Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Our Love Six Times

Amen. Children are gift, the ultimate gift. When I wrote in my last post about how my husband's response to another girl and his goodness through this pregnancy has surprised me, it is really seeing that he and I are on the same page. This little one is a gift!




 Male or female! 

I am slightly embarrassed to admit I thought there was more of an agenda.  I knew Justin wanted our son to have a brother, he grew up with a brother. I had this idea that God would answer this prayer. Even as I learn about trusting God's plan, I still have the boldness of offering to him ideas on what would be best.

His ways are best. 




His ways are true. 

God was still so gentle because here we are with our baby girl, in what has been, praise Him, a very healthy pregnancy. 

I was unsure if I wanted to find out the sex of our baby, but I was having a hard time connecting. I think that as you have a busy full home, at least for me, I would often times not even realize I was growing someone until that someone would wriggle around in my belly. Oh yes, there you are! And then on to making pb&js! Obviously, with the fact that I blog, I also journal, and so to write to a daughter now in my journal is a crucial part of connecting with baby.

Yes.



And so, I was having anxiety the day before the "finding out" ultrasound and at dinner the children had already left the table and Justin put things very bluntly when I expressed my anxiety to him.

He said:

"We really didn't plan this one and we really didn't try to avoid this one either. I think things just happened and we were just being married, and so we are now blessed to be having a child."




I know. He really does make me want to be a better person. 

And it really is that straightforward, we were just being married.

Why has society made it more complicated than this? 




We are married so we...naturally...have children!

Couples struggle with infertility and finally conceive a child and people are overjoyed. A couple decides to finally have a baby after they have traveled or finished school and everyone nods in agreement. A couple rounds out their family when they have a baby boy after their first is a girl..perfect, two of each! A couple like us has a sixth child and they scratch their heads.



Ha! Except that I think people have lumped us more in the "oh they just have a big family" category now and we honestly don't get as many surprised looks anymore!

But there are always questions...and that's ok. Why so many children? Oh are you TRYING for another boy? Were you not being careful? Do you even know how expensive children are? And then the most irritating and rude one to say to a beautiful family with amazing children...you know what causes that right?

All of these questions boggle me and I find THEY are really making it much more complicated than it really is.

It is very simple folks, WE are just being married.



Justin and I have a vocation to marriage. Above careers and lifestyles and higher education and all of the milestone markers of our privileged first world society, we are first called to be married. For Justin and I, we are seeing with this big family thing that all our money is really going into feeding, clothing, keeping healthy and educating our littles...and they are really the BEST reasons to be spending money!

                                             
So in this call to marriage is this beautiful design: married love is meant to create.

Cormac Burke says it is the very nature of love.

"Love is creative. God's love (if we may put it this way) 'drove' Him to create. Man's love, made in the image of God's, is also meant to create. If it deliberately does not do so, it frustrates itself. A couple truly in love want to do things together; if possible, they want to do something "original" together"

"Nothing is more original to a couple in love than their child: the image and fruit of their love and their union. That is why 'the marital thing' is to have children;



and other things, as substitues, do not satisfy conjugal love."

My dear friend has given my husband and I a new expression, that I love very much. I used it in my husband's last birthday card...

"I love you and I love that we have our love six times."

This is what we do that is original together. We have something original of us times six.

Being the day after St Valentine's Day, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the all the original "you me" versions from your creative marriage toddling around your home.

Amen to real romance.



God Bless xxoo



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Overcoming Certain Limits

Hello! We have had a whirl wind of a week, which included finding out that our sixth child, who will be here mid June, is a daughter.

Our fifth daughter!

I'm still walking around in a daze of utter bewilderment...am I really going to be the mother of five daughters? Am I really going to have my very own version of the Bennett family (plus a son!)?



Yes! So that is our news! We are expecting.

We are so happy!

But oh...yes yes yes...

Oh, I would be lying to you if I didn't admit how I was really wrestling in September..and March, April, May, June, July..about having another child.

As my youngest was getting older, as my body was recovering, as my sister welcomed a son, as life went on and as I lived this life with Justin, I thought about the possibility of this little one.

I was reading some pretty powerful words from Cormac Burke's Covenanted Happiness and I was wondering if Justin and I might just have one more child.


I was wondering about one more as my dear friend told us in late August while on a visit that she was expecting and my neighbor and bestie was growing another little one.

I took these things in. I took words in and the faces of my children in and I was very aware of this gradual expansion of what I thought was my limit. A limit I had imposed on my own life, was being tested by a distant quiet...yet very constant..call.

At times I was all out wrestling in a very "must get on top" or "must have control of things" way. I have my own agenda of starting an atrium, wanting to get some skiing in this winter, wanting to reach a certain weight goal, etc. I can be a slave to wanting to look "together" and wanting to "be organized" and wanting time to breathe some more. An infant means putting off our summer trip to Alaska

And still..other times, usually in the quiet of the morning or the sigh of an evening when kids are tucked in, I would HOLD this WONDER of a sixth, the POSSIBILITY of a sixth...in the palm of my hand like a tiny mustard seed. And sit with it for awhile.

I walked Theresa's pregnancy as my last, which is so interesting considering I believe so much in life-giving love. My husband was on a boat at the time and my varicose veins were only manageable by wearing hardcore compression hose. I had asked a lot of my body and there was pain and I kind of coped by just knowing...this is it. Five children is so nice and I am blessed.

And well..here I am..21 weeks along and wearing compression hose again. My husband is home every night and so, things are already different there. I also have big helpers. Like...eleven year old and nine year old kind of helpers.



I AM tired but at the same time I surprise myself for what I do have the energy to do. For example, I took the kiddos iceskating Friday, no problems! They loved it! We loved being outside and I enjoyed watching them.


My eldest wanted a break so she took her skates off and then took her two year old sister for a little walk around the rink. And well..as you can see I was just taking it all in and snapping pictures.

























Lord, if you had showed me these things!

Oh...but showing you the graces before you give the trust...no that is not how this covenant works!

Trust.

Trust.

Trust.



Does it hurt you Lord that I thought this would be different? I thought there would be so much suffering and hard work? I was prepared to make a martyr of myself by taking on the work of another baby and then you laugh and make this all gift. I have uncomfortable times and yet I have friends and family and big children encouraging me and cheering me on. You knew all these things.



And it makes me settle into a deeper love for the Good Shepherd. He called this little girl by name. He called her here into this family in this particular moment in history. He called upon Justin and I to love her and serve her, here, in this time, now.


I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life. (John 10 vs 27-28)



Sophia Cavalletti wrote

" ' Eternal life' is an expression that may be very vague. If we substitute 'life in abundance' it gives a new and different concreteness to the term 'eternal life'."

"Each time we grow beyond certain stages and overcome certain limits in our life here and now is evidence of the presence of eternal life. After death there will be new ways of living this life. We reach it by being enabled to go beyond the limits of our life here and now, by a continual overcoming, and a gradual growth to higher levels of our existence."



"Every time that we pass through one of the limits in our life, we are living in a way that is more abundant than that which proceeded it."



I think when other mommies or well meaning friends or neighbors are surprised that we WANTED another child, that we said...YES GOD if it is YOUR WILL please BLESS US! I think that last thought by Sofia sums it all up, I would say:

Every time we have another child, we live a family life, we live our own marriage, more abundantly than before.

I am overjoyed that the Good Shepherd gently called me past a limit and goes before me and blesses.

If you could please pray for a continued safe journey for this little girl, I would be so grateful. I want to tell you next how my Justin is a rock and how his goodness surprised me and makes me want to be a better wife and mother.

God bless and enjoy your Sunday!