When Kelsey asked me to guest post on her blog last month (here), I wrote about a topic very dear to my heart. Little did I know that God was probably trying to tell me something.
A few weeks earlier, during breakfast, Carter had asked me if I was excited about the baby that was going to be in my tummy. He was, he said.
The day after Kelsey's post went up, on the Feast of The Seven Sorrows of Mary, again at breakfast, I told the kids how much I loved them. Then Peter said, "And the baby, too!"
Later that day, I discovered that these little ones know much more than me...they're much less removed from Heaven, I like to think. And, their joy...their ability to see God in every last detail...teaches me.
So, yes, right around Thanksgiving of this year, we'll be adding
We're thrilled! This baby was fervently prayed for. And, while I know another baby will add to our already somewhat crazy days, the love and joy that comes with it will always win. The knowing that God is entrusting us with another miracle, another one of His precious souls, in order to fulfill our vocations. The opportunity to deepen our love yet again, for this precious baby, and for Him.
I've mentioned before that others don't always share our joy when they hear of our growing family, and I'm learning to get past that. I find it really special, though, that we found out about this little one of the Feast of The Seven Sorrows of Mary. Mary endured such confusion, ridicule, doubt and eventually pain in order to fulfill God's will. Yet, she said yes, always. A few unloving comments and misunderstandings are nothing (nothing!) compared to that. Her example is a light for me, each and every day.
He is giving us another tiny baby, and He will equip us for our journey here...inasmuch as we do our best to get them back to Him.
Yes, Carter, Im excited! Just as much as I was when I found out we were having you!
Now, if you have questions or would like to know why we are having another, grab yourself a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and take a glimpse into the heart of our family.
We believe in being open to life. That's the simple answer.
We believe in what the Church teaches about contraception and about the importance of never severing the pleasurable and procreative aspects of the sexual act (read this too if you want to see what Pope Paul VI predicted about the consequences of the widespread acceptance of contraception).
Do we throw caution to the wind and just allow whatever may happen to happen? No. Actually, we spend a lot of time in prayer before coming to a decision to see if having another child is the most responsible thing to do. We pray. We talk with our priest. We determine if we have the mental and physical capacity to bring another child into the world. And, as a priest told us before, we ask ourselves if we can financially care for another...meaning, can we feed another? Can we shelter another? Can we love another? The answer has always been yes.
Jeremy and I love children. More specifically, we love our children. Will you see us losing our minds and all patience at times? Of course! Will it always feel like we have everything under control? Rarely. Do we get strange looks? Yes. Do I worry if other people think I am irresponsible? Many days. Do I sometimes long for moments when I'm not being talked to, touched, or needed? More often than I should, I'm afraid to say.
However, right now, we have no reason to not have another child unless that's simply not God's will. And you know what? We pray and pray for a new baby, and the excitement that comes in seeing a positive test is overwhelming. But, then, fear can invade. Sometimes we don't know how we can handle it. Sometimes I remember how badly my anxiety kicks in after another baby comes and how my mental health can take a nose dive in a hurry if I don't take care of it. Sometimes I just don't know that I will be able to respond to another person's not-so-nice comment without crying.
But, then I realize what is happening. I realize this is one way in which God can completely get my attention. I care too much what others think of me. I've always done things and done them well or not at all (not bragging, just letting you in on my personality). I do not like to fail. I am a lover of control...self-control. And honestly, I find myself often only going to God when I have it all together (even then, I'm just fooling myself).
And, in giving us another child, I hear God whisper, "Come to me." My life is not my own, and with each little baby we are blessed with, I realize it on a deeper level. I let a little bit more of what others think go. I acknowledge my desire for perfection and accept just a bit more imperfection. I give up tiny pieces of control bit by bit, knowing that true peace only comes from giving it all to Him. It is His will, and with our "yes" to Him, He will provide.
As my stomach was in knots before we decided to go ahead and share the news, Carter came in from outside with a flower in his hand. Not knowing we were having another baby, he handed it to me and said, "Every flower is a sign from God, Momma." Yes, yes it is.
So, if I were sitting across from you today at Starbucks and was asked to bare my soul, I would tell you this: we love life, in all stages. We don't know that we will always have a healthy baby. We don't know if number five is our last. We might start driving a big van. We might even homeschool this crew. You might think I'm crazy. You might think we are weird. Maybe you cannot understand why it isn't "enough already."
I can accept that you may never understand where we are coming from. But, my prayer is that someday you do in every sense. And, maybe you will not have five children. Or, maybe deep down you would love that but can't for some reason. But, what I will say is this...we will always be open to life. We will always pray about the decision to have another child. So, in a few years, if number five turns out to not be our last, maybe you can come back here when you're internally questioning why.
As much as I may try to convince you that there is no greater joy than knowing that God is using you as a vessel...as much as I try desperately to convey to you the joy in my soul at the awareness that there is a baby inside...as much as I may want you to know that being open to life is so incredibly freeing...as much as I desperately want to say all of that with a smile on my face serving as a sign of my inward joy, sometimes I don't. Sometimes it's just easier to be silent and to wish the questions away. And I'm sorry for that, because you're missing out when I hold back.
Today, though, you get that joy -- right here.
We are having a baby! He gives us these little souls to make saints of, but truly, they're making saints of us, and what a difficult job they have. We've just said yes to God, and we know He will handle everything from here. I pray you know that, too.