Tomorrow marks four weeks since we welcomed Morrow into our family. Wow. I had intended to blog more. Just so that I'd have some way to document our life with four kids, to be able to look back on someday when the delirium of sleep deprivation has worn off. But, the days have flown by in a seemingly endless series of that three-hour cycle. Eat. Awake. Sleep. The last four weeks have seemed like an eternity. And yet, at the same time, they have seemed like just one day.
My house looks like a tornado hit it. A tornado named Jameson who blows through while I'm stuck on the couch feeding a baby, unable to stop his path of destruction. Did you know that in a matter of 15 minutes, a two-year-old can open a cupboard, pull out every board game we own, and dump out every single piece into one big pile. He can also pull out every DVD case. Or every book. Or every toy in the toy bin. Phew.
|Jameson eating cheese on the floor surrounded by the pots and pans he pulled out|
I also have no less than four loads of laundry to fold. I have two loads of folded laundry that need to be put away. I have another load of clothes that needs to be washed. And a load of sheets that need to be washed after a certain newborn pooped on our bed in the middle of the night, in the two seconds that a diaper was not secured.
My kids' suitcase, that they took to their grandparents' house while I was in the hospital, is still sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Half-full. Don't trip on it as you walk into our house. I systematically empty it when I need clothes for them and we happen to be downstairs.
There is a stack of thank you notes that need to be written. There is a box of baby announcements that need to be addressed and stuffed into envelopes. There are newborn baby pictures that need to be ordered. (Sorry Daveen - I promise I'll get to it).
Seriously. It's wild. And, I don't know when all of it is going to get done.
But, everyone is happy. Oh .... we had our share of tears this week - the kids' and mine. I've snapped and apologized. There have been a few rough moments. A few temper tantrums. Everyone has had to adjust. But!! We made it through our first week without Eric being home. And we didn't just scrape by. God showed up with abundant blessing throughout the whole week.
|Jameson on the carousel with Gram today to celebrate that we made it through the week!|
|Sweet Eliza refuses to ride on a horse that moves, so she continues to ride on this little one every time we go!|
Both of my younger boys are asleep at the same time (a blessing in itself). My older two are having "quiet time." And, I could sleep. Or I could take care of something off that list I just rattled off. But, I really need to stop and build an altar. Like Jacob did in Genesis. In Genesis 32, Jacob was afraid of his brother, Esau. Many years before, Jacob had deceived Esau and stolen his birthright and his blessing. Because of Esau's anger, Jacob had been forced to flee his home. Now, returning home, Jacob feared what Esau would do to him. In his distress, Jacob called out to God for help, and reminded God of the promises He had made to Jacob. And God showed up and changed Esau's heart toward Jacob. So, Jacob built an altar to "the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Genesis 35:3)
Last week, I was terrified at the prospect of being at home by myself with four kids. I'm not sure what exactly I thought was going to happen. Maybe I was afraid of kids melting down. Maybe I was afraid of me melting down. Or the house burning down? I don't know. But I was distressed. And I was crying a lot. So, I called out to God in my distress and recalled the promises that God has made to me in Scripture.
God showed up. He answered me in my distress. And He proved He will continue to be with me wherever I go. Even into my first week as a mom on my own with four kids. Now I feel like I need to stop and make a written "altar" to who He is.
Over the past couple of years, the Lord has impressed on my heart to be honest, to be an open book with my life. To be transparent - a word that used to scare the heck out of me. On Sunday, our first week back at church with Morrow, I didn't even try to hide my tears at church. I figured, if I cry then I cry. If I have to admit that I'm freaked out, then I'll admit it. When people have asked how I'm doing, I've been honest (a novel idea) and said I am good, we love this baby, but I am crying a lot.
Transparency has been a huge blessing. Because Monday morning, I had friends, friends and more friends getting in touch to say that they were praying for my week. One friend dropped off some treats on my doorstep. Others left a voicemail checking in. My mother-in-law took Eliza to dance class for me. And my sister-in-law took Marshall to Bible study. In the midst of the hectic pace that four kids brings, I didn't feel so alone. Even though I didn't have time to chat with
everyone anyone or to even text everyone back, it was comforting knowing that I had community around me who knew how I was really doing. God showed up through the community of believers that He has built around our family.
Also on Sunday morning, as I told a friend that I'm struggling some, she mentioned a book that she had been reading, My Name is Hope: Anxiety, Depression, and Life after Melancholy, written by John Mark Comer (the pastor of Solid Rock Church in Portland). I downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading it on Sunday night, in the dark quiet of late night baby feeding.
God used John Mark's description of taking every thought captive to speak to me. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." I've heard those words so many times. But, I needed those words to fall afresh on me this week so I would apply them once again, now to my life as a new mom of four. At 9:00 am, when I started to worry about how I was going to make it to 5:00pm, I shut down those worries. I focused on the task at hand instead. I asked the Lord to be with me right in that moment. Dealing with a temper tantrum, helping Marshall with math, changing a diaper, feeding a baby, being the referee in the older kids' argument. (Maybe all of the above at the same time?). And I had peace. I loved these words from John Mark's book: "The reality is God is your Father. You are his child. You will be okay. You just need to trust him."
You are his child. You will be okay. Those two sentences have come to mind often through the craziness all week.
Praise Jesus for reminding me that prayer and the Word meant that peace could guard my heart. Peace was not the absence of conflict of this week. Rather, I had "complete peace right in the middle of the chaos and the noise and the traffic of life." (Quote from John Mark's book). Peace and joy that came only by plodding through the day, by God's grace, with prayer and the Word. Just as the Israelites had just enough manna to get through each day - no more and no less - God provided enough of whatever I needed just to get through each moment. And, you know, it led to a harvest of abundant joy.
So, the laundry and the mess and the tasks have waited while I've written this down today. But, memories fade, and I want to remember that this week God proved Himself to be the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.