I've been thinking lately about how different our lives would be had we known, had we even THOUGHT we were going to have a larger family. When we got married, I was pregnant with Savannah, our first blessing. It was not what we had "planned", but I'm so happy the Lord blessed us with this darling girl. It takes my breath away that God can bless a person even when they're not following Him. Giving birth to Savannah COMPLETELY changed my life. As any new parent knows, a new baby changes everything. That a crying little being who does little more than eat, poop and deprive you of much needed sleep can take over your heart to where you'd gladly give your life in a heartbeat for that precious little thing is beyond comprehension. It's not something you can describe to someone who has never had a child...but the second you hold your own baby in your arms, you understand. My brother just had his first one week ago today, and I rejoice because he now knows! A friend of mine gave birth just 6 days after I had Aaron and she called me and said, "I get it now!". It's an amazing blessing.
Savannah was a very difficult baby, she didn't like to sleep, she cried for the first 8 weeks of her life--non-stop, and my husband was deployed from a month before she was born until she was 3.5 months old. It was rough. We hadn't really intended on having another right away, but when Savannah was 8 months old, I found out we were expecting again. I was excited, and scared, but mostly excited. In October of 2003 I gave birth to our second beautiful daughter. Abby has been the spice our lives had been missing. She is the passionate one...the one who struggles with being "naughty", but who also loves with her ENTIRE being.
After we had Abby, we thought we were done. They were so close in age (17 months), I was tired, we were still young and selfish and ignorant to the blessing of children, even though we recognized the gift that they were. Thankfully, we got over our fears and decided to try for #3. We made a pros & cons list (which I still have) and thankfully the pros won out and we had our first son! Luke was a delight from the moment he was born. He had a quiet cry, he slept great...and now at 3 and a half, continues to be the funniest, goofiest, most wonderful little boy. He's a clown for sure, and OH so sweet. I keep telling him that he can't grow any more because his age is just PERFECT right now. To which he replied, "I will...ha ha!" Yes, he's definitely a turkey, but such a sweet one.
Sadly, we hadn't yet caught on to the fact that children are a blessing...at least not the way we now know. We LOVED our children deeply. We would do anything for them, but we were STILL selfish, still fearful and still undetermined whether we'd have any more. After all, we now had our boy! Luke is 3 and a half years younger than Abby...and then 3 years and 3 months later, along came Aaron.
Aaron was a baby we "tried" for and we didn't get pregnant. I was shocked as I had gotten pregnant so easily before...we tried for 2 or 3 months and it didn't happen, and my cycle went all weird on me. I had been a very regular 28 day cycle kind of girl and all of a sudden my cycles were 5 weeks long. I went to the doctor and had my hormone levels tested, and unbeknownst to me, I was already pregnant!! We had come to the point where if it was going to happen, it'd happen. Not to mention that my husband was being deployed...and for some reason EVERY time he is deployed, I'm pregnant! So it worked out well. :) I'm SO glad it worked out because Aaron is just DARLING. He's not the greatest sleeper, he tends to be a bit on the fussy side, but he is a PRECIOUS little sweet heart. He's such a little hugger and smiler. He LOVES his brother and sisters so much and they all adore him. At this point, I'd been doing some reading and some praying and some thinking. I had met a friend who has 7 children (the 7th born just 3 days before Aaron) who are all adopted, and she and her husband tend toward the "quiverfull" mindset. Children are a blessing and we'll receive as many as He'll give us! Hmmmm...of course I knew what quiverfull was, I mean, who hasn't heard of the Duggars? It's a mentality I agree with completely on one level, and on that scares me to death on another. I borrowed the book, Be Fruitful and Multiply from a friend of mine and had been reading all of the scriptures that show when God blessed someone in the bible...he INCREASED THE NUMBER OF HIS OFFSPRING. Hmmm...you mean children ARE a LITERAL blessing? A light bulb went off in my head. Wow, children are a blessing. My life is not my own, I should not be striving for independent children so I can have my "life" back...children ARE my life...my mission is to raise up children for the glory of God, to raise up a godly seed for the benefit of our country. I am NOT that important...my "needs", my "desires" and my "goals" are to be HIS, not mine! What a concept. I get it.
We decided that we would not prevent another pregnancy. We were not actively "trying", but God has chosen to bless us again. When Aaron was 3 months old, my cycle was late. I figured it was from breastfeeding (I was in denial...NEVER before has breastfeeding prevented my cycle from coming!), but on the weekend of our anniversary (same as last year!), I took a pregnancy test and it was + ! :) I was shocked, I was scared....and I'm SO happy! I'm on the same exact path as I was a year ago...Aaron was due June 10th, this one is due June 6th. What a blessing.
Looking back, I do have regrets. Had I known we were going to have more children than I ever thought ANY sane person would have, I would have been more diligent in training my children to love each other. I would have made it a priority for them to help each other and not nag at each other so much. I would have been more diligent in having them help around the house from a young age. I would have been more organized, in better shape, had a better schedule, a bigger car, etc.!! But "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." Isaiah 55:8. He knows what He's doing...and He will guide us on this incredible journey. There's no looking back, only striving forward to submit more to Him, to give all the Glory to Him and to trust in Him for all of the patience, rest, organization and love we all need. The ONE regret I do hold to though is the fact that we didn't "get it" until now. I look at Luke as the lone ranger...his sisters are close in age, and his 2 younger siblings will be close in age...and because of our selfishness, we chose to space our children so widely because we didn't want to "struggle". I know that God will use Luke's position in this family for His glory, but when the little guy has no one to play with because the girls are doing school work, the baby is napping and mommy is busy taking care of things...I do "wish" we would have left things in the Lord's hands earlier. But that's neither here nor there.
One of the greatest things I've learned through this journey is that one can never take their fertility for granted. If I decided that right now wasn't the best time for another baby, but a couple of years from now would be fantastic, there is no guarantee that a couple of years from now I'd be blessed with another precious baby. God blesses as He chooses...not as we deem convenient.
While reading the Raising Olives blog this morning, I saw they were having a give-away of a movie called, get this, "Children are a Blessing"! Here's a direct link to the giveaway Children are a Blessing Giveaway