So there's this thing that's just been urking me lately and I just can't get off it. And so maybe you feel the same way but find it hard to voice something about it. As many of you know I'm pregnant with my third, putting this one 19 months apart from the second...and my second is 14 months a part from the first. So if you ran into as many friendly people as I did when I was pregnant with my first I'm sure you heard things like,
"wow....your life is about to change. are you ready?" (and not with positive notion)
"This your first? ....oh I can tell..." (implying I'm over-excited)
"Wait to see what children are really like..."
"...you think you can't sleep now...just wait."
Then when I thought the kind advice would be no more once pregnant with baby number two, I was assured by many how often my girls would fight and hate each other growing up...and don't forget the "now your really gonna know motherhood" as if motherhood would take away my worth, my meaning, my life.
Now that I'm pregnant with the third, with little room for breathing, I think a lot of people just don't know what to say, or maybe they realize their thoughts are probably a little too pessimistic for my digestion. My thought is probably the latter.
But what am I trying to say with all this? That a majority of people think children are a burden and that the life change children bring is crippling and binding. No doubt, I don't think anyone would ever say that... but they really don't have to. Because in a sorts, they kind of already have, through all the negative synergy that comes from people when they talk about children.
But I'm here to tell you and to tell the world, my children have not bound me; they have liberated me! It's true. Because of them I have more freedom than ever. Here are just a few ways that they have helped me do so:
1. Spiritual Maturity
I have spiritual grown more in the past two years than I have in all the time I have been a believer. God has used my children numerous ways to teach and lead me to where He wants me to be. And, certainly God has used them to rid me of what I want (flesh) and to choose to walk in the Spirit, for the fruit of the spirit is "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal 5) And my children push me to be the women God has called me to be.
2. Selflessness - IT's NOT ALL ABOUT ME! It never was suppose to be. For some reason we feel like we have this entitlement to do what we want until we have kids. That's so unbiblical that its a joke to me now. But, hey, I thought the same way and its how God has dealt with my own selfishness. But just like any flesh-like desire, selfishness is listed right along with all the others as a sin. They've taught me to die to myself and choose that which is better.
3. Taught me how to spiritual war in prayer.
This one is huge for me. They've taught me so much about intercession. Do you ever find yourself wanting to pray but don't know what to pray about? Well have some kids, and you'll never run out of things to pray. I think about my friend, Kristy Bittle, who's son has been battling cancer. i can guarantee she has learned a whole lot on what it means to truly war in prayer. And I'm sure she has a few things to say about what she has learned about intercession through the life of her son.
4. Taught me how to be free.
When I wrote this I thought of the first time I saw Abigail dancing before the Lord during a 24 hour worship gathering we were facilitating. I remember just watching her and admiring her for her unhindered dance. No one else was dancing, but she didn't care. i don't even think she really noticed. But how often does it take me to let go and be free to obey God. And that's what true freedom is, the freedom to obey God. So, instead of caring what others are doing or thinking, I can just let go, like my two year old daughter does, and be in radically in love with Jesus.
5. To hear the voice of God.
Wow, if I don't feel the need to hear God for myself, my children certainly put me in a position where I need to be listening. All too often my ideas, my formulas and reactions lead to chaos and failure. But God has used my children to fine tune my hearing because all the more I need to be wise and discerning of what each child's needs are. I recognize that I have been given a gift to steward their heart, but only for a short time. I am honored that God has entrusted me to lead and shepherd His own children. My desire has always been that they would be free spirits obedient to God, but what does that look like? And the only way of knowing is to ask God Himself.
6. To be purposeful in my day.
If there's anything children do best on it's usually a routine. But my life is anything but scheduled. And with the many ventures of our exciting life, the same everyday schedule just doesn't work for us, BUT I've learned how to stick to a routine even if the day changes alittle bit. And I've never, ever, ever....did I say never?...and I mean it....never was a scheduled person in my life before. And you know what? It was pretty stressful, but I had no idea it was because of my time management that i was stressed. Not only that, but because of my children teaching me this practical life skill I also purpose myself in other areas during my day....like quiet time with the Lord, reading my Word, cooking and cleaning,etc. And once children are in the picture, you don't want a day without those goods....so i purpose myself to not miss out.
7. I found a voice.
This is the last one I'm putting and i find it of GREAT value. I use to be a very "gray" person. I rode the fence on a lot of issues and I tried hard to stay away from confrontation or conflict. HA! I'm sure some are smiling now, because if you've met me in the last couple years you know I'm not at all like that. in fact, I've probably got an opinion about...well, almost everything. But my children forced me to have an opinion. And after I got one....you know what I found? God's got an opinion too. Yeah, He's got thoughts.....and a lot of them at that. My children helped me hear God, and find the freedom to share what i feel those things are.
Well there you have it friends. So if anyone tries to give you some "thoughtful" advice on your current children status quoto....feel free to forward them here ;^D
or maybe you can just tell them yourself on how your children have liberated you...