I Signed Up For This, Too

I Signed Up For This, Too: receiving the joys (and the triumphs) of motherhood

Last week, I shared a post on the common complaints I’ve been guilty of indulging in as a mom, along with my resolution to (try to) abstain from all the sighing and moaning and groaning that so easily accompanies this life with little ones…

but, thankfully, not every day calls for such resolved action, and, as a lady who truly loves being a stay-at-home wife/mom/homeschooler, I would be remiss to mention all the things I struggle with in the mommyhood department without mentioning the things that bless my slippers off.

Because, thankfully, when you “sign up” for the daily grind that comes with being a parent, you are also the natural beneficiary of a good that far, far, FAR outweighs any bad that might occasionally (daily) weigh you down.

Thus, the next time I find myself being a Debbie Downer about the seeming drudgery of my life, after I read through my handy dandy list of what I signed up for…and then after I thank God that I don’t have to attend two weeks of VBS and then go home to do the canning…I’m going to pop right over and read this list…

a list that will remind me of the beautiful gift I’ve been given, a gift that is better than much fine gold and more sparklier than diamonds.

Let us begin.

1. Children are a heritage and a blessing from the Lord.

This I know because the Bible tells me so (Psalm 127:3). And because I feel it in me bones, to the very depths of my soul.

(I feel like you should know that I just wrote that entire paragraph with a Scottish accent).

Holding my two boys, arms full of blessing…

blessing and heritage

2. Children are forgiving.

Thanks to godly examples who have shared wisdom with me, I have made it a habit to easily apologize to my kids since I became a hormonal and emotional psychopath a mom.

And you know what? The minute I say “I’m sorry” or “I need to do a better job”, I am immediately met with kindness and reassurances from my little people.

“It’s okay, you didn’t mean to.”

Or “You don’t need to do a better job. You’re the best!”

Or “I didn’t think you were being grouchy. And I was being mean, anyway.”

It astounds me every time. Kids don’t even have to think twice about offering their heartfelt forgiveness.

I’m mad at you…

mad

Okay, I forgive you.

forgive

3. Likewise, children don’t hold a grudge.

In my almost 7 years as a parent, I have never once heard one of my kids bring up a fault from my past.

(Scratch that…my son has sort of held it against me for 5 years that I sold some of his toys at a garage sale when he was a toddler…).

But, for the most part, on the important stuff, they not only forgive, they forget. Each day is a new day with them, and yesterday’s hurts and failures are literally forgotten.

Grudge? What’s a grudge?…

grudge

4. Children are funny.

I am a huge fan of humor, and I used to think nothing was more fun than going to see the latest comedy at the movieplex…

until my first niece was born. Since that day almost 10 years ago, our family has been introduced to comedian after comedian; each one is unique, but each one has brought new waves of joy and laughter to us, whether it is in their facial expressions, the way they talk, their mannerisms…

And in my own home, not a day goes by that every single one of my kids doesn’t give me something to get tickled about.

Like this guy and his mustaches…

Gid stache

Or this gal right here…

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Or this little freakshow…

kids on glass

5. Children are little ministers.

This one actually really surprised me. I’ll never forget the first time it happened. My then 3- and 1-year old were sitting with me on the couch watching cartoons and I was mulling over some intense inner turmoil that had been eating me up for days when, out of nowhere, I felt a little hand on my shoulder.

I can’t aptly describe the peace that washed over me from that childish touch, one that had no idea my heart was so heavy, and I couldn’t get over how soothing it was to be sitting there quietly with them, feeling their love. Unbeknownst to my babies, they helped me through that day.

Since then, I have repeatedly been ministered to by my children. Whether I am sick and in need of a nurse, or crying from pregnancy hormones, or feeling overwhelmed or ugly or sad, they treat me gently, running to get me tissues, asking if I’m okay, smothering me with hugs and kisses…

yes, children drain you and they make messes and they test you to your limit, but they also give.

And I’m pretty sure it’s much more than they take.

We take lots of staged pictures around here, but this one was real. Rebekah and her Papa…

children are little ministers

5. Children are easy to please.

Oh my goodness. Give a kid a muffin tin and a pile of coins (or just the coins!) and they can stay occupied for an hour. Put a slice of cold cheese in a bun and they think you’re the best “cooker” ever. Wear a pair of sparkly earrings and they think you look like a princess…

I know now why people are constantly saying that “it doesn’t take much” when it comes to children: because it’s true!

