Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unwrapping the Gifts

For many that read my blog, you know already that I am a HUGE fan of Emily's (from Chatting at the Sky). As I contemplated writing this evening, I thought of the phrase "unwrapping the gifts," which most assuredly comes from her Tuesdays Unwrapped series. I thought the idea appropriate, however, to tear open the presents that God left me yesterday.

I often think, right or not, that "I was a better mother when I just had two." This sort of goes along with the idea that we were all better mothers before we were - you know - mothers. Yesterday while looking for a book on my shelf (Power of a Praying Parent, by the way), I came across an old journal of mine. And reading it was an epiphany. On page 2, written 12/20/02, I wrote, "I am spiritually and physically spent." I went on to describe how Katelyn's chest scar was changing appearance and how that could possibly mean another infection for her. She experienced several infections - in her heart, her blood stream, and in her incisions - by the time she was just 15 months-old that led to months and months, literally, of IV antibiotic treatments. And these infections were the scary MRSA that we hear about on the news nowadays...

This one simple sentence, wrought with meaning in spite of its brevity, said something big to me yesterday. It said that mothering two was challenging, too. Looking back on those days, I forget that we were in the trenches with Katelyn's health. I forget that I was tired and cranky and felt ill-prepared to parent these two little beings. Much like I am tired and cranky and feel ill-prepared to now parent four little beings. I don't remember that. I remember the joy of mothering. The fun trips to the mall to play in the play area. Playing classical music and dancing with them in my arms. Pudding paintings. And cuddling.

Something else that I noticed in this journal were the repeated words:
Our two little ones are amazing. They are true blessings.

I hate to admit it, but I've been so caught up in the challenges of parenting four young children lately that I have truly failed to see the blessings in it. I haven't looked at them with a sparkle in my eye, as Shawni Eyre Pothier and her mother write about in this book.
Back then, every step, every new word, was documented. Today Sashi is going through the same remarkable development. But I watch her from the kitchen while I scramble to make breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or clean up all the above before starting baths. And though I desire and talk of appreciating these moments and these days - for they are fleeting - I get stuck in the rut of living them and really haven't seen the gift for the packaging. Sometimes the gift is wrapped in shimmery paper with a sparkly bow. And I notice immediately. Other times, it's brown paper bag wrapping with a spit-up stain and spilled coffee adorning the top. And I look away.

So yesterday, through the means that He had available (and it's all available to Him), I feel God spoke to me. Through an old journal, a blog, and the possibility of a wonderful book to read. What lovely gifts, indeed. And would He have done this, if I hadn't woken at 5:30 with Him? I don't know. What I do know is that, very un-coicidentally, the Bible verses I am studying this week are all about the blessings we receive when we seek His wisdom. Maybe I saw them more clearly because I woke up early. Maybe He would have given them anyway. These are questions that I don't care to answer. All I want to know is, God, What will you teach me tomorrow? I'm listening, watching, and waiting. Now, perhaps, more than ever before.
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