Sunday, October 18, 2015

Motherhood is a sacrifice...

Never in my life have I felt as spent and overwhelmed as I do right now.  Three kids was our hardest adjustment, but four kids has challenged the deepest love of self I cling to and has caused me to throw my hands up.

Just imagine me waving a white flag.  And drinking a lot of coffee.
Left hand, coffee. Right hand, flag of surrender.
And prayer.  I can.not stop praying for my children.

But this surrender isn't just because there are a lot of small people in my home and under my care.  This surrender started way before I ever held my sweet Benjamin.  Because whether we recognize it or not -- deciding to have a child is the beginning of {so, so slowly} letting go of self love.

When I saw Benjamin for the first time, my heart melted and I gave up some of me.  His first year was H.A.R.D because, well, I couldn't wrap my mind around simply putting his needs first all the time.  Andrew came and I melted again and gave up more of myself.  Two small people is hard work! And then you realize that it's okay to love your people so much that you do more for them and less for you.

By the time we wrestled through so many rounds of Clomid, being pregnant with Elise was a gift after months of struggle and surrender. When I saw her, I melted and gave up more of myself.  This time night time feedings weren't awful, I enjoyed them.  Day time snuggles were not hard to hold on to. But three babies is a lot of babies.  Going from two hands, two children to THREE children and having no idea how to manage and survive, that's tricky.  It threw me for a loop.

Here I am with Caleb.  This sweet little miracle that has seen me through a very trying year of sanctification.  I went through so many emotions when I found out we were pregnant again.  And I was so upset to "lose myself", to "give up my body" again. I worked through things slowly as we approached his arrival.  Then he came out and was in my arms and the world could have stopped and I wouldn't have known.  He was this treasure that I just could never have imagined would be ours. I melted again.  But this time I just couldn't think about myself.  {I mean, I do and I am mindful to be alone and take naps and go for a run.} There, in my arms, was this tiny baby that needed me.  And running around my feet were three other children who needed me. And I have a husband who needs me.  This is my life, my calling.

Night time feedings are part of tiny babies and end so quickly, so I treasure that time to quietly pray and feed my baby.  Day time snuggles are never a burden and allow me to rest and give attention to the other children by reading or talking.  It's just that everything goes by so fast -- if I don't surrender now, I'll regret not giving up more of myself to know these small people that have been entrusted to me!

Little did I know, though, the surrender I would walk through over the next several weeks.  It's funny how the Lord kindly and tenderly prepares you for things.

As we found out about Caleb's craniosynostosis, I was brought abruptly to the realization of ideals and expectations I didn't know I had.  My so-called "American dream life", if you will.  In the span of two weeks my baby had a birth defect and needed skull surgery, my toddler threw tantrums every day and exerted her strong willed nature so forcefully I was brought to tears, my four year old wasn't doing well in preK and we had to move him back to preschool, and my six year old was struggling in first grade, with things we thought he knew.

Humbled. To the max.
My little dreams of a perfect family were brought to the light and I'm here to tell you this: perfection is fake and always, always a very awful place to dwell.
So I wave my white flag.  Not because of tiny babies.  But because we have no hope in perfection.  It's a false security. *waving white flag*

Little by little, I have had to "give up myself"...
   ---I cancelled my Y membership because I can't use it right now, or for the next three months.  And that costs money that we could be putting somewhere better in our budget. The one thing that was mine, that kept me mentally sane. But you know what happened, after I cried, I saw sin.  My hope and mental sanity isn't in working out, although it is nice to have!, it's in Christ.  He's my anchor.
   ---I committed to donating blood for Caleb's blood transfusion.  I realize that's really not a big deal, but I truly hate needles and being stuck with them.  And usually I don't handle a lot of blood being taken from my body well. But the Lord, He sustains me.
   ---I realized that there are days that I simply cannot make it to school to pick up my child on time.  I've had to call friends to help.  It's more wise to let the small people sleep, or to take care of a nursing baby than to be the mom always on time, with a snack in hand, to pick up my child at the sacrifice of my other children.  But God has provided so many friends that go to the same school and I can easily call upon them for extra hands.
   ---I realized that I simply cannot handle all of my children at important doctors appointments.  So I have to call and ask friends to watch Andrew and Elise {and sometimes just Elise}.  I can't mentally handle asking questions and holding a conversation while keeping three children calm and still.  And that's okay.  They are children.  And I'm not supermom. But God has provided the sweetest friends who are like family to us that love my children and care for them so well.
   ---We have gotten so many meals.  Like, more than we deserved. I'm usually the one to offer meals, but this time we have taken over and over. And it was the most helpful thing ever.  The week of all of Caleb's appointments, I cooked twice! People just kept calling with meals to drop off.  And I cried at the way God met those needs.  We needed to eat, and I didn't have the ability to function well enough to plan dinner.

Over the last few weeks I have noticed this: whether in good times or bad times, the most beautiful reflection of motherhood is being deep in the trenches -- spending and being spent -- for the souls and lives of your children.  There are some seasons full of tears and sacrifice.  There are some seasons of laughter and joy.  But every season should be covered in pleading prayers and daily surrender - of your children and yourself.

"I will most gladly spend AND be spent for your souls..." 2 Corinthians 12:15 {emphasis mine}

Now more than ever I know that my children are not mine.  They are incredible gifts from the Lord and they are His.  He chose me to love them and care for them and guide them -- but they are His and He created them just as they should be.  They are His creation, my earthly treasures.

Right now, friends, I'm spending and being spent in ways that I never knew were possible.  Perhaps that I never knew I could be. Surrendering myself so that I can most gladly and fully care for my children. But I will do it most gladly so that my children see Jesus, feel loved and know hope in Christ.  And I do it whole heartedly so that God may be glorified in my sacrifice of motherhood.

1 comment:

young wife&mom said...

This. to. shall. pass.
Oh sweet friend--I'm getting on my knees as soon as I hit send! Wish i could give you a big hug. But all i know is to encourage you! You are a great Momma. Every mom hits the wall with a newborn. Every good momma feels overwhelmed. Every child goes through tough seasons where they need help, and discipline, and special love. This is a transition for them too and they can't express that in words.

God couldn't have picked a better set of parents for those special people than you two. Of course I don't have four--but I always said when you have a child--you lose some of yourself. That's tough. then another--you lose more like water rolling down the bathtub drain. And then a third comes and you all but give away every little bit that's left. So I guess a forth--prehaps takes any sip that is left!! But friend--it slowly comes back. This season will pass and little by little you will have more space to breathe. It seems now that that day will never come, but it will.

You've been humbled friend. And God lifts up the humble. Praying he lifts you up and reminds you of his very deep personal love!