Four kids. What have I done to myself?
I’ve sentenced myself to a life of quiet pleasures and ridiculous frustration. Of cuddly stretching and cooing and sleepy smiles. Of intellectual conversations about the size of various breeds of dogs and whether or not a lions are, in fact, the king of cats. And did dinosaurs have feathers, Mom? Of never ending dancing, jumping and talking. Of messy finger prints all over all of my tables — and they don’t even care whether they are white or not! Of brown blobs of (what is that??) on my carpets. Of messy mealtimes and sneaky snacks. Of bad little girls that are oh-so-innocent. Of saying things I never thought I would: “please let go of her head… NOW.” Of always being overwhelmed in the moment but never being satisfied enough to not miss them when I am away. Or to not talk about them constantly.
And I know. I know they will be teenagers someday. And oh the drama. And we will have to “think of all those weddings!” And poor Joel… how did he end up with all girls? And just think of the line for the bathroom! And someday those boys will come knocking. I know. And perhaps I will dwell on those troubles another time. But right now? I am busy. Busy with all the happy times, the awful stinks, the dance parties, the silly antics, the cheering aunties and uncles, and yes, the head banging over how demanding it all is. Friends, if this is my sentence, I am happy to be locked away.
Maybe that’s because these happy times are shadowed by suffering? Maybe it is the memory of tiny, frail and sickly Maddie that I cared for that makes me rejoice at Hannah’s solid baby rolls? Maybe it was the losing of 3 three babies in the womb that makes me so deeply thankful for the 4 that are here now? Maybe it was the 9 months of intense treatments, the agony of choosing or rejecting complicated intervention plans throughout Hannah’s pregnancy that has brought me here to patiently hold her close at night when she won’t settle on her own? These “terrible” baby troubles that used to undo me — now somehow fill me with thanksgiving. Maybe it is the knowledge of what is not — the possibility of so many pains and trails — that makes me rejoice over what IS. Maybe it is the weeping that endured all night that makes me rejoice all the more this morning? That makes the inconveniences brief and the gratefulness palpable and lasting? Maybe it is the fact that God was faithful and steady in the trial… when I was not? Maybe this is just a sample, an oasis along the road. A tiny taste of the relief and worship that will fill and swell all of Heaven when these shadows have passed away?
Maybe, just maybe, when the next storm comes — He will prove to be even more faithful. Maybe I can be confident about the future, even the tragedy, that will come in this life — because I am not strong or wise or experienced or even brave for that matter. But simply because I am only a child myself and He is a good Father. A good, good Father that cares for his own and “gently leads those that are with young.” Because I have a God that cares for me… and my FOUR kids.
That’s maybe what I did to myself. But I think it is what God has done, weaving trial and joy together for my good.
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3