To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
My 4 children, daughter-in-law, grandson and I went to have our portrait taken before my son left this weekend for Air Force basic training. I thought it would be a good thing to do not knowing when we will all be together again. It wasn’t until after I saw the final portrait that I could see the full impact of the blessings God had truly given to me. How God had woven, in front of my very eyes, a family!
Seeing my little grandson sitting on my lap with his little hair sticking out just like his daddys’, my first born, the memories of their births just flooded into my mind. I can recall the sensations, the sounds, the pain, the tears and joy I experienced the day they were born and the ups and downs of motherhood, through out these past 19 years. I even remember the day my grandson was born…I was on cloud 9 as a new grandmother. And now added to the heart of my memories was the wonderful blessing of spending these past three months with my daughter-in-law , in that I got to see how God blessed my son with a wonderful sweet spirited woman, wife and mother.
So many times, we who have gone through painful divorces, often see ourselves as lonely souls without someone to share our lives with! The loneliness of not having a special person to share joys, victories, disappointments and just the daily stride of life with. While I understand that God put the desire in our hearts for a helpmate, it is the failure of a committment looming over us that makes it sometimes hard to see what we have around us. The thought of our children growing up and leaving us is sometimes harder to bare as a single parent than those with lifelong partners. While our children can not possibly take the place of a partner, they can and do share our lives. And in the simplicity of parenthood, it boils down to the fact that we were only given our children for a season.
“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.
I Samuel 24:27-28
My first child did not want to come out on his own…23 hours and then they had to go in and get him. He was going to be the first grandchild on my side of the family and the 6th grandchild on his dad’s side. One of my dreams was coming true…a baby! In the months leading up to his birth were exciting ones for my new husband and I. We shopped for baby things and talked about names and all the things brand new parents do. His daddy would talk to him while he was still in my tummy. It was just too cute! We went to all the Lamaze classes paying attention to all the details, but in the end he was deliverd by cesarean. I was so out of it, all I remember was the nurse telling me “you had a boy, mommy” and then I passed out from exhaustion… When I finally laid eyes on him, I fell absolutely in love. My heart melted into a puddle never to be gathered up whole again.
Your hands have made me, and fashioned me, give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Psalm 119:73
My second, a daughter, came at a time in my life when my world was turned upside down. Being pregnant with my daughter and my 2 yr old son were my saving grace, so to speak. I was facing childbirth without a husband so I asked my best friend to be my coach. I had a perfect pregnancy, gained little weight and went to full term, again God’s grace. Even her birth was a classic birth. She came so quickly that there was no time for any medication…so I had her natural. She came right out into the world with no complications. She was a beautiful little girl. I remember the music tape that my friend and I made for the coaching part of the birth…the song I wanted to use was “Carol of the Bells” from the George Winston’s Winter CD. Several hours after she was born we lay in our room together, I in my bed and she under the warming lamp next to me. I would doze in and out to the sound of that song and when I opened my eyes I would look at her and smile. She was a doll, a muneca (Spanish for doll) as her nanita called her. And she was mine!
Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
In 1995, Honolulu, Hawaii my 3rd child came along. It had been 5 years since giving birth to my little girl so it was just a little bit scary to be going through this again. My second husband had two little girls so I was praying for a son. And God answered that prayer and He gave me peace through out the entire process! Even when something went wrong during labor. The doctor had told me to walk around for a while to get my contractions moving, that it would be hours before we would have the baby. Just 15 minutes later I went into full blown labor. It all happened so fast that everyone was stunned and my husband was pale. Besides the labor pains, I was very calm about the whole thing…he was coming, that is all I kept thinking. It was not until later that they realized I had a placenta abruption which meant the baby was with out blood and oxygen for a very short period of time and was not breathing when he was delivered. I had felt him moving before he came out but I had a peace in my heart that he would be ok. Within in minutes of his birth I heard a little squeaky cry. He was my miracle baby! It was a whole day before I could hold him because he had to stay in NICU for 5 days but he responded so well to the antibiotics they decided we could go home by the 3rd day. So I took my “miracle” son home to join our family.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6
I remember feeling somewhat fearful when I found out I was pregnant for the 4th time. I kept thinking silently “how could I possibly have 4 healthy children?” Would something go wrong since my last birth was so difficult? They did tell me that I might have complications carrying a baby to full term. So needless to say I had some trepidations about everything…I really had to learn to trust God during this time.
Another thought I kept having was how would I be able to love all of my kids at one time? I was overwhelmed with the fact that I would be responsible for 4 human beings. I wondered why I did not have these thoughts before. I just couldn’t fathom how a mother could split her love between a husband and 4 children.
The day he arrived, we had a long wait. I remember thinking during labor that none of the other births hurt this much or took this long. About an hour after it was all over I told my husband my chest felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. It hurt to breath. Every muscle, even ones I didn’t know I had, was screaming in sore pain.
But in the very moment they brought my little baby into my room and laid him in my arms it all faded away. I looked into his little eyes and every fear and question that crossed my mind disappeared. My heart was so overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord. Without even hesitating I began to sing “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me. Bless His Holy name. He hath done great things, He hath done great things, Bless His Holy Name” (Psalm 103) With every word that came out there were 10 tears falling down my face. God’s love washed over me and the idea came to me in that instant that if a mother can love more than one child in such a way so much the more can God’s love wash over the world. This child, my 4th child was perfect as perfect a baby could be.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Our lives are bittersweet and in the end I believe the sweetness overcomes the bitter when we can look back at all God did in our lives. God has taught me many lessons in all of these events and it sort of all came together when I laid eyes on the portrait. All the events of our lives, good or bad, pale in comparison to what we will experience in Heaven and what we can take to Heaven. His blessings are not in the material we gain here on earth but are eternal…it will not be the works I have done here on earth it will be my children I can take to Heaven and their childrens children. I believe there is no greater blessing on earth, than to share Jesus in Heaven with my family!
September 2007 taken by Portrait Innovations
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psalm 103: 1-2