We have thankfully reached 39 weeks and all is well with bump. A gift for which I am truly thankful and humbled by. But this week is not the week I had imagined. It is not the week that makes pinterest, or for glowing happy pictures and a life altogether with photos to boost my confidence and identity. I am able to write because Mark is home full time at the moment, studies have been laid aside as we journey through the week that is rather than the week I had beautifully created in my mind.
Back in August when energy levels where high, we had just had a lovely holiday in Scotland, the boys had wonderful adventures on boats and at the beach and ‘big brothers’ to play with. Our homeschool adventure lay ahead of us and I had lots of creative plans printed, laminated and filed away for doing this term. And into the schedule for the term I had penciled in these next two weeks as time off lessons and for us to just have fun as we waited for baby to arrive. I was going to have time to just play with the boys and enjoy my time with them in this final stretch of us being just us.
I forget how tired end of pregnancy is and had not known what it is like with two active boys on the go but we were going to have fun. I forgot that insomnia becomes my friend in these final weeks of pregnancy. Life was still that ideal out there. The boys had come early so I was geared for a prompt arrival of this one, especially as at 34 weeks she had made an attempt at showing up and false labour has been my companion for the past 2 weeks on a daily basis. None of this reality had registered my brain, my ideals, my forward planning aside from taking two weeks off being a good idea. But those two weeks were to be fillled with fun activities, playground trips, craft projects and lots of snuggles and reading on the couch.
I was excited by all that God was doing in our family, of how my faith would be all that I needed day to day to be calm, cheerful, patient and together. That God’s strength is sufficent with joyful grace and smiles all around. That this final phase of being a family of four and a bump was going to be filled with warmth and cheer. But a cold came to visit and left its mark. I have much to be thankful for, our boys are for the main part very healthy robust boys. Tonsillitis has been the main blot on eldest’s health and croup for the youngest. And a cold was guarenteed to bring about those results every time. Surgery for the eldest in the summer has stopped tonsillitis and youngest seems to finally be growing out of his croup which required nightly walks (frequently more than once a night, patiently undertaken by Mark in all sorts of weather). But colds still hit hard, as eldest gets bad sinus issues which we have been told cannot be dealt with till he is 7 and his eyes half shut with the puffiness and he finds wearing his glasses unbearable and youngest still gets a hideous cough and sleep is non existent for a good 72 hour stretch. This was not my plan, this was not my way. But it has happened and in it God is still faithful, He is still God and His mercy and strength are sufficent. Maybe not to do all the things I had planned that would make me look like a great mum in some photo shot with her children but to keep this little one within me safe and growing, to give lots of cuddles, to dent my pride and receive love and care in unending measure from Mark who wipes away the hormonal over flow of tears I have. His strength is sufficent. I need to trust Him and His strength in my being this day.
There is much in the way of parenting and praying that can be done from our bed. There are many books to read and cuddles to be had with small boys on a bed and admin and planning that can happen. There are wonderful aromas that can I can soak in as wafts of baking and cooking weave their way up the stairs. There are tears and tantrums that break my sleep as they do wind their way up the stairs and there are small boys to love through their grotty colds and the confusion of uncertainty of a baby coming any day.
This week may not see me with the spring in my step I had planned on having but I can have a spring in my attitude to all that this week has unfolded and brought with it. I can claim that God’s strength is sufficent for the day and life out of that strength or I can say it with my lips but disown it with my actions. Sadly too much of this week has been the later, but God has not given up on me. He is patient and long suffereing and thankfully He is able to parent with grace and tenderness without needing to slumber or sleep. (that is a whole other post!)
I will finish with the words of Isaiah (43:1-7) and the reminder that this God is my God today, who created and formed me for His glory, called me by name, redeemed me, is with me, I am precious and honoured in His sight, loves me. if I wonder why I am who I am, where my identity lies, it is not in being a put together mum all of the time, or in some ideal of being a wife. I am created by God for His glory and that yes is worked out it the relationships He has blessed me with but I am created for His glory and so this evening I will not simply say that His strength is sufficent, I will act on it and trust His word, that He may be glorified, possibly by no one else than Himself in my obedience to His word. But I will walk through the rest of today and then again I will come back to these words tomorrow and seek to do so again, to bring glory to Him in the places He has called me to be and with the people He has surrounded me with.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honoured, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.