Sacrifice.

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It’s taking some adjustment, this new baby in our house. I didn’t realize how much I’d come to enjoy the tiny tastes of independence that children give as they grow: the showers alone, the writing time at my desk, the hour of quiet on the couch while kids busied themselves upstairs. I think perhaps the most difficult part of this first year for me will be the constant companion, the always being together. We are in the midst of a boundary-less relationship, this baby and I, and I don’t do so well without some guidelines for personal space. Ivy-girl doesn’t seem to be getting the message.

Yesterday, while sipping coffee, I penned this in my journal: Today, I am overwhelmed by the care of a newborn. I don’t want to wish time away, but I’m not happy to be where I am right now, I wish it were over and she were older and not so needy. This is hard pill to swallow.

There are women who have dreamed of motherhood and pined for a baby in their arms from their first babysitting job — they are gifted in the care of children and long to put that gift to good use. I have never been one of those women. Though I wanted to know motherhood, it was more in the way of curiousity, then later conviction over God’s way of working in family and world. God flung me upon the rocks of mothering, and I smashed into a millions pieces, fear and guilt and longing for rightness broken wide open, exposing the worst parts of me. It was total trial by fire. I’ve grown up through mothering, and it wasn’t an easy passage. I’ve learned how my giftings of discernment, sensitivity, and deep thinking can be used in this phase of small children, though they certainly made me feel at first like I wasn’t cut out for the job. I grew into hoping for a big family, because I wanted my kids to have sibling-friends and I wanted to throw big parties together when they were older. When I think about who I was when I started, I sometimes can’t believe God decided to give me four children.

And yet, here I am, two weeks into caring for my fourth newborn — and while I have the comfort of knowing what I’m doing, and total affection for this little one, I have nothing to make the sleepless nights, the round-the-clock care, the inseperable nature of newborn care any easier. Birth was still hard and painful, and mothering will continue to be a sacrifice, no matter how many times you’ve been around the block.

I have been reading Psalm 128 in the discouraging moments, like yesterday. I want to remember that my children line up like olive shoots around our table, spilling milk and getting down before they’ve been excused and laughing at silly jokes. This is God’s blessing to me, these beings that call forth my best self, sometimes a self I didn’t even know existed.

Yesterday, I also penned this in my journal: I will rejoice in this path for my life, rejoice in what You have given me. There will be a beauty unmatched in this sacrifice, and I. want. that. beauty.

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I am very aware that there are countless women who long to be mothers, and yet, are not. I am not sure how my words in this post would be seen from that standpoint, but wish to say that when I struggle with what God has asked of me in this current phase of life, the thought of how blessed I am to have four children is never far behind. I have not known the pain of childlessness, but I want to express that it is not outside of my thoughts.

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