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A Season for Love

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Last night, we were finally laying down to sleep after a two hour adventure to put together a Fire Station for the boys to have on Christmas Day.  It was after midnight and we should have gone right to sleep, but we lay awake talking about the boys, about being parents, about things that we wished for our kids.  I made the comment that if I could have any present in the whole world for Christmas, I would ask God to make me the parent that my kids need me to be.  I get angry sometimes; I yell sometimes; I get impatient; I do not always nurture their spirits but I get frustrated and say things that I shouldn’t.  As we lay in bed, talking about Christmas, I finally verbalized what I have been thinking about for a long time.  Just make me the parent that they need.  Just do that for me, God, and I do not want anything else in the whole world.

This afternoon our oldest son was jumping up and down, begging for me to go on a walk outside with him.  I didn’t want to.  We were all still in our pajamas at 4pm in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  I reluctantly put on our younger sons shoes and coat and we trudged outside for ‘an adventure’.  We walked the length of the field, down to the edge of the trees.  I walked beside my younger son, holding his hand in mine as our oldest ran ahead of us, constantly narrating out loud his interpretation of the world around us.  I was overcome with love for these boys, for this moment, for the chance to walk with them and reflect on our life, our property, our path.

So many times in the past four years, I have had people speak to me about the ‘seasons’ in life, and specifically how this was my season to be a parent.  They were referring to the fact that this is my most important job right now, and one that I need to be completely and totally devoted to.  This is my season, and like it or not, this is where God means for me to be.  I never quite grasped this idea, because I wasn’t sure that this was a season that I WANTED to be in.  Not to say that I did not want to be a parent, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a parent to the exclusion of everything else in my life.  As I walked in the field, crunching through the snow, holding my sons hand, I suddenly GOT IT.  This evening, as the new baby lay sleeping downstairs in the bouncy, I took an extra 20 minutes to sing to my youngest son in the rocking chair and hold him until he fell asleep.  Then I read some extra books to the oldest, and tucked him into bed, and finally, I sat on the couch with my husband on one side of me and the sleeping baby girl on the other side, and thought about seasons.  It doesn’t matter if this is what I thought it would be.  It doesn’t matter if it is what I want to be doing every minute of every day.  What matters is that right now, for this brief moment in their lives, I am their everything, and they NEED me.  They need me to be present.  They need me to be loving.  They need me to be patient and kind and nurturing.  I have finally, after four years and three kids, figured out that there is no room in my life for selfishness.  It serves no purpose.  My kids did not ask to be here, it was a choice that we made and now it is my season to give all my love and life to them.  I cannot promise tht I will not yet get impatient with them, or angry, or say things that I shouldn’t, but I finally get my purpose, my season.  RIght here, right now, my days are meant to be spent sitting on the floor playing games, or singing songs before bed, or brushing teeth, getting clothes on wiggly bodies, and holding hands while we walk in the snow. Instead of thinking about all of the other things that I could or should be doing, I just need to be present for them and given them all of my love.  Thank you, God, for giving me the only thing that I wanted for Christmas.  Thank you for finally opening my eyes to see what a precious and important job that I have been entrusted with.    Thank you for the chance to love them- may I continue to grow and become the parent that they need, and the parent/person that YOU want me to be, instead of the person that I think I want to be.

Why Our Family Needed This

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I didn’t know if I wanted a baby girl. I knew what to do with boys. They were familiar, even in their madness and mayhem.  I felt strangely indifferent. Then I saw her. In the first hours after she was born, my husband lay sleeping beside us after a long night, and the boys were watching cartoons with the midwife. I lay awake and just stared at her tiny face, her soft lips, and silky hair. I could not stop looking at her.

Almost a week later, I have not put her down for more than a few minutes at a time. I have the bassinet next to the bed, but she hasn’t slept in it yet. She sleeps snuggled up in my arms, cuddling her soft face into my neck. I have so few moments to myself, but what time I do have, I spend in precious quietness with her.

I didn’t know how much I needed her until I held her in my arms. She brings softness and beauty and grace to a world that feels out of control. It has been a year and a half now since we left the comfort of our home to come to this land and build a homestead. In that year and a half we have lived in a tent for five months, a camper for another six months, and we are now living in a partially finished house. I am surrounded by harshness. Our reality consists of chopping wood every day for the stove, using a generator or oil lamp for light, hauling water in blue seven gallon jugs, trying to keep the house clean with two boys, my husband, and two dogs crammed into a tiny living space- it makes me weary. Concrete floors and unfinished drywall glare at me downstairs while I am attempting to make dinner on a camp stove by oil lamp. I look past the card table that serves as a dining table and see tools in the area that should be a living room. The boys are loud and rambunctious upstairs and keep wearing holes in their socks and pajamas on the unfinished wood floor. They run and scream and jump and the only quietness comes when they are sleeping.

And then, surrounded by madness, I look down and see little Sophie sleeping in the sling, completely at home against my chest. It melts my guard. It softens my weariness that this life is giving me. It lifts my burden of stress and anxiety and makes me feel quiet and soft and peaceful. At night, I rub my cheek against her hair and drift to sleep listening to her breathing. This is why God gave us a girl, and this is why he gave her to us now. We all needed her gentleness, her softness, her beauty. Even the boys seem to recognize that she is different. They whisper around her, and stroke her soft hair. They tell her that they love her and then run off to continue screaming and jumping and playing. My husband says that she is the rose among the thorns.  I thank God daily for giving her to us and pray for him to continue using this little rose to  lift up our tired and weary hearts.

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