Painting heart-cries, word by word

Why Having 5 Kids Has Not Scarred Me for Life October 5, 2013

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I would love to go into extreme detail about each time God expanded our family, but that would be a very “tl;dr” post. Matt Walsh uploaded a blog recently to give a new dad some perspective. As Mr. Walsh is still pretty new at this, by his own admission, I thought I would expand on his thoughts a bit. (Although, I will say I’ve never had twins and that is an experience to which I cannot directly speak.) After all, people do think we’re crazy on a regular basis for not being “done” by now. Which seems odd to me because 5 kids is not exactly “out there” in terms of quantity.

So here’s how having 5 kids went down for me.

The first time it happened, I was hurtled into a default state of complete and utter shock. There was no going back. I was officially insane.

The second time it happened, I felt kind of vindicated for being put into shock the first time. This parenting thing really was as hard as it seemed.

The third time it happened, I actually looked forward to it all, right down to the dirtiest diaper and the sleepless nights. I was fascinated and in love with the baby phase of life.

The fourth time it happened, I relished as many moments as I was able because it started to hit home–this would not last forever. My time with little ones was going to end eventually.

The fifth time it happened, I rejoiced in the gift of it, of him, of my third son and fifth child. I rejoiced in my calling as a mother and as a steward of these precious PEOPLE God put into the care of my husband and myself.

Although my first time was rocky and difficult, although I was convinced I was a monster for cringing every time my beautiful daughter cried for me, **although it took me months to appreciate her for the wonder she truly was and is–continuing to listen to God by having more children has been the greatest tool He has used in my life for helping me see what a destiny really is.

Destiny is not the golden-trimmed puzzle piece we want it to be. Destiny is not an acheivement at all. Destiny is a posture of life and it is characterized by surrender. I have FINALLY learned, after 8 years of pregnancy, nursing and parenting, that my surrender to God in being a mother is my destiny. It is certainly not the only point of surrender but it is definitely a significant one.

I wasn’t one to plan this, you know? I didn’t daydream about babies. I picked a couple names out at age 14 just so I could join in the girly sleepover discussions. I didn’t even think about being married one day!

God had different plans for me than I had, and I thank Him for choosing me to do something so meaningful.

I’m not scarred by the difficulties of parenting five children. I am being shaped by it. I am in a position of destiny.

Praise God.

(**I did struggle with my first born quite a bit for various reasons. God gave me a strong support system through my husband, my family, and my church. I loved my little girl from moment one but I’m pretty sure I had a mild bout of post-partum depression on top of all the sleep deprivation and general feelings of being confused and overwhelmed. The subsequent post-partum experiences were all very positive, however, for which I thank God.
Just wanted to be clear.)


Waiting. February 18, 2013

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One week past my due date. Feeling ENORMOUSLY “with child.” Hormones taking emotions for spontaneous, tear-filled, whirlwind adventures. Contractions that don’t seem to be doing any good other than rendering me nearly paralyzed for half a minute.

And STILL You want me to be patient, God? Are You kidding?!

Apparently not.

Every morning for the last week, I’ve needed a major attitude adjustment. I have not characterized these last days of pregnancy with grace, in any sense of the word. I’ve been impatient, irritable, exasperated, and ready to move on with life! I’ve been carrying this child for three seasons now! I’m ready to MEET him or her and finally quell the constant exclamation from every side–“What–you’re STILL pregnant?!?!”
(Please note: it is not advisable to repeat this phrase to a very pregnant woman!!! Jussayin’.)

I know these are legitimate reasons for being extra tired and emotional. They are not, however, good excuses for a bad attitude.

I looked up “waiting” in the little section at the back of my Bible and read some of the verses listed. You know what I noticed? When the waiting is dependent on God, it is filled with blessing.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:13, 14

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” Psalm 33:20, 21

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5, 6

These are just a few of the verses I found. What I noticed was the absolute dependence on God. Oh how I identify with the phrase “my whole being waits!” It does indeed! But am I putting my hope in Him? Not especially. I’ve been too busy complaining at Him over the timing of a couple weeks. As my midwife said, this baby WILL come out. There’s no other option. It would be impossible for me to remain pregnant! And yet here I’ve been, moping and crying out in frustration when I could be learning about the hope found in God, the confidence found in His faithfulness, the trust found in His love.

I’m grateful He never gives up on teaching me. It’s still an internal struggle to wrap my mind around it, but the truth is waiting on the Lord is good. This is a lesson that must become rooted deep, deep in my heart. I will have many opportunities to exercise waiting and not all of them will be as straight-forward as the birth of my beautiful baby.