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 6, 2014

New Normal

I have been meaning to write a post for the past three weeks now, since I discovered the blessed news that my husband and I are expecting our seventh baby in June of 2015.  We are ecstatic, and though my husband assures me it's not so, I think I'm already starting to show in the way that is obvious only to a woman's eyes about her own body.  I love seeing the signs of the new life that has only resided in my body a mere eight weeks already beginning to leave its unmistakable imprint.  Life is so beautiful.

And yet, as always, life is also busy.  Sometimes overwhelmingly so, which is why it took me so long to actually write this post.  I had not really realized just how maxed out I was until a few of my friends who have been pregnant for the last nine months started having their babies.  As I glean their pictures and swoon over their new little ones on Facebook, I get so caught up in the newness and excitement for them.  That feeling of having a new normal, that in one instant you are not as you were before. Forever changed, a new identity on your heart that you could never imagine your life without. Those days can be so challenging, I know.  But they are also so full of wonder, gratitude, awe, and transformation.  I see my friends becoming new people and I am full of hope for them and for me.  God is so good!

It has me thinking about what life will be like when I bring my new little one home in seven months, and once again (as with my last pregnancy) I find myself looking forward to a new baby so we can slow down.  This has been the biggest stretch without a new baby in our house, and so in a lot of ways it has been a different kind of normal - an identity without an infant.  A life that means we can do so much more than we did before, and so we did it. We've squeezed a lot of living into the last two years, as the older kids got older and we became more adapted to being on the go with little ones.  But I must say, it's also exhausting.  And maybe it's just the tiredness of my first trimester talking, but the thought of spending my days at home free from the school schedule (because the baby is due at the end of the school year) snuggled up with a little baby and adjusting to life as a family of nine sounds like a pretty good normal to me.  When I compare it to last summer, where we did everything we possibly good at the drop of a hat and the months flew by in a whirlwind, I know this baby is a Godsend.  I look at my friends with older children and no babies, with full schedules and children who need to be in six different places at once, and I know that someday that will probably be my normal too. I'll need a lot of grace then, and self control to learn how to pace myself.  But for now, I'm happy to let babies do the pacing for me.

And as I think of the changing seasons of life, in all its stages, I realize that normal is really rather fleeting.  Someday I won't have any more babies, but then of course children will be getting older.  There will be graduations, moving out, college, vocations, and young people growing into adults.  There will be empty nests, and (hopefully) grandchildren, rooms transformed from children's rooms to grandchildren's rooms.  There will be retirement, and free time (what's that??) and growing old, with all the beauty, wonder and challenges that brings, alongside the one I am blessed to hold in sickness and in health.  And so, what is it then that is my compass, that defines my "normal" and keeps me rooted?  

The answer is Christ.

I'm only a small part of the way into this incredible life, and while I think I have a lot of things figured out the reality is that I still have so many roads to walk still, so many challenges to face.  So much joy to share, so much heartache to endure.  But always, the one thing that never changes in Christ.  And I can hope that through all of life's ups and down, if He is with me, then anything can be the new normal.  I can't do it all, but I can do all things in Christ.  What a beautiful thing to know that in this world of constant change and great unknowns, I can always count on Him to be a stronghold in my life.  

So here's to normal, whatever that is.  I pray that whatever it looks like, Christ is always at the center.

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