[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]ime really does go by so quickly. Our baby girl is 4 months old today. In some ways, she still feels so little as she’s in no rush to outgrow her 0 to 3 month clothing. Yet in other ways, I know I’m going to blink, and then she’ll be walking. She is now sitting for a few seconds on her own, and she has the best laugh. She’s also very much in the phase of separation anxiety. I have not successfully left her in the nursery at church as she is quite vocal. Yet when she’s at home with us, she’s so content and happy; you’d never know that she can actually scream at the top of her lungs. We’re enjoying her presence in our family very much, and I look at her and feel that she is such a gift from God. Over the past month (minus having some sort of stomach virus), she has greatly improved in keeping her feedings down. She’s not spitting up nearly as much as she had been, and she vomits very rarely now. Praise the Lord for that. We’re still ordering her formula from England, but I found a company that will ship several containers in one box with a very fast delivery time. That has made life far easier.
As I look back at the last four months, I’m noticing that the major difference with the third baby has been how quickly we have adjusted. We wanted life to get to “normal” as quickly as possible after EB’s birth, and that’s what we did. It felt like a very easy transition. We all feel like she’s been a part of us for quite some time, and I’m so thankful that it’s not been a difficult transition. I do still feel like sleep deprivation and my own health is not where it should be, or maybe I was just hoping it would not take a full 9 months to get back to normal. Tiredness, a very small tolerance for noise and constant loud activity, and just feeling a bit overwhelmed by our schedules, the laundry, the one car situation, etc. have all taken their toll and I feel very short-tempered and not up for much outside of our daily have-to’s. My social life has taken a seat in the far back of my schedule, but I’m learning to just let go of things and focus on what matters for right now.
And that seems to be the focus of life in this season – learning to recognize what is priority. Over the past weekend, I was studying for my class on missions while Mark was driving us to church, and I realized that my notes were very concentrated on the subject of love. And a prominent theme in them is love in action and love as sacrifice. It dawned on me that love in action is sacrificing my need for quiet in exchange for choosing to keep my peace in the midst of my boys’ constant noise. Love in action is choosing to not get annoyed at my husband because he did or didn’t do something, but it’s choosing to just overlook it. He spends two mornings a week looking after our boys, and then he heads to his work day. So if he runs late or if the house is trashed because he was looking after 3 kids, it’s not worthwhile to get stressed and irritated over. What is worthwhile is keeping the love and peace in the family. Love in action is realizing that we have 3 children under 4.5 years of age, which means that not one of them is able to do a whole lot by him/herself. So that means for Mark and me our time is spent taking care of kids. There is no relaxation time, very little reading time, no focusing on what we want/like to do time. We work and we take care of our household, but it won’t always be like this. It’s just a season, and it’s a season where we’re having to learn what our time is really worth.
So for right now, what is worthwhile is setting priorities and knowing what I can tolerate and what I simply can’t. I’m learning to simply speak up and say when I can or can’t cope with something; it’s better to just tell my husband and my boys that I can’t handle the noise or the mess right now and then either deal with it or just go find a quiet space for a few minutes. Then I haven’t lost my temper, haven’t yelled, and they all know that Mommy needs a break. Parenting is definitely an exercise of death to self in exchange for life for new little people. It’s an opportunity to ask for more grace and to receive more grace. And it’s an exhausting endeavor. I have days where I just want to stay in bed, days when I just want to go on vacation, and days when I mourn my dreams of living overseas and ministering to people. I have good and bad days just like any other mom, yet my heart is always to want to have more good days than bad. My heart is to be the best mom that I can be, and that’s been my heart’s prayer.
So as I shared my heart on missions this week to a class of students, one of them, who is also a mom, asked if I had been able to do any missions since having kids. I answered her with a no, and as the class continued and as I shared about just loving the one who is right in front of us, the topic came back around to motherhood and our callings in life. One of the single men in the class mentioned how motherhood is such a fantastic calling and how it’s such a great opportunity to love that one right in front of us. It’s a chance to raise world changers. He was so right in all that he said. And it made me think, again, about sacrifice and love. Choosing to be a good parent is choosing to sacrifice what we would prefer to do. Choosing to get up at 6am and spend time with little ones who are awake is a worthwhile sacrifice. Choosing to let go of fiction reading, time spent reading blogs, time on facebook, or whatever the hobby might be, in exchange for doing a puzzle with a four year old, coloring with a two year old, or snuggling with a 4 month old is so worth it. So I’ve purposed to do that this week. When my middle child is whining and being a two year old, I’ve stopped to actually look in his eyes, listen to what he’s really saying, and just graciously give him patience. When my four year old has asked me to sit on the couch and watch a show with him rather than spend a lot of time making an excellent dinner, I’ve accepted and been thankful that he wants to spend time with me. And we’ve opted for an easy dinner instead. In purposing and doing these things, I’ve realized that love in action actually changes the person who chooses it. Sacrifice changes us, and God has always known that and called us to it. God never asks us to do things simply because He likes rules or likes to make us suffer. He asks us to do things because He knows they will change us for the better. He (as both God the Father and as Jesus Christ) has exemplified self sacrifice and love in action to us in so many ways, and somehow after 30 years of knowing Him, I’m just catching on to how good it is to follow His example.
**Please forgive my long, repetitive sentences and not perfectly written blogs. Tiredness is affecting my brain, and I’m quite limited on how much time I have to write posts. So quality is lacking when it comes to grammar.