I've had a really, really good day with my children. Jubilee's birth really changed me. Her birth (and events after) gave me a huge amount of patience, maybe because, after all of that, everything else seems like no big deal. It's an amazing gift because, um, yeah- I really struggled with patience prior to her birth. That's been one of my long-standing prayers: Lord, grant me patience!
I've come to really enjoy the moments, even the moments which would normally grate on my nerves. I guess you could say that I've come to accept the chaos and even appreciate it. It's definitely not that my household is calm and serene, that's for sure! I feel like, and this is going to sound weird (because it sounds weird to me) that I just see the beauty in everything now. My heart is almost always overflowing with joy. I can't explain it, but life is so precious. God keeps using my daughters in miraculous ways to concrete that within me. I see the gifts now, the blessings big and small. Over the years, God has changed my perspective on so many things— money, marriage, motherhood— and He continues to teach and grow me in ways that, yes, can be painful but are so worth it.
I believe we learn far more from the process of raising children than our children learn from us. Children have a way of mirroring our flaws— showing us where we are most vulnerable—and God desires to use our children to bring to light our weaknesses so we can be mended. I know I spend a lot of time examining myself, beating myself up for the shoulda coulda wouldas of motherhood. It's hard not to because I see my shortcomings so clearly. My faults seem to glare back at me when I look in the figurative mirror. I have to remind myself that God is in the process of perfecting me, refining me. I don't have to beat myself up, I just need to surrender it all to Him, knowing He's working it out. I just keep praying for God to ice over those shortcomings with a thick layer of grace (for my children's sake)!
Thing is, Evangeline doesn't go to bed thinking about all her mistakes and bloopers. She goes to sleep safe and secure in the love of her parents and wakes knowing we'll be there to hug and kiss on her, nourish and guide her, play and love on her. Maybe that's why the bible tells us to be as little children. She doesn't ever doubt that we love her. Whenever she's hurt or sad, she runs to us. Whenever she's happy, she seeks us out to share her smile. Child-like faith and trust.
Children are amazing. I mean, they are so trusting and so forgiving. There have been times when I've had to sit down with the kids and say, "Look, I failed you. I made some mistakes. I'm sorry, and I'm going to do things differently." Sometimes we've had to make rule changes because we have realized our approach was all wrong, or we were allowing something we shouldn't. Sometimes we've had to apologize for being short with a child or breaking a promise. I hope by being honest with them, they'll learn it's okay to admit you were wrong, that apologies(repentance) are important and healing, and everyone makes mistakes.
Each of my children are different and unique. It's not always easy pouring my life into theirs; it's exhausting, to be honest. Motherhood is not for sissies, that's for sure! As soon as I get one part of parenting figured out, the critters enter another phase that seems like foreign territory to me. I don't have many families I can look to and say, "Yep, that's how I want to parent," or "That's what I desire for my family." I'm so glad Brandon and I don't have to go it alone though. The Lord has been good to guide us through this journey!