A week with one girlfriend, no husbands, and 7 children (under six) hardly seemed like a vacation when we planned last week's trip, especially when Number 3 still wakes up from night terrors, and Number 4 isn't yet sleeping through the night. Also, have I mentioned that Number 3 has been obsessed with his daddy since the arrival of Number 4? My expectations: exhaustion, chaos, disobedience from the kids, lots of crying, and a "make the best of it" kind of trip...
And yet, while Troy was at Shepherd's Conference the whole week, refueling for the call on his life, the kids and I had an unexpected reprieve that not only knit our hearts together, but recharged my batteries as a wife and mother. As the saying goes: Sometimes when you are squeezed, you find what you are really made of.
Of course it was challenging to take all the kids to the San Diego zoo by ourselves...and to experience IKEA (oh my goodness, how I could live there!) for the first time with multiple potty breaks and diaper changes. And, yes, the kiddos woke several times a night and got up early each morning. There were the inevitable injuries and accidents. Number 1 still did some school on the road. And as two moms committed to staying consistent with discipline, there was much heart and bottom instruction as well every day. Despite the challenges and demands, I came away with something that made all this worthwhile: I fell in love with each of my kids all over again.
Here are some mini-revelations:
Number 1 is a kind and compassionate young man who leads by putting himself last.
Number 2 is tender and sweet, slow to anger, quick to forgive.
Number 3 is not really the difficult child I make him out to be...he just needs a little one-on-one time with mom...and correction via Proverbs 15:1. He is also a GREAT little singer...oh, is he sweet when he belts out track 21.
Number 4 is growing up too fast...I must savor every last morsel of his delightful coo-ing and giggling.
Meditating and prioritizing a rich walk with the Lord + instruction rather than reaction = a Psalm 127 perspective on being a parent.
And as my girlfriend and I reflected on God's goodness and grace imparted to us this last week, we came to a final conclusion: Thus is God's grace EVERY day.