Friday, September 30, 2011

Learning to Love

My husband and I went to dinner this week at Outback to celebrate my getting hired at a new job. My mother watched our twin girls, so it was nice to go out on a date just the two of us. During our conversation, I told him that it's easy for me to love him. From the moment I first met him, I fell in love with him and as our relationship has progressed, my love has grown stronger and deeper. With our girls it's not the same way. I feel like loving them is a lot of work and I wish I loved them like I hear other parents talk about loving their children ("the first moment I saw them I never knew a love like that existed," "I couldn't imagine loving someone more than I loved my spouse,"...blah blah blah).

You see, when I delivered my girls, they were immediately taken to the NICU because of their being born 5 weeks early. So, I delivered Audrey first, they let me kiss her head and then I delivered Grace, kissed her head and then they had to finish up some things with me before I was taken back to my birthing suite. My girls went to the NICU with my husband while I was wheeled back to the room to recover and rest. My husband took many trips to the NICU with various family members to show off our girls. The nurses in the NICU took pictures of the girls for me to see since it would be awhile before I was physically capable of going to see them. When Brandon brought me the pictures, he set them on my lap and said, "Aren't our girls beautiful?" I looked at the pictures and right away replied, "No, they aren't" and I thought that. Audrey was making fish lips and bug eyes, Gracie had scrunched up her forehead and looked like an old man. What's funny is that as soon as I delivered the girls, Brandon's eyes were glued to them. He instantly fell in love - me...not so much. It has taken lots of time for me to fall in love with them and oftentimes I still struggle with loving them unconditionally and I wish it wasn't such work for me to love them.

After I told Brandon how I felt, He asked me a very important question, "Do you think that's how God feels about us? That we take lots of work to love sometimes?" With that question, I began to realize that God loves me even when it's hard to love me, when I am not acting loveable towards Him, when I am doing things that anger Him, disappoint Him or even against Him - yet, He loves me the same as when I do things that honor, delight and glorify Him. He doesn't love me just for what I will become, but who I am now. So, with that being said, I am praying that He teaches me to love my girls the same way - right where they are at, when they frustrate me and when they delight me...unconditionally.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Provided For, part II

My husband and I are on vacation with our twins for the first time. What a treat! My sister gave us some of her time share points, so we could get away. We asked my husband's mother to accompany us so that it could actually still be a vacation for us. (Anyone with very young children must understand this, lol).

We decided to go to the mall to do a little bit of shopping and to get out of our room. At the mall we walked past lots of children's clothing stores and though I wanted to go in to each and every one of them just to browse, we didn't. For two reasons: 1) The girls don't need any clothes right now, 2) We can't afford for me to buy clothes for them and 3) There is no way we could get them home (you see, packing for two babies, myself, my husband, his mother all in our 4-door sedan (even though its family-size) was quite an accomplishment, but doesn't allow us ANY extra room. And yes, I know that was three reasons and not two). What's so beautiful about this problem is that because the Lord literally has surrounded us with generous friends and family, our girls have all the clothes they need. All the gently used and new clothes that have been given to them have been a HUGE blessing. Even more, they always look cute. Their clothes match, have variety and they have more than enough (even with how many times a day we change them because of how much they spit up.)

When I want to buy new clothes for them, I think about this verse:

Mathew 6:28-30
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?"

Thank you Lord for making sure our girls are clothed, as beautiful as you clothe the flowers!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The power of Guilt

Since becoming a mom (my girls are 11 weeks today!!!), I have struggled with incredible amounts of guilt. I have heard other moms talk about feeling guilty for various reasons when it came to their children, but I often didn't have much compassion or understanding for them. Until now.

There are so many decisions I have had to make concerning our girls and I have felt the weight of other people's expectations with them. Even more, I have felt the weight of my own expectations. Many of them I didn't even know I had for myself. It's incredible how my perceptions of what kind of mom I should be could have so much condemnation with it.

Every time I read a website like babycenter.com that talks about the milestones my girls will be reaching (even for their adjusted age being that they are preemies), I feel incredible disappointment and failure in myself because I cannot provide or accomplish all the things they suggest I should. Having twins is a whole different way of parenting. And it's hard to compare my girls to a singleton baby at the same age (even an adjusted age). Parents will offer all kinds of unsolicited advice trying to be helpful or supportive, but at times it just feels like another way I am not measuring up.

Through all of this, the Lord has been speaking to me again and again telling me to find my identity as a mother in Him. I should only live to meet His standards/expectations for me. When I focus on the Lord, I live in contentment, peace and freedom.