Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Year Accomplished

There was a link to a parenting article floating around last year about dealing with the worst moments with your children. The author talked about how no one could truly enjoy the real hard stuff *in the midst* with small kids (i.e. tantrums in the supermarket line, poop explosions in the clean crib, siblings who fight constantly, vomit in the car... you get the idea). There was talk of smacking well-meaning older folks who say, "Enjoy this, it goes by so fast." How could anyone really enjoy this? The summery was that the success in parenting was often found in looking back and saying, "I made it through."

Initially I read the article and agreed. Horrible, messy, smelly, incidents springing to mind. Ya, no fun! Most days with my crazy brood feels like completing a marathon (which I haven't actually done, but feel like I do every day) and collapsing at the finish line, "I MADE IT!" Not actually relishing the journey, but who cares!

Obviously a lot of other people agreed with the whitty summery because the link was shared by about 90 of my mom friends. I'm not leaving the link because 1), I can't remember the author or title, 2) I don't want to give more publicity to the thinking that we have to simply endure the young years with our little ones.

When I had Tommy last year, the first few weeks were spent barely surviving. I kept thinking, I've got to make it through the first few months then it will be better, then I can enjoy him. He was the hardest baby I've ever dealt with. I know there are harder challenges out there (special needs especially), but for me, he was a whopper of a big deal. Sleep deprived, tested to the limit with other kids, long days and even longer nights, I'm guilty of expressing the "just survive" mentality.

My biggest fear as I walked the floor with Tommy is that my survival-mode would rob me of memories. I wouldn't remember the beauty of my precious fourth child's first days, weeks, and months. Let alone remember the other 3 as they said funny things, warmed me with hugs, grew, changed, and developed into bigger kids. They needed a mom who was actively embracing life.

I can't pinpoint when or how, but lit by the glow of my Bible app on my iPad, it slowly started to seep into my consciousness that God wants to give us more than just survival. He promises in the Bible that he will give enough of everything to live a full life, not just a get-through-it, existing life.

I wrote "More Than Enough" for Drops during the first few months of being a mommy of 4. I believed it and tried to live it. I desperately clung to God's promise in Phillippians 4:19: "my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." It was at my most depleted state that I saw his riches, I felt them in my bones.

My God is abundant and through the last year, I've seen so many gifts. I tell ya, there were even gifts in the times some would say were impossible to enjoy. Laundry that doesn't stop? Beautiful people who wore clothes and a washing machine to clean them. Baby who won't stop crying? Arms to hold him, strength to feed him (I breastfed for 13 months! 3-6 months longer than all the others), advice from understanding friends, internet research to aid my wisdom (or lack there of). A husband who is works nearly all the time? Precious Sundays off where we soaked up togetherness instead of lamenting time apart. Siblings fighting? An excellent opportunity to talk about love again and again and kindness and memorize beautiful Scriptures.

According to that article that sizzled with alluring justifications, it is impossible and completely ridiculous to see blessings when mostly all is awful. To turn mundane into blessings? That's not the point of life, the author stated -- enjoy the good when things are good and take the bad for what it is and "get through" was the advice.

The Bible's wisdom says it differently, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Living as someone whose God has overcome the world is different. It allows us to find peace in the midst of trouble. It also allows us to believe the wisdom of older folks who say, "Enjoy this, it goes by so fast."

So instead of bemoaning this little guy's long list of troubles, I am praising God for our triumphs. I met God in a new way because of Tommy. Maybe if he was easy-peasy I would have thought it was by my own strengths and skills that I managed a houseful. Thankfully Tommy boy crushed that idea.

His midnight crying jaunts humbled me and brought me to my knees. As I breathed in the scent of baby Tommy I cried to my Father in Heaven, "Let me remember this, don't let me forget his beauty." And I blessedly remember, God gave me more than just those sweet memories of forever nights and crowded days, I also remember the scent of God's goodness whispering through my heart and unlocking the fullness of life.

It's not all rosy, and I guess that's the point. The difficulties give us the challenge of finding the good, the great, AND the extraordinary.

Our Tommy is the diamond in the rough with food allergies that have me catering to his every whim and contemplating a catering company named after the boy (a lot of farm-fresh eggs and absolutely no dairy). The "rough" is the quirks in his physical body that I'm still figuring out, and the "diamond" is a smile and disposition that will stun you with magnificent joy.

Tommy is a charmer, crowd pleaser, clown of a toddler who will do anything for a laugh. The other night at dinner he was putting spaghetti noodles on his head and dancing in his seat while he giggled, his eyes searching out the crowd (his hysterically laughing siblings) to make sure he was getting a reaction! Of course he was, we were all in stitches. And this boy is only 1 year old :). I can't wait to see how his generous personality unfolds.

Happy birthday to our sweet and special Tommy. My heart grew with this special gift, God is so good.

Here's a video I put together of some of Tommy's first steps:


M. Cazin said...

I wanted to let you know that you are a complete encouragement to me. I am encouraged by your genuineness and that you are okay with saying you do not have it all together, but yet you rest in God for the strength. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs.

Grace said...

Beautifully said! I'm so refreshed hearing you speak such truth without giving into the world's point of view!

Linds and Manda said...

Beautiful! As always your real and honest words remind me of what is important and how God leads us through each step.

What you said..."So instead of bemoaning this little guy's long list of troubles, I am praising God for our triumphs. I met God in a new way because of Tommy. Maybe if he was easy-peasy I would have thought it was by my own strengths and skills that I managed a houseful. Thankfully Tommy boy crushed that idea."

So important to remember this in my own struggles. God knows what we need to learn. Love you.

Unknown said...

I love love this post. Thank you so much, Alysun! It is such a beautiful encouragement and reminder to me. I've read it twice now and I'm forwarding it on to some of my mom friends over here.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you, this is a good reminder.