About a week ago, my husband told me that my oldest daughter, 8, (Child #1) had told my dad (still with me?) that she wasn't getting much sleep at night. She said it was because her younger sister, 1.5, (Child #4) would bother her - she would climb into her bed and try to play with her, including her favorite game, which is to find your belly button (this, along with her squeals of joy and how she says "belly belly belly" is completely adorable and no one can resist ... except perhaps in the middle of the night). This, for some reason, because I was about 4 weeks postpartum, broke my heart and made me angry. I internally yelled at God. Why couldn't we have fewer kids? My kids can't even sleep at night! Why couldn't He give us a bigger house? Why does life have to be so hard for us? What am I doing wrong? My poor girl is not able to sleep at night!  And on and on my internal tirade went, complete with tears and feelings of being a complete failure. That day had actually been a really good day until that point, and my focus had been on trusting God. So, I (rather angrily) told God, "You fix this. You have to fix this." I expected He would make #4 sleep better, without bothering #1. I knew I was tired and hormonal, so I went to bed, still very upset. I woke up the next morning feeling both a bit ashamed over my reaction and the same sadness that my oldest was having to sacrifice sleep because she had to share a room with her sister. I feel like there's a fine line: older siblings should help and contribute without making them bear a large part of the burden of younger siblings and their care, so not having a solution for this made me feel like I wasn't doing my job as her mom.

Fast forward to two days ago, a friend posted on Facebook that she had bunk beds she was selling. I bypassed the post entirely, until Scott asked if we should ask about them for the girls' room. My first reaction was, "We don't have the money." and then "Why?" The more we thought about it, the more we realized that if we had bunk beds in their room, #1 could cuddle and read with #4 - one thing we all love about them sharing a room - and then go back up to her bunk where her sister couldn't reach! Brilliant! We worked it out with our friend, and got the bunk beds all set up this evening. What's even better is that a few weeks ago, another family friend approached me to say that she knew her daughter's quilt and my daughter's quilt were the same, and she didn't need hers anymore, so did I want it? I almost turned her down, thinking that #4 would be in her toddler bed, and whenever we bought a house they wouldn't share anymore... but she was excited and I found myself saying sure! [You have to understand how much I like matching and coordinating. Ever since my youngest son was born, they have shared a room, so they have also always had matching blankets. It makes me happy, even if I know it is entirely unnecessary.] Tonight, I put two of my girls to bed in their new beds, with matching quilts, the oldest safely out of reach.

Look up top. That is one happy little girl. 

Did I mention these bunk beds have little shelves above their heads? I've always liked that kind (a friend had them growing up). More importantly, it gives #1 a little bit of personal space, something that a young girl with 2 younger brothers and who shares her room with a 1-year old sister doesn't get much of. Something that I have coveted for her for a long time. She had her own room until about a year ago, when  #4 moved in, which wasn't too bad until she grew out of her crib. Then, she had nothing. She's had to hide and constantly move her special things, and sometimes throw them out when one of the youngers ruined it. My heart hurts when that happens. It might just be a picture she drew, but it's heartbreaking when she sees that one of them has ruined something her 8-year old heart cherished. What makes it even harder is that she generally has a good attitude about it. She gets this resigned look on her face and says, "Oh." and retrieves what's left. To give her one little shelf to hold and hide all her little girl treasures makes my heart smile. What's better is, I didn't ask for that. God knew it, though. He knew the desires of my heart - and hers, I'm sure - and granted them when I didn't even think to ask. He fixed my problem and threw in the solution to another one as well.

Now, I feel like such a doof. I mean, really. I angrily told God to fix it, and I don't really know if I truly expected Him to do it. I certainly didn't expect to have the answer a week later. The idea of bunk beds never crossed my mind. So, remind me, why do I have such a hard time trusting Him??


My mom asked me the other day, “What is it about having another baby that’s so bad?” And I didn’t really have a good answer. She said it was that it wasn’t in my plans, and that’s a part of it - a big part, even. But there’s something more. There’s something about it that made my faith fall and threaten to shatter into a million pieces, and I can’t place it. 

I think I feel like God failed me, which, when I think about the circumstances, is weird. Over and over again I’ve heard from well-meaning mouths, “Oh, well God just wanted you to have another one!” or “God must have special plans for this one/you.” We’ve had surprise pregnancies before - 3 others, in fact (a whole other post). But, with those, I could clearly trace back to some little - or big - thing that could make it my fault (don’t worry, no details forthcoming). This time, we crossed all our t’s, dotted all the i’s. Hubby had a vasectomy. He had a 6-month test. Test came back negative. One month later, I’m pregnant (although we didn’t know for another few weeks). This is weird because this was the time I thought *I* had it all under control. I wasn’t relying on God to not get pregnant, I was relying solely on my decisions. All those other times, when I made mistakes, that’s when it was “up to God” to stop it, right? This time, I was saying, “We got this! No worries, it’s all under control here.” 

But this time, it’s either a mistake from the doctor, or God who made it happen. Or, most likely, both - God used a mistake from the doctor to give us Jordan. I had to stop after writing that, and smile at His ways. He gave us Jordan. After we decided on the name (after she was born), my dad told me that the Jordan River is symbolic of obedience in the Bible. Jesus was baptized there, an act of obedience. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River in obedience to go into the Promised Land. So, God gave us obedience when we were trying to control our life. And, once we accepted obedience as the right course of action, we were blessed. (more on her name later, it's good stuff, if I do say so myself)

I look at her now, peacefully sleeping, and wonder why I did think it was so bad. And I remember times when she’s screaming, the 18-month old is trying to pat her too hard, the 3-year old is yelling and fighting with the 5-year old and the 8-year old is yelling “STOP FIGHTING!” in an attempt to help. All those times when I feel like the stress of this many kids is going to swallow me whole. All those times when I look around and think simply, “I can’t do this.” But that’s what He wants, isn’t it? He wants me to turn to Him and say, “I can’t. You go ahead.” 

I guess, again and again, it comes back to who is in control. I have to rely on God even more now. I don’t have the resources for 5 kids. I don’t have the time, patience, or money to do all that I want for my kids. So, I have to turn to him and let Him take care of them. Which is what He was wanting all along. I was mad because I wanted to handle life without needing Him. I wanted to manage, like I had been, struggling with my 4, but doing so on my own (and by on my own, I mean, me and Scott). I didn't want to have to rely on Him. Me in control. My plans, my work, my reward. Apparently, God has more for me. HIS plans, HIS work through me, HIS GLORY, His blessings. I keep forgetting that this life is not about me. It’s about Him and what He wants and His glory, not my plans or my control or my ability to handle things. So, maybe Mom was right ... at least a little bit. ;) [love you, Mom!]