Thursday, October 2, 2014

Joy That Makes Me Strong

The first year we went to Maine, one of the ladies at the Chamber recommended we try going to the Rockland Breakwater.  She described it saying it was "a long rock wall out to a lighthouse and you can't bring a stroller, but if we hold their hands, they shouldn't fall in..."  I looked at Matt and gave him the "Are you kidding?!" eyes and in my mind made a mental note we would never go there.

This year before we went on our trip, I looked into things to do online... and it came up.  It looked like it could be scary with the kids, but I saw how beautiful it was and became interested.  As I read, I saw that the lighthouse is 4300 feet out and seeing Rachel's handprint on it, I put it on our list of things I wanted to do.

hard to get the whole thing in one pic, but here's a good part of it!

It was an amazing day, the weather was perfect.  I will say that with 4 little boys, I was happy when we all made it back to shore alive and dry...!  I felt a sense of accomplishment with this one because I am deathly afraid of my kids falling into water.  I have this fear of them falling in and me not being able to see them - like I think they wouldn't splash around or something, I don't know.  But I have had nightmares of Isaiah falling into the pond and me not being able to help him.  So walking this far with water high and deep on both sides - and even enjoying it - was God in me.  I am trying not to get in the way of my kids' life experiences anymore.  And I'm pretty sure they will always remember this walk...  4300 feet out to the middle of the ocean.

I was wishing the nice lady who offered to take this pic would have told us that E was being squished back there!
And of course in my photos, this one ends in 43... just in case I forgot that she was in it too.

Me & my honey...  with a couple of kids hanging off of us :)  Trying to make a point
to get pics of just us too.  Des is a good help with that.

And the most precious, yet difficult thing for me was that I decided to wear E in the Ergo Carrier for this.  I haven't been able to wear him in a while, it hurts my neck too much.  Looking back, I can see that this was coming for a long time - I switched to the Ergo after 3 other slings/wraps that people raved about hurt me too much.  Everyone would insist I was wearing them wrong or they wouldn't hurt.  Now I know that it was more than that.  But up until even 6 months ago, the Ergo helped me hold my boy pain free (I LOVE this thing!).  Now is a different story... and it breaks my heart.  I like to stop things because I want to, not because I have to.  I like to be in control.  Maybe it's just because the boy is a whale... He only weighs a couple pounds less than Asa now!  But even with pain meds, I made it through until about 1/4 of the way back and I couldn't do it anymore.  I had to let Matt carry him. :(  Saying those words "I can't hold him anymore" was hard.  It was a realization that it was probably the last time I would wear him in the backpack...

He carried both babies back.  Thankful for my strong husband.

Going thru my photos the other day, I saw that after I gave the baby to Matt, I accidentally started recording on my camera.  It was hanging from me and all you could see was the really rocky path and the big gaps in the rocks... me stepping over it... pieces of my hair flying around... and you could hear  me, Sam and Des talking and playing I Spy.  We were laughing and joking...

It was a part of the adventure I had forgotten.  All I remembered was the 4300 feet, not being able to carry E, the beautiful view, the feeling of accomplishment, and making it back alive...  but what God provided in my disappointment of being physically incapable of holding the baby was a sweet time of fellowship with two of my older babies.  And he even provided the tape to help me see it.  Being recorded when you don't know you are can be both scary and beautiful.

Just like our trip out to the lighthouse.

Just like life on earth.

Just like dying.

I look back at this trip and see a beautiful picture of life....  sometimes all we get is a rocky road to the destination.  It certainly feels like that is what I have been given.  One where we can chose to play I Spy when we are left disappointed... or miss out on the chance because we let our desire to have what we had hoped for - and the sadness of not being able to get it - steal our joy.

I'm reminded again that The joy of the Lord is my strength.  Rachel was no less important to me because of her physical limitations and I know that I do not need to consider myself less important to my children or less capable of mothering them because of mine.  The most important thing I can give them is to show them how strong God is when I am weak.  To let them see me rejoice in ALL things.  For them to see him carry me... again... even when I can't carry them.... and I have no doubt that he will use this all to draw them closer to himself and I pray to eventually join us all together again in heaven.

I don't think I would have this realization if it weren't for that 3 minute recording...  The pictures are beautiful, but they are controlled.  We smile and say "Cheese"... we can Photoshop and change the lighting...  But it's the uncensored proof that my smile isn't pasted on that really spoke to my heart.  And I hope that it spoke to theirs as well.   I hope in all of this they know that I do this all for them... and in the process, just like with Rachel... God is granting me unbelievable blessings for my devotion and obedience... because HE works ALL things together for the GOOD of those who LOVE HIM.  And I love Him.

Choosing to have Rachel 3 weeks early was the hardest decision I've ever made.  When I picked December 3, I knew it could potentially mean she would have less time with me, even though it made her officially "full term".  But I was in so much pain from my polyhydramnios, that I couldn't carry her anymore.  And part of that decision was because I was afraid she wouldn't make it to Christmas and I wanted to meet her alive.  I've always wondered if I had pushed through and made it another couple weeks, if she would have lived longer in my arms.  But I know in my heart that God had it planned exactly how it was supposed to be, even in my weakness and inability.  I know December 3rd was meant to be her day.  I know that he met me in my surrender.  I know he has carried me.  And on that day, he gave me joy that made me strong.

So when I am disappointed because I can't carry them, I will take a deep breath and whisper "Carry me, Lord..."  and I know he will pick me up and hand me joy in the midst of my sorrow.

For the joy of the Lord is your strength - Nehemiah 8:10

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him
Psalm 28:7

1 comment:

We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes