A Lesson Worth Learning

Babies, babies and more babies. For the past week and a half I have been doing nothing but eating, sleeping and dreaming babies. My husband Kyle and I are foster parents for our local county and have taken in a number of children over the past four years. But we’ve only had one baby during all these years. So a few weeks ago when I got a call for a placement of ten-month-old twins, I was excited. I love babies! If one is good, two is even better! It has only been a couple short years since my youngest children (now 3 and 4) were babies, but all I could remember was the way they smell, how small they were and oh, how cute!

My husband eyed me suspiciously when at dinner that night I told him about the twins and that I’d already said we would do it.

“Twins?” He stated. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I replied. “It’ll be fun!”

“Okay. If you want to do it, I’m okay with it,” he said, shaking his head.

My husband has many wonderful qualities, including being a man who loves kids and is willing to go along with most of my crazy schemes.

Over the weekend we set up our house for babies once more. We put up beds, pulled out and washed off high chairs, borrowed gates and bought diapers, wipes, lotion: all of the essentials.

When Monday morning came, we went to pick up the boys from the county offices. They were just as I had thought: so cute, so sweet. I felt ready and up to the challenge. We took them home and got them settled in. It was great…for the first few hours.

But then reality began to slowly settle in. Babies, although very cute and sweet, are also a lot of work. Suddenly dinner times became more complicated. I now had two children that I once again have to feed. Naps were challenging because the boys hadn’t been on a schedule. The nights were hard because they were used to getting up at least once each. After the first couple days I felt a bit ragged and worn out.

I found myself trying to find a way out of this uncomfortable situation that I was in. I’m not super mom! I cried to the Lord. This is more work than I remember! I like my older kids who can do so much for themselves! I miss my sleep! God, why do I do this to myself?

As I sat crying to God, he reminded me that my initial response to doing a 21-day fast the month before, was similar to my response to these two little ones. I have big ideas about how wonderful something will be, but when the reality isn't quite like I dreamed, I try to find a way out, an easement for my discomfort. And as I pondered this about myself and my tendency to always look for a loophole, I thought, What could God be trying to teach me in the midst of this discomfort, while I am trying to wiggle my way out? What could I learn if I just chose to sit here, and not look for a way out myself?

And here’s what he’s been showing me the past couple of days:

  • It’s okay to ask for help. I have been blessed by a large network of family and friends who have been more than willing to help me out these past couple weeks and it’s been easier knowing they’re there. All I had to do was ask!
  • It’s okay to say you’re overwhelmed. I have cried to my husband and shared with a few close friends that things are tough and their encouragement and prayers have made all the difference.
  • It’s okay to let something else go. I was supposed to speak at my church this Sunday. I was feeling stressed, not sure how I'd have time to prep a message, when I hardly had time to shower every day! I struggled with feeling like I wasn't following through on a commitment I made. After talking it over with Kyle I emailed our head pastor who was totally understanding (he has twins himself) and I was able to release myself of the responsibility.

Three things: they seem so simple, but for some reason in my life, they’ve been challenging to do. Maybe its because its humbling to ask for help or say you’re overwhelmed. Maybe it’s hard to let things go. But this is where I am, and this is what God’s teaching me more and more about trusting him, about being human and honest with others about myself and my imperfections.

And it’s a lesson worth learning.

 About the Author: ruth_experience-37Kendra Roehl is a wife and mother of three (soon to be four) with a masters degree in Social Work. She's also an author, blogger, foster and adoptive parent. She lives in St. Cloud Minnesota where she enjoy throwing parties and writing about the everyday life. You can read more of her musings at theruthexperience.blogspot.com.