I'll be really honest with you-- I really really really love age 5. Like, bottle up and keep for ever love. Five has brought a hunger for knowledge, a deepening love of sisters, a new curiosity and a new understanding. We play card games. Play basketball. Sound out words. Pray. I have loved every age, but there's something really incredible about this stage. And to then watch Cate watch and imitate her big brother.. she's not far behind in her learning and doing. Nora is in the into-everything/never-sit-still stage (we make busy toddlers. just a fact of life.) and it's hard... but she's different than her siblings were. While busy and curious, she doesn't have that same strongwilled-ness about her. There is an ease, relatively speaking, to the hardness.
I think it's part recognizing that our kids really are growing up and part enduring the miscarriage this summer, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed being a mama more. I don't think I've ever treasured my kids more. I know that I have never given more thanks for each of their lives, never cherished this gift of being mama more. Truthfully, and sadly, I think in ways I have taken it for granted. Taken for granted the ease in which we've gotten pregnant. The healthy babies. The sleeping newborns. The beautiful children. I knew they were gifts straight from the Lord and I loved them and cherished them, no doubt, but there's a difference. In the wake of losing a baby and not being pregnant and seeing the lack of control that I really do have, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for that which we've been given. Grace. Gifts unmerited, these children who call me mama. I am so grateful for the privilege I've been given and if this is it... this is more than enough, you know?
I mean that with all of my heart--but it's been an up and down struggle. There are days when I can say that only because I'm holding fast to the truth that my God is sovereign and good despite circumstances, not because it's what I feel. Some days my heart so badly aches for the baby that would be joining our family in ten weeks and it's ugly and messy and I could easily be consumed with the desire for another. But if I've learned anything the last three years, it's that my God IS faithful. He is constant when nothing else makes sense. That Jesus really is enough-- no matter what I'm facing or what I have or what I don't have.. He. Is. Enough. I would love to have another baby some day, but should these three be what the Lord gives us... oh, how blessed am I? The Lord has been so good to me. SO good to me.
I hesitated to ever write about any of this for fear of coming off as a spoiled brat, an ungrateful mom, more more more, you know? I know and have heard so many stories of those who try for years to get pregnant, who would do anything for just one. Or those who would love a second and it isn't happening. Or the one who has suffered loss after loss after loss. I know that it's a miracle to have the three that I do... please hear my heart in this. The one we lost this summer? That was a baby like Corban and Cate and Nora were, you know? From the moment that plus sign showed up, my heart anticipated January 20th. As my belly swelled, so did my heart. Yet again, the Lord enlarged the capacity of my heart to love another with all I have, and I was already there. To find out after six weeks of praying and dreaming and naming that that reality was gone... it was heartbreaking. I don't know where I'm going with this, but I wanted to write tonight. To be real about where I'm at. I know that I'm not alone in this and it took someone else being courageous enough to share through the loss of her fourth baby to encourage me and in a sense validate my heartache, to know that it was okay for me to hurt for our baby.
If I could say anything to you... you who is enduring or hoping or aching tonight... I want you to know that it's okay for you to hurt. To have loved. To be devastated by the 'what would have beens'. And in the same breath, you need to know that Jesus WILL meet you there. He shows up in those dark places. You are not too much. Your hurt is not too much. Your heartbreak... it's not too much. He is enough. I'm praying for you who know what I'm saying all too well... that you will experience the truth found in psalm 34-- that He is near to the brokenhearted, that you would hold fast to lamentations 3:22.. that because of His great love we are not consumed, that His compassions never fail and that they are new every morning. He IS faithful, and I'm praying you find rest in that tonight. He is yesterday, today, forever the same. He is not moved or changed by your circumstances. He is Faithful and True, and He loves you deeply.
There is much to be thankful for, my friends.