January 22, 2013

Gracious Gifts

From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another. 
John 1:16

Knox Driscoll- 9 mos
Michael Louis, Jr. -6
Lincoln Anderson-3

With three boys, I always say that God used the gift of life of each one of my boys to teach me something amazing about myself and most importantly, to draw into Him. They are each so special and unique. From their conception to their current stage in life, each one is a reminder of a lesson in grace and favor the Lord has taught me.

Path to Destiny

With Michael, who is now 6, we were not anticipating a baby so soon. In fact, we wanted to wait 5 years after being married to have kids, but instead, found out after 6 months that we were expecting! Frightenened, clueless, and selfish,  daily during my pregnancy I would cry out to God. "Why? Why so soon? I am not ready for this." I never even had that pregnant glowy feeling. I felt more like it was a task I had been dished and I just had to figure out the best way to do it. Even during the birth process and those first few hours of his life, I had no idea what to think or feel. I'm a 'doer'. A 'Martha', if you will. I excel at figuring things out. And that's what I did. I had no idea how to even hold a baby, much less breastfeed or change a tiny diaper. I continued to go through the motions. Until that first night in the hospital after his birth. I had sent my husband home to sleep and they brought the baby to me for that 2am feeding.  It was the first time in the almost hours since his birth that I had been all alone with him, my first-born, perfect little bundle from above.  I looked at that face and the tears started pouring out of me. God, thank you for this amazing and perfect gift. How could I ever doubt you and that this was your plan for me???
THIS was my destiny. THIS was the way God had intended for me. God had given me this task and when I thought I could not complete it, he showed me the way, held my hand while I persevered, and shown me the end result was something so beautiful.
Kind of like daily life, right? He deals out some tricky cards, cards that he knows are best for us even though it may not be what we want.  It's because he wants us to hold His hand during the process, ask Him for his help, and cling on until we finally reach our beautiful destiny.

Not My Way

Lincoln, who is the textbook qunitessential, superhero cape wearing three year old, taught me that my 'figuring it out' skillset may not always prove strong. From pre-conception, my little redhead had a 'way' about him. This baby we had to try for. Actual tempurate taking, charting, cycle timing TRY for. Crazy! Since Michael Jr. was a complete surprise, we thought, for sure, I'd be pregnant in no time. Well, finally 8 months after stopping the pill, we let it go and quit trying so hard. We turned it over to Him. Then, a few weeks later, I finally saw that little plus sign I'd been hoping for! Lincoln's pregnancy was not much different than the first, just more tiring, another 'task'. Once he was here, I immediately was smitten with the tiny red headed bundle. He was just a day old and sleeping peacefully in the hospital basinet when my husband looks at him and says, "I can already tell his personality is SOO much different that Michael Jr.'s.
Boy did that prove to be true when we brought him home. Where Michael had been the perfect BabyWise baby to a T, sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, eating every 3 hours in the day like an alarm clock, etc. Lincoln, on the other hand didn't know what he wanted or when he wanted it. He cried, A LOT! He wouldn't sleep more than 2 hours at night for the longest time. No matter what I did, every rule book I tried to follow, he had his way and there was nothing I could do about it. He was this fierce little being with his own ideas from Day 1.
With him, the Lord showed me to let go. That MY way, was not my way. I am not my own. I am His. That I had to surrender and allow him to work in my life. I could not control every variable in my environment. I could not and never would 'figure it all out.' And because of what he did for me on the cross, it's the least I can do to surrender to him and allow him to take the reigns in all areas. Whether that means throwing my hands up at sleep training or potty training.

Revel in His Sweetness

After 2 boys, we were done with having kids. We gave away the baby clothes and all the gear and decided to move on with our lives and be the classic family of 4. When Lincoln was approaching age 2, I started having the yearning for just 1 more. Now, I should mention that pregnancy is grueling for me. I have terrible and I mean MISERABLE varicose vein issues. My emotions and anxety are so out of whack that it rocks my marriage and all my other important relationships.  The whole 9 months is really not fun for anybody in our house. But something in me was wanting to do it just one more time. This sounds silly, but every time I would be around a friend who was breastfeeding, I would start getting all gooey and baby eyed watching them nurse. We went out to dinner for our 6 year anniversary around that time. At dinner, I confessed my desires to my husband. Surprisingly, he felt the same way!!! It just so happened that day was my last 'pill' of the month. So we prayed. Together. We prayed not for another baby, but for Him to fulfill his will in our life. We told him that our hearts were open to another baby if He saw it fit for our family. We agreed that we would not 'try' for a baby yet we would not prevent either.
Six weeks later I was pregnant! He clearly thought we needed just one more.
Another miserable pregnancy came. The emotional roller coaster started immediately and the vein issues came on much earlier. Morning sickness remained until the third trimester. Many times, I questioned why I would put myself though this again. And gently the Lord would remind me, "I sent my son for so that you could receive my blessings and my grace in your life. You can make it though this. I will fight for you."
When sweet Knox finally arrived, it was like nothing I could have imagined. With the Lord fighting for me, I made it though a natural childbirth. He took to breastfeeding with no problems. He snuggled. He was just like a big blob of sweetness that the Lord had gifted to us. It made every pregnancy battle wound worth it. At 11 months now, he is still just the sweetest, gentlest, most laid back baby.
I look at him and I think, "Wow, this is what the Lord intended." His plan is so sweet indeed. The Lord, in his omnipotence, is so beautiful and sweet, just like a clean, newborn baby all snuggled up in a blankie.
Sometimes we forget to just sit back and appreciate the beauty and the sweetness of what he Has so graciously given us.

Photography by Angie Kosa Photography.