Doubling our family (from three to six) in just 2 years has not been easy but for sure a blessing. Eight years ago (before our son Caleb was in the picture), I was crying out to God to bless us with a child. The desire was so strong for me to have a child even though a few years prior I was not sure I even wanted children. God had helped me see through good God-fearing friends/family and the Bible that children were indeed a blessing. In addition, raising children would be an opportunity to truly bring up the next generation knowing and loving God.
Parenting for me as been one of the most sacrificial and stretching experiences I have ever gone through in life. It continues to be a challenge for me as we just added Keely to our family in late December. In fact, in the past two months there have been many times I have thought, "Do I really have to do this God?" Four children were never in the cards for me, or at least I thought and yet, God's plans are better than my plans. Our pastor was recently preaching about what the idea of being fully surrendered to God's plan/will for our lives and praying 'SEND ME,' with no strings attached.
In Isaiah 6:8 it says, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, 'Here am I. Send Me!"
In a prayer journal that we were doing through our church, it said this about Isaiah 6:8:
What happened in Isaiah's life to make him willingly volunteer to be God's man in any tough situation?Our pastor then led us to Jonah 1:1-3 which says, "The Word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 'Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord."
First, his heart was changed by the presence of God. God engulfed him with His holiness as he worshipped the Lord in the temple (vs. 1-4). Second, his heart became aware of his sinfulness and his personal need for God's cleansing forgiveness (vs. 5). Third, his heart was broken by the condition of God's people and their need for God's word (vs. 5). Finally, his heart was touched by God's cleansing fire (vs. 6-7).
Never in my mind have I ever had anything in common with Jonah, until now...Now that God has brought us these four beautiful gifts of children, I am fleeing the Lord. My mind loves them but my selfish heart is kicking and screaming as I continue to process the sacrifices and unknowns that are ahead in our journey as parents. The feeling of being so ill-equipped and having to truly depend on God for each hour of each day as we bring these children up to know Him is daunting and so uncomfortable. I would rather go and talk in front of 500 people at a conference than spend a whole day in my house alone with four children. Crazy, I know but the unknowns of the day and my lack of control over them is very overwhelming to me in a typical day.
As each day passes and I see that God is providing the strength and patience to give each child what they need and by me giving the older two more responsibility to help me, I am able to see God's goodness and provision. Do you have an area of your life that just seems so overwhelming? Do you doubt that you can do it? Is it hard for you to truly trust God with it?
Switching gears a little, many of you know I am a highly relational person. So...on top of adding a new member to our family in the past month, I would now call where we are at in our personal relationships the space between. What this means is that we have built new relationships with people here in Waverly which we are very thankful for but we don't have a lot of depth in those relationships yet (likely due to our circumstances: changes in our family and the lack of time to socialize as much as when we had no kids or even one kid). Secondly, we have been gone long enough now from our past home that some people don't seem to think about us as much. It is natural that some previous relationships will start to fade. It makes me sad to think about all this and yet I know in God's sovereignty, he knew this would draw me closer to him which is exactly where I should be.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." - John 15:4