I am sitting up right now in a very different position than I was in 3 years ago.  Three years ago I was coming toward the end of my 5 weeks of bed rest.  I was waiting and praying that everything would check out the next day at my doctor’s appointment – little did I know we would be meeting Lauren on December 13, 2011.

To say the last few years have had ups and downs would be an understatement.  They have been filled with highs soaring up to the tops of Kilimanjaro and lows plunging to the depths of the sea.  These ups and downs have been filled with this list of lessons we’ve learned:

1.  Parenting is hard.  It’s exhausting and IT IS WORTH IT.  Nothing could make my life filled with more joy than my children.  I could have more money.  I could have naps every day, but no amount of leisure or wealth can ever make our family more whole than Lauren and Ethan.  In three years I learned that through all the tears and the joy there’s this thing that happens with every smile they give me and every milestone they reach that I change a little.  I become better, and in that moment I realize why God made me.

2.  Disciplining your baby sucks!  Last night was supposed to be my own special alone time with Lauren, but her attitude was terrible.  She threw a fit up until the point of us walking out of the door so I cancelled our date, and it sucked.  I deserved that time to get to be with her and have fun, but the bigger battle is that she knows that I will always be consistent.

3.  Everyone has growing pains – moms and dads too.  It’s a joy and it’s pain to watch your babies grow.  It is a hard thing to even understand unless you’ve been there.  I remember after her last birthday I was playing with her, and Lauren said, “I do it by myself!” She then handed me a book and said, “Go read Mama!”  It broke my heart.  Really, truly hurt.  It’s incredible to watch her gain independence, but every step she takes into doing things on her own makes me proud and more aware of the dilithium crystals my life is fueled by.

4.  Your first ministry is to your family.  I will now share the best moment that has happened since Lauren has been born.  It would seem impossible to pinpoint one, but as of a few weeks ago I now know what that moment is.  Every day we speak to Lauren about Jesus.  We want her to know everything we can tell her about Him.  I pray over her everyday.  Sometimes it’s out loud and sometimes it’s just spoken in my heart.  I always tell her how much God loves her.  I tell her that she’s a gift, a blessing, and a joy.  I tell her how much Jesus loves her.  I tell her we know this love because of Jesus coming and dying in our place.  A few weeks ago I asked Lauren how we know Jesus loves us, and she looked at me and with great ease and said, “Jesus on the Cross.”  It was in that moment every plunge into the deepest of seas was worth it.  All the sleep deprivation washed away, all the fits thrown didn’t matter, and everything else became so inconsequential.  I have done the most important thing that I could do in my life.  We have consistently put truth of the Gospel in front of my daughter so that one day she will have heard these words from me and her daddy so that our great hope of Jesus whispering them to her in her inmost being will mean that she will know them.  Oh what joy!

Jesus on the Cross.  I will cherish those words for the rest of my life, and they will always be close to my heart.  I will cling to them on the hardest of all days knowing that it is the goal of my life as a mommy and believer in Christ.  Hold fast to these important moments and know that it’s what we breathe for as mommies and daddies who love Jesus.  Oh how I love Jesus, and may I love our babies in a way that they see that and feel that in how we love them.