Well, it's been two weeks since my last post and a crazy couple weeks it's been. We just finished the second week of school and we're still adjusting to the schedule and the homework as we continue to work through our eldest son's behavior issues. (Of which we are seeing improvements, hallelujah!) We're also dealing with some things between extended family and church (respectively) that have kept me distracted, and, admittedly, less prayerful than I should have been. Additionally, the pinnacle of distractions to top this all off has been finding out that we are expecting our fifth baby.
We are surprised and happy but still trying to let it fully sink in that we have now filled our minivan (which we swore we'd never drive) to capacity. Our quiver is quite full (or perhaps we're just fully quivering!) and our "rewards" from God will now outnumber our hands. I'm still trying to process it all. Just as exercise is the only way to fitness, so too is testing the only way to strengthen one's faith and, as such, I'm realizing how content I've been in my weakness. I didn't realize before today that I had a comfort zone to get out of. I think I've actually developed a level of pride (the kind that goeth before a fall) in being a mother of four and holding it all relatively well together. I often get compliments on their behavior in public, I can, if necessary, get a shopping trip done with all of them and I've grown quite accustomed to hearing "Wow, your hands are FULL!" and "How do you do it??" (to which I always just point skyward and answer "God.")
When Eric and I got married I began taking birth control because we didn't want to have kids right away. Within the first couple months I began to hear that nagging, "still, small voice" saying "Trust me." To which I responded with an incredulous "HAHahaha! No." The voice did not relent for a good two weeks and I finally came to my husband and said "Honey, I think God wants me to stop taking birth control." At that point his eyes about popped out of his head as he nearly shot whatever he was drinking through his nose asking "WHAT?!?" I explained "Well, I feel that He's telling me to 1) let my body function the way He intended (especially since birth control always made me feel terrible) 2) that babies, no matter what anyone tries to do, happen only in His time 3) that He won't give us more than we can handle without Him and 4) that we should enjoy each other freely as a form of worship to Him." He pondered this for only a moment, cocked his head to one side, shrugged and said "Ok." I think I threw the remaining pills in the trash that day and have never taken them again in almost nine years.
Ten months later we conceived our first son. When he was almost six months old we were surprised to conceive our second (which I struggled with at first as well until someone, thankfully, put me in my place about it!), the third boy was conceived another six months after number two was born and then we got afraid of each other. People have always asked if we were trying for a girl to which I usually reply "We weren't TRYING for any of them!" We managed to avoid pregnancy for almost three years at that point but were actually thrilled when number four joined the mix. Now, baby number five will join us in May, only six weeks before our eldest turns eight. Five kids in eight years... If you had told me what it really was that I was committing to when I threw those pills away less than a decade ago I probably would have laughed to tears or passed out.
One of my favorite verses to quote to myself is "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline" (2 Tim 1:7). However, at this moment, I'm wrestling with fear... Several aspects of it, in fact, along with a lot of questions in the form of whys, what-ifs and what-nows. I'm also wrestling with guilt/conviction for even feeling afraid and questioning God's sovereignty. Hormones certainly don't help.
The spiritual side of me knows that God will provide for this child no less than He has the others, that He has ordained the timing, and that He is using us for some grand purpose that spans beyond our pitifully limited imaginations. The earthly side of me is volleying all the temporal concerns of money, transportation, health, logistics, psychology and the ridicule we will certainly face. (During my fourth pregnancy I had someone ask me in the grocery line if I was trying to be like the "Octo-mom" and several well-meaning siblings in Christ have contradicted the bible in telling us that we need to be "wise" and "do something about it")
I was listening to a talk the other day on the radio where a woman whose name I cannot remember had made it her prayer (paraphrased) that God's will be done even at her expense. It brought me to tears because I felt the wrench of conviction that I was not (am not) in a place where I could pray something similar with sincerity. I so want to want what God wants but for the first time in a long time, I wish He wasn't taking me there. I want to be leaving a legacy of faith as I walk through this life, I want to be the child of God that leaves Him pumping his fists in the air, beaming with pride (just as I do on days when my eldest comes home from school with a green star in his notebook), I want to live for Him wildly unhindered. Unfortunately, I don't want to sacrifice, I don't want to be refined and I don't want to be persecuted.
Now, though, it's time to decide... which of those desires is greater? In my heart, I know already but at the moment, the wrestling match continues.
Today I'm praying for/about:
Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again
- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him
- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school
- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships
- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld
- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.
Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!