Oh man... I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this season of life. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of frustrated moments... daily. My kids know how to push every single one of my buttons. Dave was away in Norway this weekend, and honestly? There were moments I thought I'd lose the plot. Back chat... bickering... attitude. You name it. Its a constant refining process, for us and them. The learning curve never stops, the challenges adapt and change and I often feel like I'm on the back foot. I still truly believe there is nothing so humbling, nothing that has revealed the extent of my own selfishness and sin, and nothing that has stretched my patience quite like parenting!
But truly, this season is wonderful too... these personalities developing and growing. There have been some truly beautiful moments, some wonderful deep and meaningfuls, and despite the bickering, real genuine friendships between my little sibling crew. I'm loving the depth that comes as they grow up and begin to form opinions and become a bit more independent. The steps of independence are hard - probably more hard for us than for them (letting go is not my strong suit!) but nevertheless, they come with their own little strands of blessing!
The older kids are well settled at school... Ava went away on her first school camp last week for two nights. It was really odd not having her at home, and bizarrely quiet (which is weird as she is probably the member of our family that makes the least noise!)... but just goes to show that when any one member is missing, everything seems slightly out of kilter! Initially, the other kids revelled in the extra attention, but by the end we were all willing her back! She is a calming presence and four children balances the equilibrium that I always seem to struggle with when there are only three (it always seems to end up with one being left out!). Heids of course was delighted to have her best buddy home, and took great joy in revealing the surprise we had planned - I'm hoping to share that on here next week!
Little Li-Li has decided to potty train, and I've followed the lead. So far, he is proving mercifully to take to it pretty well (maybe fourth child determined-ness to be like the big kids!) but I'm cautious to say we've nailed it yet. Time will tell!
The Easter break was wonderful... the highlight being our time away at Word Alive. This week continues to be such a gift to us... all of us grew SO MUCH, and were both sad to leave and excited to put what we'd been challenged on into practice. The kids came away full of it - gunge and memory verses, crafts and things they'd learned, and Dave and I enjoyed time learning together, and spending time with our church family. It, and the gloriously sunshiney Easter weekend, were definitely the highlights of our April!
And so now we hurtle towards May and all that that entails - months seem to whizz by. Each one bringing new milestones for me to get my head around! I think the constant adaptation of growing children is the Lord's current means of grace in my life. I don't think I've ever been more reliant on him in a day to day sense than I feel in this season (other than dark valleys when the reliance takes on a whole new depth)... I daily need grace, patience, wisdom, discernment and help to be generous and kind... I wish could say they came naturally, but with so many little people around me, the struggle is real when it comes to need for personal space and patience! Thankfully the Lord is ever patient with me!
So I'll leave you with some pictures from a gorgeous walk we did on Easter Saturday. It was a beautiful day, and is always a precious reminder for me. It was on Easter Saturday that our littlest love was born and when things could have gone so horribly wrong. Easter Saturday will always hold a special place in my heart as a day where new life was borne out of darkness... seems beautifully appropriate, don't you think?
Now bring on May!