Sometimes life seems difficult, unfair, distressing, uncomfortable... I have found in those times the only way out is to take on an attitude of thanksgiving. It is really hard at first to count your blessings when all you can see is the "yuck" around you.
Having our second baby has been pretty rough. All of my insecurities about being a good parent and basically not killing anyone in the process have risen to the surface. Add to that sleeplessness and dropping hormones and let's just say I've been better! But through it all I am reminded to just be grateful. Grateful that I have bottoms to clean and noses to wipe. Grateful for a toddler, let alone a time out spot. Grateful to have a newborn who wakes me up at night. Grateful for a husband without whom I would be totally lost and an even bigger mess. Grateful for a family who loves me and a support system of family members and friends who love and take care of me.
Philipians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I used to focus on verse 7. The peace of God is something we all want. But then I realized the command associated with the promise and I began to not only quote this passage but experience it.
Anxiety is a big foe. It can be overwhelming and all-consuming. But God is bigger. When I start thanking Him for the wonderful blessings in my life and putting Him on the throne where He belongs, well, my problems don't seem so big. I still have to live here and deal with reality, but I do it knowing that my Papa will take care of me and see me through. Somehow it works every time.
Watching Zachary the last few days has reminded me how amazing God is. It's hard to deny the intelligence and creativity it takes to create something so intricate and perfect. I think the first thing I noticed when my babies came out is that it seems literally impossible that this entire little person fit inside of me! And then to watch how they function so perfectly and begin even from the first day to express who they are...it's mind blowing!
I see such striking differences in my boys and it's only been 6 days! Jeremiah was alert and curious from the moment he was born. The first time he was placed on my chest to nurse he went for it with gusto. To this day if his food is not ready when he is it's a very bad thing. Zachary was placed on my chest Tuesday morning after a quick rinse and he immediately fell asleep! for a whole hour! When he nurses he takes his time and I struggle to keep him awake throughout. He's the definition of a sleepy head. I can imagine he'll be one of those kids who falls asleep in his spaghetti! Basically anything that I could possibly have noticed about Zachy's personality and temperament in the last few days is pretty much exactly opposite of Jeremiah's. The funny thing is when Zachary came out Josh said, "He looks exactly like Jeremiah! He's beautiful!"
How fearfully and wonderfully they are each made. Such a mystery. God is so infinitely creative that to give me two boys, cut from the same cloth yet completely different, is like nothing to Him, but He takes care to do it so perfectly. I love that about Him. His tenderness, care, creativity, and delight are constantly expressed in His creation. What an amazing Father. What an awesome God!
Today, once again, our lives will change forever. In just about three hours we will have a new addition to our family. A new little life to tend and train. A new little temperament to love and discipline. We knew when we had Jeremiah that life would never be the same, but how much different will it be now? How much more love and chaos?
I'm so grateful for a God who walks with us through the overwhelming things of life...for family and friends who never cease to support and pour out unconditional love...for a husband who is most definitely the best thing to ever happen to me, not to mention the most amazing man I know...for pastors who care enough to call and pray us through our fears.
I can't begin to describe the mix of emotions and thought processes that have overtaken me in the last 24 hours. Excitement swings to anxiety and back to elation again. Then FEAR! Then get-this-kid-out-of-me! And on and on...
I know it will be great. I know he'll be a wonderful blessing. I know God has greater things in store than I could ever comprehend, and more love than I thought I could know. So... I'll put on my brave face and ball my eyes out later safe in the presence of my big, strong Papa God, whose loving embrace knows no end.