You know what my two-year old nephew, Brett, told the mall Santa he wanted for Christmas? “Some candy”.

In a world that never stops wanting and buying and consuming, the simplicity of childhood is like a beautiful city on a hill.

2-year old Gid, playing with some coins…

easy to please 2

easy to please

6. Children are accepting.

Little ones are just sweet. They don’t notice skin color. They don’t see clothing quality. They don’t care too much if someone is different from them. And if you nurture them in it, they will make friends of all ages.

Yes, they notice blemishes and facial hair and that your belly jiggles when you laugh, but they don’t hold it against you. And even when you are rolling around like a narwhal on the slip n’ slide, they just think you’re fun.

Gideon and our friend, Yoyo, who pushed him all over our church in one of the spare wheelchairs…

Gid and Yoyo

Rebekah and our friend, Kenneth, blowing out his 90th birthday candles in Sunday School…

accepting

7. Children are honest.

Sometimes their honesty is of the brutal variety (“why do you have a beard on your face, Mom?”), but it is so refreshing to daily be among a group of people who tell you what they’re thinking. If my kids are upset, they tell me. If they have a question, they ask it. If they have a compliment, they share it.

There aren’t many hidden thoughts and motives with children (unless they’re trying to pick their nose on the sly), and that is a lovely thing.

And sometimes even their nose-picking is honest…

honest 2

8. Children are loving.

I can’t count the number of unsolicited hugs and kisses I’ve received since becoming a mom.

And even though I find myself scorning the gift sometimes and longing for that elusive “me-time”, the fact of the matter is this: my kids love me and would spend every second of every day with me. And then they want to sleep in my bed at night. And stand by me when I take my bath. And hand me toilet paper when I go to the bathroom. And bump into me when I stop walking.

My gosh, we spend half our lives yearning for someone to love us and want to spend all their time with us…

voila!

Children.

Where I go, they go (and when I’m away from them, I miss the little boogers)…

loving

9. Children make the world seem new.

This has been a surprise for me, as well. I had no idea what joy I would glean, not just from watching my kids experience great things, but from reliving childhood from a different perch.

It is like having the opportunity to start life all over again. The stories and fables, the nursery rhymes, the songs, the holidays, the wonder, the smell of crayons…

it is all back in your life again, and it is so much stinkin’ fun.

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10. Children make you holy.

I don’t think there is one single aspect of parenthood that has not brought me closer to the heart of God.

Whether it includes being at my wit’s end and crying out for grace…

or being so crippled by fear for my children’s salvation, safety, and general well-being that I find myself pleading at His feet and entrusting them to His care…

or being overwhelmed by a love that is so big and pure that it leads me straight to worship…

or digging deep for biblical answers to questions that lead to more questions like “who is God?” and “who made God?” and “why do people sin?” and “why did God create all these animals and not give me any?”…

And that’s just off the top of my head! Parenthood = sanctification. And even though sanctification hurts like the dickens sometimes, it is even more precious than children.

holy

11. Children are wonderful teachers.

And in all of the above, children teach us.

To forgive. To make grudges nonexistent. To laugh. To minister. To live simply. To accept others and withhold petty judgments. To share what’s on our mind. To love someone so much that we are happy just to sit by them and hold their hand. To live. To think about God…

and a lot of times, they can teach us all of this and more without even opening their mouths.

lots of kids

~

Sisters and brothers, may we never lose sight of the treasures that pitter-patter through our houses.

And may we shed our complaints quickly, freeing our hearts to marvel at the joys, bask in the innocence and laugh at the antics that are only in our lives for a painfully short season…

world seem new

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”

Psalm 127:3-4

~

special thanks to Amy Jackson and Benjamin Grey Photography for photo contributions!

~

Do you have anything to add to this list? How have children (whether your own, your grandchildren, your nephews and nieces, or the children in your church) blessed you?  Share and celebrate with us!

18 thoughts on “I Signed Up For This, Too

  1. This is all so true. I feel like I end so many days apologizing to my boys for not speaking nicely or losing my patience with them. And they always are willing to forgive and forget about it by giving me hugs and kisses. Thank you for this and for its precursor. I am encouraged.

