My Heart on Number Four

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 10 Comments A+ a-

2010 was supposed to be a break for my body; the first year since 2004 that I haven’t been pregnant or breastfeeding. I was looking forward to it, hoping to whip this body into shape.

Jon was ready for the vasectomy, even asking for it, but I wasn’t ready for the permanency of that decision. I asked for one year, this year, before a decision was made. I wanted this year to be a time of pray and a time of reflection. My prayer was a simple one, that God would work on either my heart or Jon’s heart. That no matter the decision, we’d be in agreement on the decision for our family.

The reflections were going to be more personal, more brutal, and would demand more honesty. I wanted to get to the root of why I wanted a fourth, searching my heart for the truth between not feeling “done” and just loving pregnancy and infanthood. I wanted to ask the hard questions, such as could I really devote the time and attention I wanted to each child? Would we be able to cultivate and encourage each child’s talents to the extent that we desired? Was it fair to add a fourth to divide what was already unequal one-on-one time with each child? Could we logically afford to add a fourth? And the list goes on.

I have friends that are currently asking themselves these very questions and/or have already asked these questions of their family. I’m a bit envious that they get/got to take the time to ask these questions and wait for the answers they were seeking before a decision is/was made.

I wish I’d gotten to seek my heart for those answers first. But as time goes on, I’m receiving answers of a different kind.

First of all, Jon and I are aware that having four children is six years is going to be hard, we’re going to be in the “thick of it” as my mom likes to remind me. We’re going to be balancing kindergarten and preschool, juggling dance lessons, sports practices, and Awanas, chasing after an independent, sassy toddler while waking to the nightly cries of a newborn. These are going to be hard years and we’ll basically be in survival mode. I don’t anticipate breathing room until all four are officially potty trained.

But when I look years ahead to birthdays, holidays, graduations, and weddings, I can’t help but think of the richness we’ll have around our table. With fingers crossed and with much prayer, I think of close, deep relationships between siblings and parents. My prayer is that my children will feel as blessed by their relationships, as my sisters and I feel about each other. I can only imagine that one day I’ll look around my family and thank the Lord for the blessings He’s given to us.

Secondly, I’ve become certain of one thing. I am going to fail at being a mother of four. All the answers I was looking for during my reflections would have been a resounding no. I absolutely will not be able to be the kind of mother I want to be. At least, not on my own. There is only one way I will be successful at this mothering thing and that is through the grace and mercy of Him.

When Hudson is running right, Devyn is skipping left, Reagan is taking advantage of my distracted attention, and I want to rip out my hair, He will step in and guide my actions and responses. He has most certainly whispered in my ear, “When you are overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel, turn to me, child, I will give you the patience to follow through. When disobedience is common and temperaments are rising, I will give you the wisdom you seek. When you feel sapped of energy or motivation, I will give you the strength and energy you desire.” I can do nothing without Him, apart from Him, I am destined to fail. But with Him, and through Him, I’ll be able to be the kind of mother my children, all four of them, need.

For a long time I have questioned God’s sanity and His plan for my life, wondering how on earth He thought I’d be able to handle four children. But then I realized that it’s not because of confidence in my parenting skills that am I having another, it’s because He is giving me another reason to turn to Him for the things I need.

Now if only I can be reminded of this post in the wee hours of a midnight feeding…

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

10 comments

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Sarah
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10:41 PM delete

smiling... I really hope tomorrow night works out;). Let me know. Love you!
Sarah

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jenn
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8:21 AM delete

i love how transparent you are jenn!!!
god knows your heart and hears your prayers!!

keep trusting HIM!!!

i am praying that these next few years are peaceful and enjoyable!!

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Amy Silver
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8:34 AM delete

I admire both of you. This will (no doubt) be trying.. but you are right.. SO rewarding! My parents had 7 children. 5 within 6 years, the 6 and 7th were "suprises"! I cannot imagine my life any different. The closeness, the adventures, the craziness! It was such a wonderful experience and I know yours will be the same :)

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Katie
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9:09 AM delete

AMEN! Love it!

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Christine
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10:03 AM delete

Beautiful post. So true too.

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Dana Marie
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11:22 AM delete

really well written Jenn... I always appreciate your honesty with these things because (even with just two) I read your thoughts and wonder how you knew mine... :)

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Dareth
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12:49 PM delete

Beautiful post, Jenn.
And a beautiful family, indeed.

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Paula
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5:42 PM delete

It will be wonderful and the beautiful thing is God does sustain us. In the midst sometimes it seems impossible but the reflection time after wards we see Him there the whole time. You will be great!!

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MamaBear
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6:04 PM delete

Thanks for sharing this Jenn - you know my heart on the matter and I am grateful for your insight and wisdom to see the silver lining in the craziness of the early years.

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Wendy
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3:13 PM delete

I just ♥ you, Jenn!
Thanks for always sharing your heart!!

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