After Philip was born, I did not handle life very well. As many of you know, he was not exactly planned. One does not usually think, "well now that our first child is four-months-old, it is probably time to have another." But God had a better plan in mind. A plan to put me through another ridiculously difficult pregnancy and follow it up with a big, bad case of the post-partums, all to teach me a little something about who is really in control.
For months after Philip's arrival, I cried...a lot. I ended most days knowing that I yelled more than I played or comforted. And ending a day with the knowledge that you yelled at a newborn and a 14-month-old does not leave a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart. I hated breast-feeding. I hated being touched-out. I hated holding my kids. I hated me a lot. I thought I was failing as a mother and a wife. And frankly, I was. I had so many balls in the air. And the whole world felt like it was crashing down on me. Finally, something snapped. I was raging at everything, and I finally raged at God that he gave me these kids, why couldn't he help take care of them! And you know that still small voice? The one that comes after the wind and shaking and fire? Well, it really, really does. And man, something so small and still can sure slap your face.
I realized the truth in what I had said. God GAVE me these kids. I may have made them (well, Luke helped some, but I say he got off easy in the long run), but God MADE them. And then, unbelievably, he entrusted them to me. He TRUSTED me. But with that came the burden of having to really trust Him. So I laid those kids down at the foot of the throne (not literally, as I have never been to Heaven) and I told Him, "Lord, I can't do this. But since you have decided I need to, I had better start doing a better job. I'm going to need a lot of help. I need a lot of patience, and I will need more perserverance. Since these beautiful creatures aren't really mine, I am going to need a lot of help to take care of them to Your standard. And I cannot do that alone."
And I swear, God said "Okay." And he sounded like James Earl Jones.
And that day, I discovered the amazing truth about Christianity. If you really start to practice it, there's this amazing return. That return is a simple promise...Life, and life more abundantly. And if God is Love and Christ is God and I am a little Christ, then my life had better be about Love. And if I love the Lord then I get love back in spades. Love to give out. Love to spread around. Abundant Love. Amazing. Awesome in the true sense of the word. I have now become a servant of Christ. A real one, I think. Because I feel like I get it. I feel like something clicked. I look at my kids and I think that God has given me wonderful gifts, and now I gotta start giving some back. Easy. Because if you are in it, really, really in it, you have abundance, and as with any excess we are commanded to give it back. Share it with those who need it. And I finally think I can.
So tonight we made a fort in the living room. Furniture pushed back, dining room chairs brought in, king-sized sheets spread over everything, and we crawled in and out and pulled the sheets down on ourselves and laughed. Fort Roeschley. We have hardwood floors, so everyone's knees and feet were dirty from crawling, and it's summer and you wear sandals and your feet get dirty. And after we collapsed Fort Roeschley the final time, I took Helen to dress her for bed. We went into the bathroom and sat one the edge of the tub. She was very still in my lap, tired from playing. Her little back resting against me. And I washed her feet. And she didn't laugh and squirm like she normally would. She just sat. And we breathed deep. This is servanthood. This is motherhood. This is life.