4 years used to be the longest time I had ever lived in one place without moving. 4 years was the magic number that always uprooted my life to move all the way back around the world and try to figure out where I belonged in society.
Tonight when I think about 4 years I remember my last day of living for myself. Well...I try to live my life in a manner that pleases the Lord and will bring glory to Him, but no other human decided what I was going to do. I was (still am) married, and that is quite the tool of sanctification. You learn a lot about yourself and your sin when you are committed for life to another person. You both promise to be used to help encourage and make the other more like Jesus. Sometimes this is painful and ugly. Change is hard. Seeing your sin is ugly. Seeing your spouses sin is ugly...but you have chosen to love (action not feeling) and you do what you can to help make progress into Christ's likeness. But...Adam did not dictate how my days would go, what I would do when etc. That was up to me... February 14, 2010 was the last day that was true for me because on February 15th at 5 something (I now have three children...so I have it written down somewhere- but my mind no longer holds these things) in the morning I met Matthew Joseph Alexander. His head looked like the black guy with the ridged head from Star Trek, he cried a lot, I had no idea what to do to help him, and I was absolutely in love. I would have argued with anyone that he was the cutest baby (hindsight is 20/20), but he had my heart.
Motherhood is something most girls dream of. I have learned as I have grown up that this is not a gift some get to experience. That has been hard to learn through the pain of others. I also have learned that motherhood is not like we pretend when we are little girls. I used to play kitchen...I still sort of do that, but real food sticks much harder to plates than play food. Eating the same thing over and over is not fun, but menu creativity is hard. Babies are cute, but the ones with skin are MUCH needier than the ones with plastic. Taking your baby somewhere is easy when you can carry it by the arm and it weighs 2 pounds. It is not so easy when they don't want to go, wet their pants on the way out the door, can't find the matching shoe, or have to be wrestled into a 3 point harness. All of this may or may not be happening while it's raining. Friends used to come over and play with dolls. And play dates are a real thing...but conversation is totally different. When you play with dolls, you talk for them. When real kids play you may possibly share broken, mixed up, half finished conversations with your friend. And dolls always get along. Real kids need much more...guidance. When you play with dolls and it gets monotonous, you move on to the next game. When you have real kids and the day in and day out gets tedious, you carry on. Unfortunately, from my experience, in these times of no frills, exhaustion, and the 5-o'clock-daddy-please-get-home-NOW hour...I lose it. I come face to face with my selfishness...and so do my kids. I try so hard to live for myself again...but all in vain. My life has been hijacked by little people and thank you Jesus for that.
Motherhood is something I dreamed of. It is something I for sure idolized and glamorized. It is something I wasn't ready for (I didn't know that at the time...but I realize now...you can't ever really be ready...just go with it). It is amazing.
I have realized over and over recently that my idol is comfort. Not big houses, nice cars, fancy clothes comfort...but please leave me alone to do what I want to do comfort. On February 15th when Matthew came crashing into my life I started to learn that lesson and this sweet little boy has learned every hard lesson along the way with me. Andrew and Jonathan have missed a few, and benefited from lessons learned from last mistakes. Not Matthew. He has been with me each step of the way. I have learned that my actions speak louder than my words by watching him follow in my footsteps. Sometimes it is a sweet mirror to look into and other times it is horrifying. I have learned that children are so forgiving...and I'm so thankful. I've learned a level of love I never knew could exist in my heart. Matthew is amazing. He is tender hearted, funny, loyal, handsome, smart and so much more. Adam and I prayed for Matthew to be a great big brother and he is! His little brothers think the world of him. He can make them laugh more than anyone else. Andrew wants to do everything Matthew does. I had no idea what motherhood would hold when I held that little baby for the first time- and I am so grateful for God allowing me the opportunity to Matthew's mom. I don't do a whole lot right, especially the first time, but I am committed to raising Matthew in a way that would honor the Lord and I pray that someday his life will reflect this.
The night before birthdays are always bittersweet for me. I look at the boys every night before I go to bed, when they are sound asleep, but on birthday eves I linger a little longer. Usually with tears running down my face as I realize time is flying and they are going to be grown up. I want my boys to be Godly men someday...but for now I just want them to stay my babies. 4 years has gone way too fast!! Matthew- I love you. Thanks for giving me the best job title I could ever ask for.