Well, since this is our first Christmas in our new house we thought we would try a real tree this year. We enjoyed a family outing to Dewberry Farms to pick and cut down our own Christmas tree. This is something we have never done before. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and we enjoyed the hay ride out to the tree farm.
Abbbie Joy turned two on November the eleventh. We had a simple celebration at home. Big sister Lauren did a fabulous job making the cake. Abbie Joy has such a funny personality. She definitely brings us lots of Joy!!!
Lilly Faith turned four months on November the eighth. She is getting so much personality smiling, cooing, turning over, interacting, etc. She is a joy to us all.
I have been thinking this week about how much our children are our ministry. They are God's sanctifying work in our lives. There is nothing like children to bring out the worst in us, and the more children I have the more I see the ugliness of my own selfishness. The Lord uses my children to prune my character and make me depend upon Him more and more. I love what Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, "Anything that makes us need God is good, and what makes a mother need God more than having children?" So true!!!
In recent days I have had moments of desperation feeling that I'm in over my head at times. I feel like the Lord is using our growing family once more to show me my utter helplessness apart from Him. He has me where He wants me when I feel desperate and needy. It is a healthy place to be. I also feel that He continues to show me how greatly blessed we are with each of our children. They are a ministry with eternal value.
Yes, if I did not have so many I could have more freedom. I could focus more on my physical appearance, I could have lunch with girlfriends, I could shop more, pour myself into hobbies, fixing up my home, and even involve myself in good pursuits. Those are things that I have laid on the alter for this season of my life. I am working hard to put my priorities in order. First God, then husband and children. I wish I could make a one time decision and I would always have things in balance, but alas this is a daily dying to self process and daily choosing to say, "Lord, what next?" "Lord, what would you have me to do today?" "Lord, please just help us to accomplish your will for this day!" I am learning to relinquish my own agendas and just be available for the Lord to work through me each day. I am learning to be flexible.
I see more and more that my children are a gift to me and bring me much joy. However, this whole thing is much bigger than my personal happiness. Matt and I are choosing to engage in kingdom work as we raise our children. I started out the journey of motherhood thinking about our happiness in having what I envisioned as the perfect family. Well, I am learning that all of this is not about my happiness. Joy is just an added blessing. This is about the work that the Lord has called us to. What could be more fulfilling than laying down my life to disciple these little children whom the Lord has entrusted to my care? I think for a woman there is no higher calling. I am privileged that the Lord has allowed me to be a mother and is teaching me so much through this journey.
I thought I was a strong christian before children, but children have shown me the reality of my selfishness and how desperately I need Christ moment by moment. I have daily moments of feeling overwhelmed, but it is a moment by moment walk and choosing to turn to Christ one situation at a time. I would be embarrassed to admit how often I blow it. I am learning, I am growing, I have a long way to go. I thank my Heavenly Father for stretching me and growing me through the process. I thank Him for stretching me out of my comfort zone and asking more of me than I feel I have to give. It is through the stretching that I am growing. His ways are always best!
The children and I were reading from Luke chapter one yesterday. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him about the coming birth of his son John the Baptist. John the Baptist would prepare the way for the Savior who would offer hope to a hurting world. One of the things John would do is, "Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children." Luke 1:17 It struck me that when things are right and as God would have them to be that parents hearts are turned toward children. Unfortunately in our culture today children are not valued as gifts. Many children are raising themselves because their parents are too busy. Many parents are more preoccupied in careers, community service, church ministry, etc. God wants parents hearts to be turned towards their children. It saddens my heart when I see parents celebrating every opportunity to drop kids off here or there to get rid of them. I know we need breaks. I would be the first to admit that, but I have to keep looking at my heart and asking hard questions about where my heart is. God wants my heart to be continually turned towards Him, towards my husband, and towards my children. I have to be so careful to not let "Good" things become more of a focus than the obvious ministry right under my nose. My husband and children are my first and primary ministry at this season of my life.
Well, that was a long happy fourth month birthday to Lilly Faith. She is a doll; I am so thankful for her. I just felt like writing out some of my musings on motherhood. These are some of the thoughts that have been mulling around in my head this week. God has blessed me so much with our five wonderful blessings. I am blessed.