Thursday, August 18, 2011

doing life with Jesus

Whoa. Talk about a serious blog break! But due to the events and adjustments of these past months, it was probably a good thing I didn't post much. Ok, anything!

To catch you up, on March 28th at 12:03 PM {after God blessed me AND Luke AND Claire with just FOUR hours of labor} we welcomed the most beautiful baby girl into the Keiffer family. Here she is...boxing gloves and all:

And here I am with my babies. Well one baby and a very big boy:

Please excuse the post baby stomach and water retention. Clearly, this look was also part of The Curse. Thanks, Eve.

In all seriousness, though, I think one of my favorite things about having 2 little ones is watching them interact. At first, Austin was not so sure about this little human that cried loudly and often. It probably didn't help that she was too little to recognize her big brother and look at him adoringly. That usually helps me like someone better.

Just sayin.

After a few weeks, something wonderful happend. Brooke started smiling!

 And looking at her brother in complete awe and adoration.

I'm not even kidding when I say that she does not look at anyone else the way she looks at him. It's just all kinds of fabulousness!

Doesn't that just make your heart melt? Mine too.

While I would love to say that the last four and a half months have been picture perfect, that would be a lie. A big one. I think one of the reasons we don't remember the challenging times when we look back at certain seasons is because WE DIDN'T DOCUMENT THEM WITH PICTURES! Am I right or am I right?! The fact that the good times far outweigh the bad probably has something to do with it too. 

At the beginning of this pregnancy, God told me that our next little one would be our "joy in the morning." He told me again after we found out it was a girl. That's when I started to wonder if maybe their was some ulterior motive for telling me this. Can God even have ulterior motives? Probably not. Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe He was telling me this because I would need to remember it later. Have you ever heard that phrase "You hit the nail on the head?" Yeah. Totally applies here.

The first few weeks were filled with the usual adjustments that come with a newborn. You know, things like 3 hours of sleep at a time {if you're lucky}, house arrest {because you don't want strangers touching your new baby with no immune system. Why would they even think that's ok?!}, and the realization that your Eating For Two Diet is officially over. But in our case, there were some added bonuses as well. I guess you could say it was a two for one kind of a deal.

Two words: Acid. Reflux.

Major bummer. We're talking projectile vomiting, screaming for hours, and very little sleep. I will never forget the Saturday morning that Luke and I put Brooke in her stroller for a walk after 2 hours of screaming in a last ditch effort to get her to quit crying and sleep. It did the trick. Within minutes, our sweet girl was sleeping soundly. As we walked, we told each other that one day we would look back on these weeks and laugh.

I don't recall smoking crack during that time period, but I was also operating on the least amount of sleep I've ever gotten in my life so my memory is fuzzy at best. I'm still not convinced that we will ever laugh about those first few weeks, but there is one thing I can look back and say with certainty.

God's grace is sufficient for today and His mercies are new every single morning.

I just thought life was challenging with one little person. This new chapter has rocked my world completely compared to that.

Being a mom is the hardest, most challenging thing I will ever do. Hands down. It is physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. There are days that I fail my children. Miserably. No, really. At the end of the day we are all miserable due to my poor attitude. I never thought I'd see the day when going to the bathroom ALONE was the highlight of my day or eating a hot meal was a huge accomplishment. I don't even remember what life was like before the madness that is The Bedtime Routine.

But the truth is, this job is not just a job to me. It's my calling. Austin and Brooke are my mission field. Every day God gives me the chance to change their lives. What I choose to do with that opportunity is up to me.

No one ever said that ministry...of any kind...would be glamorous. My ministry as a mommy is no different. I change dirty diapers, have spit up on my clothes, wipe noses and bottoms. But when I look back on these days, I will remember how I memorized the way Brooke smelled as I held her close and rocked her to sleep. I'll remember having heart-to-heart talks with Austin as I tucked him into bed. I dry their tears, celebrate their victories, and fight for their souls on my knees. 

I was recently reminded of this verse on a great blog:

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)     

How humbling, right?

 When I lose my patience with either of them, I've lost my patience with Jesus. When I put them first and myself last, I've chosen to put Jesus first. I change His diaper everyday and fix Him macaroni and cheese. I answer His questions, and heaven knows, I've put His paci back in His mouth AT LEAST a million times. Daily. 

And while I'm doing all these things for Him, He is molding and shaping my character. He never gives up. Never loses His patience. Never complains about my shortcomings. 

I can't say that I've done the same for Him even though He deserves it far more than I do. 

So I'm going to write this verse out, tape it up somewhere I can see it often {like the pantry...hey! it's not easy to give up the Diet for Two}, and memorize it. Each day, I want to choose to treat my children the way I would treat Jesus.

Because he is our gift:

And she is our joy:

And they are the treasures God has entrusted to me for just a short time. I will choose to soak up the good times and persevere through the challenges. I will make memories and do life with them. I will see Jesus when I look at them.

Because I want them to see Him when they look at me.