6 years ago,this month, my husband and I jumped into the uncharted waters of parenthood. Hand in hand, eyes tightly closed, we went feet first, hoping to come out alive.
One cold January afternoon we brought home a sweet baby boy, 7 pounds 8 ounces of pure…. misery. (Yes, you read that right!) He had tummy issues, so he cried and screamed his little head off the first 6 months of his life. My husband and I looked at each other (on several occasions) and shaking our heads, we asked, “What have we done!”.
We waded through deep waters those first months, sorting out our roles and dividing the responsibilities that come with being a parent. My maternal instinct was severely strong and I wanted to be in control of every second of my baby’s life, so it was difficult for me to allow my husband to navigate his own path. While my mom was staying with us she told me to try to restrain myself from rescuing Denver EVERY.TIME.DAXX.CRIED, and to let him figure out his own way to sooth him. This little nugget of advice could be what has saved our marriage. When she told me this, I am sure she could see my need for control start rising to the surface in the midst of a situation that I had no control at all. She intervened at the perfect moment, and her words opened my eyes to the fact that Denver and I were on this journey together, walking side by side, and as I was hashing out my own path, so was he.
As I reflect on the past 6 years of our (almost) 10 year marriage, I can surely tell you that these past six years have been the best, deepest, most sincere years of our marriage. Having children could have easily pushed us apart and driven a wedge between my husband and I, but we have made a conscious effort to work against that. Having children has only made our marriage stronger. I tell people, it is as if our relationship went from a black and white, monochromatic scene to a full color action comedy. (Do action comedies exist?)
I mean, first off all having kids has really spiced up our bedroom life…
Date nights have never been the same
And it has definitely redefined our definition of a “Vacation”
Now, back to the serious stuff… well, actually all of those pictures are true, ha!
John 15:13 says, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. And while this verse was foreshadowing the death of Christ, parenting is the tangible picture of this kind of self-sacrificing love. Over and over again, Denver has laid down his life for our family. We have both made countless decisions to place the needs of our kids over our own desires and to intentionally put each other first because we know this adventure is wearing and undeniably tiring.
We are stronger today because:
– We choose humor over bitterness
-We recognize when the other spouse needs a break
-We validate each other’s efforts and audibly recognize their sacrifice
-We intentionally prioritize our relationship a couple, over our roles as parents.
-We recognize that our relationship with the Lord set’s our ability to perform in the roles we are responsible for. (i.e.:husband wife, father, mother, friend, employee) So we must give ultimate priority to finding balance in Scripture and giving control to Christ, daily.
Today, Denver and I still look at each other and ask, “What have we done!?”. But instead it is …
-What have we done to deserve such a joy?!
-What have we done to deserve such hope?!!
-What have we done to deserve such life?!!!
1 Corinthians 15:10 says “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.“ Which tells me that we did nothing to deserve these things; these beautiful children, this joy in our home, this life of wonder. But instead, it is by the Grace of God that he has brought us through those deep waters of early years of parenting, where our tired eyes meet and with agony we ask ourself, “How will we do this”, “What have we done”, and “Why!”….
Marriage is tough work, and when you throw in parenting a child or two (or three), it becomes impossible….Buuuut, when you bathe it in the grace and truth offered to you through Jesus, the impossible once again becomes possible, those incapable suddenly become capable and a miracle happens inside the four walls of your home, and you will look at each other and ask “What have we done… to deserve this!” .
(Oh, and I completely realize I have a lifetime to sort this all out because my job of mothering has just began… This post is to encourage those of us who are wading through the years of young children, and have made it through those years of total and utter shock! 😉 )