Just when you think you've got the parenting thing figured out ... or your Christian walk down pat ... God throws something your way to shake things up, it seems.
That is how I'm feeling at the moment: shaken up. I'm tandem nursing for the first time, and it is stretching me more than I've been stretched/challenged in my Christian parenting for awhile. I confess my confidence has been shaken.
I'd like to say I'm rising to the occasion gracefully and graciously. However, that would be lying. I'm not dealing as well with it as I'd like. I'm tired and find myself snapping at the children too often. And I'm getting tired of the 2 yo climbing over me every time I sit down to rock the baby; it just grates on my nerves. But then again, so did nursing in the final months of pregnancy.
Last night, I was lying in bed nursing both my babies and suddenly Steve was snuggling up with his head on my shoulder, too. I told him sarcastically that I had needed just one more person touching me. We both laughed when he said that was why he'd snuggled up to us. It was just the lightness I needed at that moment. I sure do love my children ... and my husband.
God is growing me again. I am naturally a very selfish and impatient person. I have struggled with my temper all my life. God has used my family to teach me patience, selfless service, and self-control. I still have alot to learn, however. I am far from perfect!
Every now and then, another of my faults rears its ugly head. Pride and self-satisfaction sets in; then God has to shake things up to humble me and draw me ever closer to Him. And that is where I am now.
It wasn't in my plans to tandem nurse. In my perfectly ordered dream world, my 2 yo would have weaned during the pregnancy like all his siblings before him. But that was not to be ... at least not with any method my husband and I were comfortable using. In my dream world, the baby would not fuss so much and the 2 yo would joyfully share his Mommy with his new little sister. And the house would clean itself ... I could go on and on. *smile*
But that isn't my reality. It isn't God's plan for me at this moment. He's taking me to a new level of service, sacrifice, patience, and self-control. It isn't an easy lesson for me; it is not only for my good, but my children's good. My oldest daughters are so much like me -- and they are watching me. They need to see me overcome these faults we share and see God changing me, so they can have hope for progress in their own Christian walks and future mothering. I am their example.
Thankfully, God's grace is sufficient! Not just in helping me stay calm while the baby is crying, the 2 yo is clinging, the other children are bickering, and someone wants me to get them a snack -- but also in sending moments of sweetness and peace that uplift me and remind me why I'm doing this.
I firmly believe that nursing is what is best for each of my "babies". My 2 yo still needs that comforting connection with me, and I do believe it is helping to ease this transition. And when I'm nursing them both at once, and he reaches out to sweetly pet his little sister's skin or hold her hand ... I am blessed and encouraged to continue to do what we feel is right for our family at this time. It isn't always easy, but it is worth it!
I am thankful God is stretching me. It's painful at times, and embarrassing to me when I trip and fall in the process. But I know it is best for me, and I truly do want to continue to overcome the selfishness, pride, impatience and anger that I struggle with. I want to be more like God, and draw closer to Him.
Thank you, Lord, for this time of struggling and growth. I feel clumsy, ugly, gangly and awkward at the moment, Lord, but I pray You will take me past this stage to a point of gracefulness and beauty again. Amen.
"I can do everything, through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:16-18
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a