” of seven kids all at once), but I totally loved the place God had me.
However, it was work and exhausting!
There was much to juggle. 4-5 loads of laundry a day, twenty hamburgers at a typical meal, fourteen gallons of milk each week, outings, music lessons, and a multitude of personalities. I could go on and on. But! The workload was not all mine, we all shared it. Even the youngest had chores to do.
Life had a flow. We were like a well oiled, happy machine (with the occasional wrench thrown in!). The white picket fence seemed to be in place. However, subtle changes emerged and in 1999, and I found myself as a single Mom of nine.
My life was turned upside down and tossed sideways and backward. At the age of nineteen, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I talked to Him daily and got to know Him. So when this all happened, I was devastated, but knew that I would not be alone!
God became a strength and force that led me through the muck and mire.
I vividly remember saying, “OK Lord, now what?” These were not easy times, and there were many occasions when I just wanted to give up. I have a chair in my room that is my prayin’/cryin’ chair. The older kids were good to cover if Mama needed to go to her chair. They were a great source of encouragement.
Dealing with all levels of emotional upheaval, anger abandonment and rejection issues in the children, as well as my own emotional floundering was daunting, but, those kids needed me to keep going, and God saw me through, sometimes carrying me!
However, amidst all the trials and struggles there were many times of joy and triumph.
We all worked together, and God knew just what and when who to send us when we needed assistance or support. He and His people are so amazing!
My thick skull sometimes needs a good thwack, though!
Over the years children have grown and moved out, pursuing their own adventures. They encouraged me to seek mine, too. In 2009 I got my motorcycle license and bought a motorcycle. I belong to a motorcycle group called “Women In The Wind.” We have a blast and fundraise for local causes/charities.
In 2010 I became involved in theatre and discovered I love being on the stage. However, these old brain cells take a beating as I try to memorize songs, lines, blocking and choreography! I am not a trained singer or dancer.
In 2014 I decided to jump back into the workforce and now I work part-time as a Learning Specialist with students who have learning challenges. My students are all in the Fitness and Health Promotion program, so I get to hang out with all these amazing young people doing fitness related activities. The Lord smashed together two of my favorite worlds.
I also got hired at Fit Bodies Fit Minds as a Personal Trainer that same week!
I love my jobs. I love my life.
I referred to you as Warriors. Yes! Trusting in the Living God has given us Warrior qualities. We are constantly in a battle for our children, marriages, moral standards, all that is tossed at us by the world.
But, we have God on our side!
My Daily Routine
My typical day now is very different than it used to be! My mornings are quiet as I rise before the two boys, Andrew and Kodi, still at home. As I sip my coffee an app on my iPad gives me Bible verses and readings for the day. It’s sometimes a struggle to focus, but the app dings to remind me to sit and be still.
Some mornings it’s really hard to shove out the world, I’m not always successful.
We are sharing one vehicle, so it’s a juggle to get each to his own destination. It’s a give and take kind of thing. Sometimes I have to wait for one of the boys, or they come in early with me. It’s understood that whoever is home first cooks supper. Life has certainly eased up and shifted since I don’t have to cut anyone’s meat or wipe a bum or nose anymore.
Young Mama’s, you will get there, but enjoy your own adventure in the meantime! Remember, little chubby armed hugs just turn into the firm, muscled armed hugs.
We eat together and evenings are generally spent doing work or visiting with one of the local kids who may have popped in.
Struggles Of My Day
Even though I’m down to two kids, I seem to always be busy. The shuffling of activities with one vehicle is still a challenge, but to stay in contact with everyone and have time for people is hard. I sometimes have to make actual “dates” to meet with folks.
Finances, home repairs, auto repairs…ongoing absolutes, and sometimes loneliness for that person to adventure with.
To be “still” is always a challenge!
Joys In My Life
I love all parts of my day. Each piece is entirely different than the other.
💗Mornings are tranquil and energizing. My day at the college is an amazing time as I get to witness students blossom, and light up and bloom.
💗At Fit Bodies I also get to see a transformation, physical and emotional.
💗My evenings spent kickboxing or rehearsing for a show tap into entirely other parts of me, the creative and fierce side.
💗Spending time with friends and loved ones refresh my heart.
💗I enjoy all parts of my day, but coming home and chilling in my comfies with my boys is probably the best part.
This is actually a hard one for me. I’d like to say that my dream would be to keep my kids from the hurt and struggle, the baggage collected from life. But I know that all of that has shaped us into who we are. I guess I just dream about happiness in whatever shape that is, in their lives.
Yeah, I sometimes get lonely for someone just for me, but God knows my heart, and He has it all planned out.
Moments With God
Wow! Life is good! God is good!
He lines everything up and sets up Divine Appointments. But! We must listen to that still small voice…easier said than done, I tend to want to take charge.
Much has happened over the years, but Jesus Christ has always been a part of it. Now, don’t you dare believe I’ve always been diligent, or that my relationship with Jesus Christ hasn’t ebbed or been minimal at times? There have been many periods where I have slowly pulled away, but He is always there!
Always ready and willing to gather me back into His arms.
I grew up in a Catholic home. We went to mass every Sunday as a family. My parents were loving, and I had a happy childhood. I can’t remember not knowing about Jesus, but I didn’t actually get to know Him until I was nineteen. That was a pivotal point!
I felt such freedom!
My experience was absolutely electrifying. Since then I have seen and felt God working. I have seen and been a part of unexplainable events. God has revealed himself to me in real, tangible ways:
💗An angel to help with a flat tire (light snow on the ground, but no extra footprints in the snow after).
💗Praying for food at breakfast and going to leave the house only to stumble upon a huge box of groceries left on the step.
💗Praying for an exact amount of cash and having an anonymous gift in the mail for the exact amount, down to the change!
💗Waking on a hot July night to my room shrouded in frost and a black cloud swirling above me, calling on the blood of Jesus, and it vanished.
God is a part of my life and my strength. He has shown me over and over again that He is always there. Yeah, I get anxious with life sometimes, but then I always come back as that voice speaks.
I know I can do all things through God. I have seen and witnessed His direct hand on us. He is my constant go to!!!
I am completely taken care of. God has blessed me beyond my imagination💗
If you decide to opt-in for our newsletter, you will receive stories only told to our newsletter-readers ever Tuesday morning. Plus we send out one of the prettiest newsletters that you can also enjoy with your morning coffee – more Beauty in your week.