Saturday, September 21, 2013
Our Story, Part 7
Life after Abby was born was very full...and very stressful. I had a hard time adjusting to taking care of a 3-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a newborn. The winter that year was very cold and snowy. With giant piles of snow blocking the shoveled sidewalks from the plowed roads, I couldn't go anywhere on my own. It was a looooong winter and I was glad for spring!
But spring didn't bring all of the relief that I was hoping it would.
Being able to easily take the kids out for a walk was a step in the right direction, but the change of season didn't change the day to day stresses of having a small crew of littles in a small apartment. And it certainly didn't change the stress and burn out that Claude and I were both facing as we continued to minister in varying capacities at our church.
We both enjoyed ministry and wanted to be serving in our church family as much as possible. The problem was that our ministry focus really needed to be at home with our children but we were trying to keep it focused outward - toward the church. It was a recipe for frustration, if nothing else!
The Lord used it, however, to get our focus where it needed to be - in our home. From before we had Hannah, I was working on a toddler Bible curriculum for our church's nursery. I loved working on it and I especially loved teaching the lessons to the children at church, but I was getting tired and the demands at home were increasing rapidly.
One day I came to a realization that I was investing more of my time and attention to this curriculum than I was to my own children. How could I be ministering to other people's kids on Sundays and yet be giving my own young children the leftovers of my resources? It's hard to believe, but that's exactly what I was doing. I'd like to say that I made changes right then and there...but I didn't.
By the time we were expecting the Little Four, Claude and I were both in complete burn out mode in ministry. We were done. We had nothing left to give. We were also feeling the need for housing that would better accommodate our family. Laundry in the basement, no parking, and other factors made little tasks feel impossible.
We were also stressed because neighbors would sometimes knock on our door to "see if everything is okay" when the kids would cry. And when you have two toddlers and an infant there are times when all three of them are crying. It just happens and it doesn't mean that anything is wrong. But it drove home the fact that we needed to be some place where we could deal with the every day challenges of our little family without being in plain view and hearing of strangers.
We desperately needed more space.
So, we started praying. For months we prayed and sought the Lord about what to do. We started an extensive housing search, trying to find something affordable within a reasonable commute of Claude's workplace. And we kept coming up empty-handed.
When the Little Four was born in July, 2012, we were overjoyed!
But we were probably at our lowest point in terms of feeling frustrated with being in the crowded and expensive Northeast. We were doing our best to trust God to move us into a better living situation, but things didn't look very promising. And in addition, we were still feeling torn between serving our family and serving the church (two things that, at the time, could not co-exist well), we were crying out to the Lord for wisdom and a clear leading.
When we named Jeremiah we liked the meaning, but it wasn't until a couple weeks after his birth that it hit me. His name means "Yahweh has uplifted" and his middle name (Samuel) means "God has heard". Not only was he cute and cuddly, but Jeremiah was an encouragement to us in an uncertain time. We may have still been waiting for God's answer, but we knew that He had heard our prayers and was uplifting us - giving us grace through each day and making a way for a new stage in our journey with Him!
To be continued...