Perhaps if you don't have many children you will not relate to what I am about to say. Goodness knows if I hadn't had more than four I would have never known. It isn't about the number of children...in my case it just took having the fifth child to discover it. What is it? The strong-willed child...the stubborn child...the pain in the neck child...whom you love...but whom pushes you every day until you feel you just may jump. My sweet little Gannon is FULL of life. I mean FULL! In fact, I am pretty sure he sucks some of my life out of me and into him simply upon taking his first breath of the day...at 6am. Not every day...but most days I see his adorable smiling face sometime before 7am...which is wrong on so many levels but not the least of which is the fact that I am nowhere near ready to deal with him until say, oh...8am....or noon.
Here's the thing. I know God brought Gannon to me to refine me. And I hate it. Yep. I hate it. I mean, I love Gannon. I just don't appreciate the DAILY, CONSTANT pounding to my character that it takes to raise him. Most days I feel he definitely beats me to the finish line and soundly does his victory dance all over my face. How is that for a word picture? But that is how I feel...beat down. Starting my day with him so early and him taking a pitifully short nap now means by 8pm...I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and declare the day done. This isn't exactly healthy for my marriage. I mean, Keith would like to find more than a bedraggled shell of a woman when he gets home. Thankfully he extends grace upon grace for me there. And thankfully I am involved in two Bible studies right now that get me out of the house twice a week. (One of those was a four week study that is ending on Wednesday lest you think I double book myself on a regular occasion. Far from it. The other study is ongoing and I am so thankful for it. Because if I don't have a reason on the books to escape it doesn't happen. But I digress....)
I share this with you to say this...I am struggling. Struggling to have a deep thought. Struggling to have energy or discipline. Struggling to have anything to say to anyone...let alone the Lord. I mean, I feel tapped out. Nothing to offer. And I feel defeated. And that is not to say it is all this child's fault. Of course not. Throw in five other kids...one of whom is a one year old...need I say more?...and there are LOTS of reasons I have lost my marbles! I push forward. I get up each morning and exercise. I stay involved in studying the Bible. I am loving our church. My marriage is wonderful. But every day finds me empty. Perhaps that is good? Empty of myself? Room for the Lord to fill me up? Am I asking Him to fill me up? I guess I need to arise earlier than normal (ugh...like 5:30ish) to beg His mercies and grace for the day ahead. I have MANY more days ahead with this child...I don't think this is the terrible threes...I mean, he was a terrible one and a terrible two...I have a feeling the terrible fours are ahead. I don't mean to label him with doom it's just that given his personality and the way he interacts with his siblings...there ain't no sign of relief ahead. And I have to navigate the one year old and two year old waters that are here and ahead and believe me when I tell you...that alone can push me to the edge. SO more time spent on my face pleading for supernatural energy and grace is probably not too much to aim for. And in the mean time...there is life to be lived. And I'd like to stop wishing it away. I'd like to stop be discontented with the present. I'd like to finish each day spent...but not weary. And if any of that is going to happen...God is going to have to show up. And I am going to have to beg Him to. Not that He needs begging...just that my desperation is to that point. Parenting is so hard. It has been since we had our first son. Seriously. It was so hard with just one. And it is so hard now. And believe me...the reality that we could have had our "proverbial" 2.5 children and we'd be avoiding this conversation altogether is not lost on me. But lest you throw that thought my way and get shot the "I might kill you" look...let me say this...the answer to the problems we have in life is NOT wishing we'd done it differently. Because especially in this area...God had all the say. He wanted these boys. I obeyed. It really is that simple. You can mingle in all of your arguments for birth control and such elsewhere but for us...this was obedience. And with the obedience has come WORK. We are constantly shaped and molded and refined and the sludge keeps surfacing. God intended this. So it does me NO GOOD to say, "If only I had less kids, if only I didn't homeschool, if only we weren't missionary staff, if only _____." No matter what life looked like...it'd be HARD. We can't be more like Jesus on the easy path. Narrow is the way which leads to life. I want life. So I get the hard stuff. Now Lord, could You just breathe back into my spirit more of Yours? Thanks...I needed that!