Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. --Luke 1:57 (NKJV)
Oh, I have been very very delinquent about writing blog posts! But I'm not really sorry, because I've been very very busy about some very important things lately... my people!Baby #3
So anyway, I want to share some of the sweet (and hard!!) lessons I've been learning since the addition of our third baby 6 months ago...
#1 Do the next thing
When my eyes feel just sore from exhaustion and my to do list feels a mile long, there is great power in closing those tired eyes for a small second, gathering a rambunctious child or two in my lap and praying with them "Oh, Lord, give me strength for the next thing!" He does. I might not get any *more* strength than that, but I always get enough!
By the way, praying that prayer out loud and with my children has been a great parenting move! They know Mommy doesn't have all the answers for life, God does! I love that when my kids have a problem they now ask me to pray with them as we help resolve it.
#2 My attitude is contagiousness
I suppose that leads into this point -- my children will not become what I tell them to become, but what they see me becoming! When I have poor control over my Spirit, so do they (even when I tell them not to!) When I have a content attitude even when I don't get what I want, so do they (this seems harder to catch than the bad attitude, but it comes with a little parental encouragement and training...). Deciding to "put on a happy face" even if I'm feeling grumpy helps us all to actually enjoy our day. Simple, but seemed monumental when the 'newborn phase' of little sleep and lots of transitions for us all was going on at our house.
#3 I am never alone -- and it's wonderful!
In point of fact, I am an introvert. Yes, I love to talk, but I also love to retreat to quiet for recharging my batteries... so this always always having people around me that seems to have intensified recently is a bit wearing sometimes.... In fact my body seemed to keep me from falling asleep last night just because I had been a bit harried and busy and too 'on' lately. I really just needed the awake down time of a quiet house until midnight even though I really ought to have been in bed (and usually am!) much earlier.
So all this quiet 'alone' time got me thinking... it's kind of sweet that even in the quiet of our house at that moment or in the couple of long drives I've had by myself recently or when I go for a walk to 'process' some nights after the kiddos are in bed... even then, I'm never alone. The Holy Spirit goes so far as to reside in me, and God knows when I rise up and when I lay down, I am never hidden from Him.
My kids hate to be alone; they love to be company for each other and for Mommy and Daddy. It is a gift to have their presence. It is a gift to have God's presence. Sometimes just a quiet, "I see you" as we slow down enough to notice it. Sometimes a delightful insight. Sometimes the strength we need to make it through a rough moment, or week. Sometimes the conviction that leads us to repentance He is always with us. Just writing that all out makes me feel like a hug! And that's kind of what it is "under his wings," huh? Well "Like a weaned child with it's mother is my soul within me"(Ps 131:2) -- and so I can be with my children.
Even though I do sometimes like to have a bit of peace and calm, I am so glad that my people and my God are never far away! Even Winnie-the-Pooh knows, "it's so much more comfortable with two."
#4 The Richness of Relationship Multiplication
I saved the best for last. Relationships multiply! When I married my husband, there was one relationship that defined our family, me and him. When we added our son, there were three relationships, me with my husband, my husband with his son, and mine with my son. Then came our daughter, and there were six (all the previous, plus each of ours with her). Now adding this second daughter, we've added four new relationships making ten relationships between our 5 people.
As a math nerd side point, this is called a combination (out of the 5 people, choose 2) and with each new person added to our family, the number of relationships grows more than it did with the previous addition. Get it? I used to teach math and aside from finding such things kinda cool...
I just LOVE seeing this lived out! I love seeing my four year old make silly faces at his baby sister to make her smile and laugh. I love watching our toddler help Mommy wash her little sister's feet at bath time -- quite literally! And then there is the sweetness of my husband's little boy helping him change a light-bulb I really could go on quite a bit about this one. As amazing as it was the first time I held my first baby in my arms, it continues to grow richer from there as I watch these people I love so much love each other!
Aside from the warm fuzzy moments, which are such a delight, there are so many opportunities to figuratively wash each others feet too. "Can you get a diaper for the baby?" "Son, it looks like your sister would like to play with you. Do you think you could choose a toy to share with her?" "Honey, can you bring this cup of water to your big brother?" And these are only the times I'm there to suggest the help... They are starting to think of it when I'm not there to ask too!
So there you have it -- my lessons from baby #3, so far. It began with God teaching me to give up my own rights and serve these people even when I'm more tired and busy than I can rightly remember ever being and now has come around to seeing them serve each other. I think God is up to something with these blessings! I think he's forming Christ in us! Oh, and boy does it keep us running to him for help when we simply cannot do it in our own strength!