I am sure you've noticed. I've been missing for a few weeks. One look and I am sure you know why. On July 16, 2012 at 5:14 a.m. I gave birth to my third child. A precious little girl that we named Leah Skye McNeil. She is a blessing and a treasure here on earth. The Lord is good. So good. She is healthy, strong, and feisty. I have been thinking a lot these past few weeks about children and what the bible has to say about them. This is one of my favorites:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"
With my first child, it took a while for me to fully realize the blessing I had been given. I was struggling as a new mom. I was fighting my selfishness, was terribly over tired, and was having quite the time figuring out how to nurse a baby who didn't want to nurse well. It took the first two months of motherhood to bring me to the full realization that I needed the Lord...in every area of my life. My walk with the Lord was probably the best during those long months. I was so stressed and anxious that I had nowhere to go but to the Lord in prayer. Once Jude started to nurse well and sleep, I felt like a new person. The sun was shining again and I could function like a normal person. My husband finally admitted that he didn't know where his wife went during that time. I have to admit, I was an emotional wreck. I absolutely loved my son with all my heart, I just wasn't prepared emotionally for mothering a difficult baby.
I am now broken in.
I am so thankful for my experience with my son. It may sound crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing. My dependence on God was fully realized and He used that time in my life to expose my utter helplessness. Much like my newborn son at that time. I have a terrible habit of thinking that I can do it all on my own. And every so often the Lord kindly brings me to my knees and helps me to remember Who I need to be serving and why it is that I am here on earth.
I am here to glorify God in my whole being and in the way I live my life. I have been called to be a wife and a mother. And in being a wife and a mother I am called to serve my family in a manner that is pleasing to God. It is truly the most enjoyable life. It is not however, without it's major ups and downs. I struggle with not nagging my husband and being content with the time that I am given with him. I am always trying to get him to be home more and not appreciating the fact that he works so hard in order to care for me and the children. I love my husband to pieces and my good desire to want to be with him more, often leads to a bad attitude when I don't get my way. My husband is amazing and incredibly patient with me. I am blessed beyond words with him and thank the Lord daily for the wonderful marriage I have been given.
My children, the little pieces of my heart, are my earthly treasures. My heart swells when I think of them. And yet, there are those times, when I lose my temper and get incredibly irritated with them. I surprise myself with how quickly I can get snappy with them. Shameful. It was just last night, after repeatedly calling my daughter, realizing that she was purposefully disobeying me, having to discipline her, and put her to bed again, that the Lord reminded me that I need to be much more patient with my kids. I finished nursing Leah, and when she was down, I went into the room with Ella and snuggled with her in bed. I needed to say I was sorry and love on my little girl.
My little Ella, was a breeze as a baby. And then she turned a year and her little brain started to work overtime. She is a busy little one and keeps me on my toes. She gets into things and is possibly the most hard headed and stubborn little thing to walk on two legs. We have entered the whining stage and it about drives me crazy. I have to fight a bad attitude when I have to deal with whining all day. I am constantly having to remember that I need to work on helping her to change the way she talks instead of reacting harshly.
I always cringe when I hear myself say to Jude, "Why can't you obey?!" (In my mind, perfectly is insinuated in that question) When he responds with an I don't know, it hits me like a ton of bricks. He can't obey perfectly because he is a sinner. Just like I can't obey perfectly because I am a sinner too. Jesus knows this about me and yet He is still loving, gentle, kind. Even when I am disobedient and come under God's discipline, He is still there to welcome me with open arms and grace. I need to learn to be this way with my children. I don't want to be remembered by my kids as being a grumpy and irritable mother. This thought scares me. Really.
And now, I've been blessed with another little munchkin. One that I am sure will come with her own set of endearing and frustrating traits. I am learning however, that I need to look upon my role as mother through a much brighter lens. I can get stuck in a rut, in the everyday mundane, and get very negative. My thoughts will be consumed with how everything I do is so tedious, instead of focusing on the blessings that are growing up right in front of my eyes.
My little Leah is 3 weeks old. Tomorrow she'll be turning one. Time flies. The older I become, the more real this statement is. The Lord has granted me the grace to truly enjoy and cherish this newborn stage. I have had time to think about my kids and how I love them so and would do anything for them. Including change. Change the way I react, parent, train, and learn to show them the right way to behave while pointing them to the One that truly matters. Jesus.
He is the reason for living, for parenting well, for striving to be a good wife, for being a light in a dark world. Everything I do, has to do with Him and is because of Him. I should be living this way. And with His grace, I will.
I have been thinking and meditating on a certain verse in Jeremiah that gives me great hope, not only for me, but for my family as well. While I need to do my best to be the wife and mother that Christ calls me to be, ultimately everything is in God's control. My children will be who God wants them to be, no matter what. This gives me great hope.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Children are a blessing.