As I am approaching my due date, many thoughts and emotions are going through my head. I'm thinking of all of the things that need to get done before this baby arrives and I am trying to accomplish those things little by little. Doing too much tires me out and doing too little frustrates me to no end. Am I nesting? I don't know. I've always been a busy person and love to have things organized. That doesn't mean that I am organized, but I sure try to be! With seven kids, I stay very occupied, and knowing there's another little person coming is a huge motivating factor for me to keep going. I have to have things ready for the birth. Do I have my rice sock to give me comfort for the inevitable back pain I usually get during those contractions? Check. How about my tiny jar of peppermint essential oil? Check. I respond quite well to certain scents, peppermint being very relaxing to me. Do I have baby blankets and clothes? Check. The last time, little Esther came so soon that I was rummaging through my baby bins during labor! When the contractions were too strong, I just told my Hubby to have some blankets and gowns ready. The baby wouldn't care.
Not only do I need to be ready to welcome this little blessing, but the house should be somewhat clean and organized to the point that Hubby and the other kids can run things when I'm off of my feet. I can't guarantee the dishes will be done when I go into labor, but I can make sure everyone has some clean clothes for that time. We are in the middle of the summer to fall/winter switch. When I finally start this endeavor, I enjoy seeing how God has provided clothes over the years for all of the kids. We've been able to use hand-me downs for all of them. Clothes do wear out, so we have to buy some new, but for the most part, we always have what we need. When I enter our storage room, it's like going to a Goodwill store and selecting what we need.
Remembering that our home school will be on break when the baby comes also motivates me to keep going with our studies. There are days I'm not feeling my best, so we read more during those times and I assign work making sure the kids know I'm available for questions, but my oldest is also a great teacher's assistant. She can help teach the basics if I'm resting. I do feel like I've been a bit of a slave driver over the last few weeks, but we've gotten a lot done and I can see that even the children are feeling a sense of accomplishment. They are definitely looking forward to the break, but I'm thankful for their good attitudes and hard work. I have realized their need to just spend some down time with Mom, too. I love the discussions we have during our morning devotions and the one on one time I get with the older ones. The younger ones also enjoy when Mommy just takes a break and reads a good book to them or sings a song with them.
The Lord has been impressing on my heart how much more time I need to spend with Him. This is always true, but I tend to be so busy fluttering around the house or I'm praying with the children that I don't take that time to be completely alone with Him. So, I am taking even more time to pray for this new baby. I am praying for each of our children. I am praying for my husband. I am praying for the Lord to prepare us for yet another change as we finally get to meet this child. I'm praying for a good birth. Most of all, I'm praying that God will teach me how to trust Him more and how to continue keep my eyes on Him. There are some tough times ahead. Labor is never something I'm excited about, and yet, I so look forward to meeting the little one that I've carried for so long. The days following will be challenging, too, but I know God will bring us through it as our lives will be changed for the eighth time. I am so thankful that God is blessing us again.
All of this preparation time and the birth itself reminds me of a race. A runner spends much time preparing to run. Training, eating well and getting plenty of rest are all things a runner must to do to be ready to run. Of course, in my case, it's more of a waddle. Even waddling requires quite a bit of effort. I am running a race, but as Christians, aren't we all? Some of us may not be taking care of ourselves like we should. Some of us have let our training slide and we aren't resting in the Lord, but it's still a race.
The apostle Paul said, " Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever"(I Cor.9:25). Are we running for a crown that will last forever or are we merely surviving from day to day? Are we running with all of our might and wanting to win or has our run slowed into a walk? Are we keeping our eyes on God and training in His Word or have we lost sight of the goal, sometimes even stepping off of the path to serve ourselves? Are we willing to face the hard times and to run until this race is over? Through the Lord's strength, we have to run this race wholeheartedly, keeping our eyes on the One who gave His all for us. There is a purpose in every thing we face in this life and it's all for God's glory. That means we need to be on our knees more, soaking in His precious Word and reminding ourselves why we are running.
So, when I finally get to look into this little one's eyes for the first time, I'm going to remember not only the race I just completed, but the race I will continue to run until He calls me home. What an awesome calling we have to run. Are you running?
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God"(Hebrews 12:1-2).