She said that she was just being honest.
She had two babies and she didn't think that she wanted to have any more--because she "wanted her body back."
She was "just being honest" and she said what so many others are thinking--
But I wished that she hadn't just left it at that, "honest" though it was.
And I look down at my eight-month-pregnant belly and I touch the stretch marks--all red and glaring and unlovely and think--
There are things more important than stretch marks--(and won't I get my new body in heaven, anyway?)--
And I think of my tiny daughter and the baby growing inside of me--and the stretch marks become a thing of almost-beauty, a thing of surrender, a thing of sacrifice.
My body for the life of another, for the sake of another life brought into the world, a little person, a precious soul.
The stretch marks take on a new significance.
And I hear people talking and they speak my sometimes-thoughts--the thoughts that are selfish and unlovely--the thoughts that need to be yielded and surrendered to the One who purifies all things--
And they say, in essence, that they want to have all of their children in the span of a few years, so that they can "move on" with their lives, with their careers, with pursuing the things that bring them momentary happiness.
Are children just another "nice thing" to tack on to our existence? Or is there something deeper?
Children are eternal beings, eternal souls loaned to us for a season--that we may point them with all of our energies towards the Eternal Father who gave them to us.
And we sometimes think--"oh, let me 'get past' this difficult season with my children"--the time of teething, or of sleepless nights, or cranky days, or times when our children are needy in some way. We wish that they would "hurry up" and be able to talk, or walk, or ride a bike, or go to school.
But I'm learning--and it struck me recently--that every season in our children's lives is a gift.
It struck me last night when I was awake with my daughter from 12:30 am until 3 in the morning-- when she finally fell back to sleep--when I felt overwhelmed and heavy with sleep and forced my weary pregnant body to give just a little more--even though I didn't want to. I found that I could take His strength and trust Him.
Whether it be learning to walk or to talk or to tie shoes or to ride a bicycle for the first time--
Or whether it be the sleepless nights, the teething, the tantrums, the cranky days, the setbacks--these are gifts too--unlikely as it may seem--to teach us to depend more upon our Heavenly Father and to entrust our children to Him, and to His wisdom.
Each day is a gift, an opportunity to depend upon the Lord in whatever set of circumstances that He hands us with our children.
And sometimes it is really hard, and we feel like we are "losing it," and we just want the day to be over, for the turmoil to stop.
But He gives more grace in those situations, in whatever form it may take . . . He gives us grace, if we will depend on Him and surrender.
I want my body back . . .
Or my career back . . .
Or my freedom back . . .
Or my time back.
But it isn't mine---
Sometimes I forget that--
It belongs to Him--it is "mine" only to surrender, to serve, and to yield.
Children can be very good teachers . . .
So I yield to Him--
My body--just as Jesus did, and bore the scars of submission and sacrifice.
My career--because my "work is to do His will," in whatever form that may take as He directs my steps.
My freedom--because in Him only is my soul truly free--not in doing what I "want" or what the world says that I should want or deserve.
My time--because "my times are in His hands."
Children aren't a thing to "get through," but rather to embrace, to cherish, to love, to raise up in the fear and submission of God.
And sometimes it is hard--but ultimately, worth it.
And the blessing rests upon those who will surrender.
My body, my freedom, my time, my plans . . . and hand them over to Him--the One who is all-wise.
That the seed that is buried will yield its fruit in due time--to the joy and blessing of our eternal hearts.
Amalia Lindegren [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (little girl)
Henri-Edmond Cross [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (mother with baby painting)
By William H. Majoros (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (robin)
You might find me on these link-ups:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every Season, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul Survival, Good Morning Mondays