One evening while we were on our beach vacation back in April, we came across a young couple who were chasing around their three small kids on the shore. Our kids started running around with theirs, so since I was expecting our third at the time, I struck up a conversation with the parents by asking, “So, what's it like having three anyway?”
The dad joked in his country accent, “Well, I woulda advised you against it, but I can see I'm too late.”
I laughed, and even though I wasn't quite there yet, I knew what he meant. It's always a little crazy adding to the mix.
My two big kids are growing up so fast, and I want to give them all I can, yet I have spent so much time in the last year unable to be at my best for them. I was too pregnant and too nauseated or too tired or too uncomfortable for several months, and now the new little one requires so much attention that I feel like this summer completely ran away from us. I think about how I want to be doing more with them right now and how guilty I sometimes feel that I have to divide myself up even more, but they don't even notice any of that. They are loving every minute of each day. They are loving their baby sister. And they hug me and tell me how much they love me every night.
Those kids give me grace.
My 2-month-old is a great night sleeper (fingers crossed it stays that way) but is a fierce little nap fighter during the day. I think my butt is permanently imprinted in the recliner from spending so much time nursing. It gets better each day, and I'm figuring her out, but I don't always know exactly what she wants. As I forge ahead, trying to meet the demands of a newborn without getting too frustrated, I don't always succeed. But at night I lie in the dark and listen to her little squeaks and contented sighs coming from the bassinet next to me as she drifts off, satisfied, and I know she loves her mama.
That baby gives me grace.
In the midst of all this activity, I often feel that I've forgotten how to pray. I struggle to put into words what I want to say to my heavenly Father and don't often enough remember to talk to Him. I brush that communication aside to meet the many needs around me and manage just fine, or so I think, until I remember that I need guidance and wisdom in order to do any of this life stuff right. Of all the frustrations I face, I have the hardest time with the ones that come from within. But He knows every one of them and loves me just the same.
That Father gives me grace.
As this little family travels along its path, I hear the clock ticking along with the steady pace of the kids' growth. I want to keep them small enough to fit in my arms, to keep them close enough to rest their heads upon my chest. I want to know what lies ahead so I can prepare them for it. But I can't, so I savor the sweetest moments, the ones I'll always have to hold on to.
Even time gives me grace.
I wouldn't advise anyone against any of it – because even in all of the messy madness, the fleeting failures, and the crazy chaos, grace surrounds us. Grace carries us through.
I wish I knew how to give it as freely as it is so often given to me.