  2. my friend shared your previous blog post on Facebook today. so glad to find you. am following now. from a fellow Christian mama who signed up for all of this but still can’t wrap my mind around it in some days, especially the staying at home part. hey, also signed up for NYC when i followed my then-boyfriend, now husband/babies’ daddy but it’s still…too much! God bless you and your family in 2014!

  3. Hard to believe, I know, that I could like a post more than the last, but I always do! Love all these gorgeous Gore people pictures and love the beautiful words and I love It that God placed me close to you all! Two things, 1. Me time is over rated. Took 6 kids, a grandchild and a half empty nest, but yes I totally get it. 2. CS Lewis said it best when he reminded that all careers exist to support the most important one: the homemaker. (& no I am not one, & typically I have worked outside the home–neaner neaner-it’s true)

  4. Can I just tell you how much this and your last post have blessed me! I feel like your last post hit the nail right on the head with what I have been struggling with lately (complaining, whiny heart), and I am so thankful for the conviction! I have referenced it in my mind often when dealing with my 3 kiddos. Then today, oh my, it was like a great big hug from Jesus reminding me of what a precious gift my rascals are! (I often call my kids little sanctification machines, because yes, God uses them SO much to make me more like Him!) Thanks for sharing and encouraging my heart! 🙂

  5. This post is a blessing I needed today! I am soooo pregnant and chasing around a 4-year-old, and I have been really unpleasant lately. Thank you for the reminder of just how fortunate I am!

  6. As a mother of 3 adults and a grandmother…Gigi to be precise…of 7, soon to be 8, you my dear are wise beyond your years. It’s easy to “get” all of this, including the post that preceded this one, when all is said and done and they are grown. Oh that we could all “get” it while we’re in the thick of it! I always told my girls that mothering is the most wonderful thing and the most terrible thing they’d ever do. Wonderful for all of the obvious reasons, and terrible, because, well, dying to one’s self is very painful, very humbling, very hard, and very underrated. Hold on dear mother’s of little ones…because yes, suddenly and without warning it just ends. But, then you get to be a Gigi!!

  7. So beautifully said! This, and your previous post “I signed up for this”, so perfectly express everything that sums up the last 9 years of my life! Tomorrow our family will celebrate our twin daughters’ birthdays – they are numbers 5 and 6 in the line up of our kiddos, and in May they’ll become “big sisters” to number 7. Every day, while messy and chaotic and LOUD and full of my mistakes, is a gift from The Lord, in every aspect you shared. Thank you for putting these things into writing and sharing with us. I have been greatly blessed by your words! -Kate

  8. Your post are amazing and describe my life totally! I feel great knowing I’m not alone. I have been suffering from depression and always feel lonely, even though I walk in the word of Christ daily. I hope this change sticks for me also. because I signed up for this also! Five times to be exact!

  9. Thank you for this post. I don’t even know how it’s in my email, but I needed it desperately. At the moment, I have a loving 2 year old hugging my arm and falling asleep next to me..I love my children so much, yet lately I’ve been feeling burnt out. Every thing you mentioned..all the little things–I have memories of all these things…I could have written this but I forgot them…thank you and thank God for putting this in my inbox..

  10. No biological children but did in-home daycare, loved ’em as my own, and had lots of nieces & nephews who let me ‘mother’ them – they didn’t like it so much when they were younger but now that they’re young adults, they call & share their joys along with their broken hearts, asking for insight & prayer! What a sweet gift! I am truly blessed!

  11. I’ve read both of your “I signed up for” posts! Oh how refreshing to my soul! It’s been a particularly trying few weeks with my beautiful 14 month old, and reading your posts have just reminded me to cherish every day with her, every emotion, every discovery, every minute of watching her sleep, and everything that comes with being a mom! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  12. I so needed to read this and just take it in today – I read the other I signed up for this post closer to when it was written, but God in his grace and mercy allowed me to read this one today when I SO needed it! Thank you for your heartfelt posts!!! I love your way (and I talk to myself in a Scottish brogue also, aye?)
    Love it, love it, love it. You are great and truly and greatly blessed by the Lord.

  13. Thank you for this post and the last one. I so needed to hear them both. I just stumbled upon your blog tonight, I have 3 kids, 2 year old twins and a 9 month old, its really hard, like really hard, and i have been in the cloud of discouragement and bad attitude lately and have been searching for some inspiration and found it here. So thank you for these reminders!

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