Yesterday, my baby girl turned one year old. It is a bittersweet day for me. I am so ecstatically happy that the Lord gave us Avigail – she is such a gift! Her sweet smile and gentle snuggles melt our hearts. Her love for her siblings brings a smile to my face on a constant basis. But her first year has completely flown by, and I am struggling to come to grips with that. I am finding myself clinging desperately to her babyhood, wishing I could slow time.
|She just realized that we’re singing to HER!|
As parents to small children, it can be very overwhelming at times. Their needs are intense, and there are so many of them! Mark and I have often caught ourselves lamenting our lack of freedom, and looking forward (maybe too much) to the days when our children will be able to take care of themselves a bit more. It has become difficult to appreciate this stage of life for what it is. But is the problem really the crazy intensity that is our life? Or is the problem our attitude about it?
Over the past few months, as we have settled in here and I have had more time to ponder our home and family life, there are some things about this stage that the Lord has really pressed upon me.
First of all, I need to accept each day for what it is, and consider it a blessing. Every single day, I start my day by writing a few entries into my gratitude journal. By starting out this way, I have found it easier to return to it when I’m struggling later on. There is so much power in thankfulness!
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – I Thessalonians 5:18
Second, I need to have realistic expectations for my children. They are supposed to act like young children – that is what they are! If the Lord wanted kids to be born mature, He would’ve created them that way. But instead, He gives them to us completely dependent – dependent on us to help them walk through the stages of life, to grow and develop.
Third, I need to remember that our children are like plants in a garden – given the right environment, they will grow. My job is not to try to force growth and maturity on my kids, my job is to foster an environment where growth is encouraged. That means that I have to be a mature person, and model those character traits that I’d like to see developed in my children. Of course, those things that they struggle with so much also tend to be the same things that I struggle with, making this step so hard but so necessary!
Lastly, I need to remember that God has given me children to bring me closer to Him. These daily struggles that I have with how I choose to approach my relationship with my children have the power to deeply change me. I have blogged about this a bit before (click), but it’s such a powerful truth to embrace that I want to mention it again today. Through our relationships with our children, the Lord can work through sin and struggles in our own lives, bringing us into a closer relationship with Him!
So, as I embark on my baby’s second year of life, it is with a renewed conviction and determination to embrace life as it happens! I want to soak in every moment of her remaining baby/toddlerhood (ouch, it hurts to see that word “toddler” on the page!), and not just for her, but for each of my children. I want to cherish my children, to enjoy them, to truly love them in a deep way – thankful for the blessings that they are in my life!
With you on the journey,