As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Little I Have

Life with a four-week-old brings something new every day.  And this being my sixth time around, that's no surprise to me.  I've gotten pretty good at going with the flow of each day.  Except when that day begins at the end of a long night involving little sleep. 

Usually I can count on at least a few hours of sleep in between feedings (if the baby won't go down in her crib, then I just lay down with her and we both drift off to sleep - it's kind of nice).  But occasionally, as was the case last night, she has a restless night.  Which means even when she's with me she's grunting and groaning and twisting, and not much interested in nursing.  Have you ever tried to sleep with a grunting, wriggling baby?  Not happening.

Not much of this going on last night
I woke up this morning in despair.  Not only are all the usual demands of daily life facing me today (homeschooling three kids, feeding, clothing and otherwise entertaining my brood, mediating sibling squawbles, keeping the house in order, laundry-laundry-laudry!) but as it turns out my husband has a meeting to go to and will not be home at supper time (possibly even at bedtime) which, as any parent knows, is the most stressful time of the day.  I, in my sleep-deprived state, will be all alone with these six little angels (I'll tell you if my opinion of them changes by the end of the day!)  It's terrifying!
My husband, who is not usually quick to respond to my whininess, prayed with me on his way out the door.  He shared with me some of the things he's been struggling with, and how he's found grace in choosing to love me in his moment of weakness instead of giving in.  And that made all the difference to me.  I was (and am) feeling like I have nothing to give today.  And through his sharing, he helped me to realize that it is my nothingness that my giving means everything.  I have to love these kids, to choose to be patient even when it's not in me.  This is when the depth of my love is truly put to the test.

Enjoying a quiet moment
People tell me all the time, "I don't know how you do it." And I usually respond that the kids are easy on me, and that's how I do it.  But the reality is that in those times, it is easy.  My challenge is to still do it when things get rough.  Not to turn the page on these hard days and look for greener pastures, but to embrace these days as the fullness of my call to motherhood.  I am so quick to forget about the bad days or to want to move beyond them, but in reality they are what define me.  What kind of mother am I on the worst days?  How well can I love these little ones when I haven't slept all night, and the craziness of my day (not knowing any better) still comes at me full-force bright and early the next morning?

Loving them when things are good?  That's easy.  Loving them and treating them with dignity and respect when things get tough - that takes work. And that is where I will find my truest fulfillment, where my bonds with them will deepen and grow, and where I will find the tender love of the Father waiting to hold me up and show me I don't need to do this alone.  And if I am smart I will settle there, and allow Him to make up for what I lack.  Let's pray that I am smart today.

"And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all who are contributing to the treasury.  For they have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.' " (Mark 12:42-44)

My true treasure

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