Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Arrows

"We don't become capable of developing the necessary strength in ourselves. The problem is with the placement of our eyes. When we believe we are enough-even when we feel Jesus's enough makes us enough-we're placing our eyes on ourselves, as if our abilities are top priority. On the other hand, when we acknowledge our constant need for and dependence on Him, our eyes are placed on Him, and His priorities take over." --Brooke McGlothlin (Gospel Centered Mom)

If any one picture could describe "Back to School" it's this one. We are tired. We decided to send the older boys to a school quite a bit farther away and the new routine has us a bit delirious. Motherhood is tiring any which way you spin it, though. For me, this week brought more time with my two babies. We've been to parks, read more books, cooked together, snuggled, and actually had a designated (double) nap time work out a time or two. I really like it. I just wish we were a bit closer to the school, but that's okay. We are getting into a new groove.

I'm proud of my school aged boys, too. I have a Kindergartner and a Pre-K student. Our goals for mainstreaming Abel have been set into place and we are hoping he flourishes in this environment with his typically developing peers. There have been some struggles with dragging boys out of beds in the morning, but other than that the challenges have been minimal.

I'm truly trying to remember as I cart my kiddos here and there that it's okay that I'm not a perfect mom. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've read the inner anxiety I have about feeling as if I'm enough for these kids. We've heard people tell us and even encourage us to repeat it mantra style, "You are enough"/"I am enough". The book I'm reading now says to look at it in a different light. I'll never be enough. I need Jesus for that. And boy, do I! The summer started out strong and I was mommin' like crazy. We went to pools, we hiked, and we played sun up to sun down. But as summers do, ungratefulness and hatefulness bred within us as we took the ability to get out for granted and brotherly rivalry turned into all out brawls over the silliest things. The summer drew to an epic close when on the very last day of summer break, I decided with the help of another questionably sane friend to load up seven of our kids (under 7) and take them to the aquarium two hours away. The day made for a cute picture or ten, but it was also another reality check-
I need Jesus. THEY need Jesus, too. In every moment. With every breath.

It's ten o'clock at night and do you know how many times I've put my three and four year old back to bed? Me either. Lost count. It's helping to write this so I can truly focus on not absolutely losing it. 

But sometimes I lose it. Sometimes I have the facade of having it all together, but underneath it's just ugly and sinful--in need of a cleansing Savior.

People give you funny looks when you take that many children that close in age to a place like that. In the kids' defense, they were pretty stinkin' good that day, really. Anyway, I had four or five of the boys at an interactive part of an exhibit and they were taking turns among one another pretty pleasantly when another child walked up with three (yes, THREE) adults with her. They stood there as the boys each got a chance to play with the submarine viewer. When the last boy was looking (in a timely matter I might add), the woman said "All she wants to do is have a turn looking at this thing, but this lady has too many kids!" 

There are moments in life where you chew on what you should have said or would have said, but all you can do is think about it because the moment has passed. With just a hint of snark in my voice, I will tell you that I said exactly what I wanted to say in that moment-"Okay boys, let's move on. This little girl's mommy wants a turn at the submarine."

I've giggled at the look on her face a time or two since then.

But when I think about that moment, my thoughts are drawn to sin and how it so easily entangles us. My reaction to her was not love, but an immediate desire to make her feel small while I held my tongue to what I really wanted to say. I mean, why would anyone want to make a child feel unwanted? Don't you dare let my kids or any kids in my care hear you say anything about how you wish there were less of them. These kids are arrows (Psalm 127:3-5). They are His handiwork. They will be His messengers, His disciples. The God of the Universe gave them to me. He doesn't make mistakes. Back off, lady.

So, it's okay. To the world, I'm definitely definitely not enough. Far from perfect. My lot is one long crazy train most days. But I get to raise these kids. Me. This selfish, prideful, tired mom was chosen for them. They are prayed over and diligently loved and corrected. And I will continue to seek God's help in doing so. What a magnificent role I have here and I thank God for it.

But if I'm truly introspective, I can see that so many times it's not the behaviors, attitudes or personality characteristics of my kids' that need attention. Instead, it's my own. These boys (and girl) were given their attributes specifically and He is making them to work for good. I can't stomp on their independence now and expect them to feel confident in themselves in other ways down the road. My job is to make them into the individuals God made them to be, not who I want them to be.

People tell me often, "I don't know how you do it."

I don't either, but I know it's by the grace of God that we get through each new week. It's an exhausting, beautifully chaotic, messy life but it's an incredible one, too. I'm thankful for a Savior who doesn't leave us, ever.

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