31 January 2014

The Pace of the Children

I was 29 weeks pregnant with CJ, when I got a serious bladder infection. First time pregnant in my third trimester, ignorant of possible dangers and implications of improper attention to a bladder infection, I just believed it would clear itself. During that time I was doing three jobs. Secretary for my husband’s business, mainly responsible for accounts, running my private dietitian practise, and working part time as a Consulting Dietitian at an Infertility Clinic. The Friday morning after I came down with the bladder infection, I visited the infertility clinic to consult a few patients. It was then that my gynaecologist friend spotted me and immediately knew I was seriously ill and the life of my baby was in danger. She immediately contacted Christo and within an hour I was admitted to the maternity ward. That weekend I almost went into premature labour and it was only by the grace of God that I was dismissed a few days later, baby CJ still safe and sound in my womb. 

I was instructed to stay in bed for another few days. The afternoon, after I was dismissed, I sat in my bed at home, reading my daily reading, Gen 32.

It was the passage of Jacob wrestling with God at Peniel, while he was in much distress to meet with his brother Esau, the first time after the betrayal of the first born right.  I read through the wrestling part and came to where Jacob met his brother, Esau, followed by the awesome reconciliation between the two brothers. And then I read a passage that in the past I didn’t even think twice about.

"Then Esau said, 'Let’s be on our way! I will go in front of you.'  But Jacob said to him, 'My lord knows that the children are young, and that I have to look after the sheep and cattle that are nursing their young. If they are driven too hard for even a single day, all the animals will die. Let my lord go on ahead of his servant. I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the herds and the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.'” Gen 33:12-14

The words just jumped out of the pages. It might be because I was very much confronted with the totally new responsibility I was facing. Taking care of a baby, another very small, little person, not even born yet, even more so depending on me and the decisions I make. 

During that weekend laying in the white hospital room very ill, unaware that they were preparing outside the room for a possible premature labour, I was confronted with the knowing that my life was not my own anymore. In the past I could work hard for long periods of time, pushing myself till I’m exhausted, satisfied with the results, and only then rest. That was exactly what I did the week before. My body was sending me warning signals, but I was determined to first finish what I’m busy with, keep MY pace, no stop till I’m done.

But that afternoon, almost 20 years ago, reading Gen 33:14, I was confronted with the concept of moving at the pace of the children. 

Numerous times over the years the Lord has gently reminded me and challenged me with Gen 33:14  

“…I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the herds and the children…”

Some time ago I got a message from a dear friend, who had her share of exhaustion with many little ones and illnesses, who had to cancel a special occasion. I encouraged her to be gracious on herself and her little ones, not feeling guilty. Her little ones now only needed her to move at their pace, to feel secure and safe. 

That weekend, 20 years ago, after reading Gen 33:14 for the first time, I called my husband, shared with him the passage and my conviction and together we made drastic changes. I closed down my private practise and limited my hours as Consultant Dietitian at the Fertility clinic to three times a week for only two hours. It was very hard for me to call my regular clients, informing them I have closed down my practise. Especially with my Type I Diabetic patients who were all between 6 and 12 years old. But it was all worth it. I carried CJ till two days before full term and he was born strong and healthy.

The year 2013 was a difficult year. I got more involved in my husband’s business, while still homeschooling the children and taking care of the home and meals. By the end of the year I was exhausted, but what was troubling, was the state of my little ones. They were crying and fuzzing almost constantly. Sibling rivalry skyrocket. They were disobedient and I could sense anger and frustration. 

By the 14th of December Heidi-Mari finished shadowing at the One and Only Hotel in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and our home could slow down. I stayed at home every single day over the festive season, giving myself the grace to unwind, but even more to just be there for my little ones, as well as my older children and husband.  The festive season was quiet and relaxed, the blessing I was praying it to be.

But it was only by the first few days of January that I become aware of the peace in my home and between my little ones.  I was the Queen of my home again. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the little ones any more. I was able to restore order again and confidently handle sibling rivalry. I noticed the four boys playing together in peaceful harmony more often, entertaining themselves and overall more content. They were safe and secure again.

Being the mother of my larger family was a joy and I was reminded of Gen 33.14. 

Moving at the pace of the little ones. 

Especially with older children who help in and around the house, I have to remind myself to move at the pace of the little children. Interesting it isn’t only for the benefit of the little children, but also for the older children, my husband and…. myself.  

Over the years Ann Voskamp’s words, “Life isn’t an emergency”, became part of my life, but did I really live by it?  

With the first month of 2014 over and done, I’m challenged to plan for a restful year. 

One of my 25 manifestos for the year is: 

“Watch Your No's, Your Yeses will take Care of Themselves.” 

I’m constantly aware to secure my days, my weeks; to not allow them to be filled to the brim.

The name of my year is “Rest”. I believe part of God’s plan for me to rest, is for me to be IN my home and move at the pace of the little ones.

I want to share Nancy Campbell’s Above Rubies FB message of the 22nd of October 2013:

Are you feeling frazzled? Is your stomach tied up in knots? Overwhelmed by motherhood? 
Dear mother, I think that often we feel weighed down and snowed under because we get involved in too many other things outside the home. It's so easy to get in the rat-race of running here and there and having our children involved in too many activities, isn't it?  
Many years ago I read a bumper sticker that said, "If a woman's place is in the home, why am I always in the car?" It isn't God's plan for us to mother our children running around in the car, but in the home. 
Can I encourage you that when life gets frantic, to take stock and look at what you are doing. I love the Knox translation of Hosea 11:11 which says, "In their OWN HOME, says the Lord, I WILL GIVE THEM REST." 
I know that all your running around is for good things. But, dear mother, don't let seemingly good things rob you of the perfect will of God. Even Eve, who walked personally with God every day, was not tempted by something that looked evil, but by what looked "good" and "wise" (Genesis 3:6).  
Watch out for deception and find your REST IN YOUR HOME.”

I have already made the decision to stay focused in my home this year. And by writing this posting I’m creating my own accountability.

Dear Mothers, move at the pace of the little ones and you WILL create peace and joy in your home, but even more, in your precious children.

He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lamps with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young."
Isaiah 40:11 NKJV

With much love


Huisvrou said...

Dankie, Linnie.

Dikwels wonder ek hoekom maak ons dit vir onsself so moeilik. Hoekom vul ons ons dae met al hierdie buitemuurse aktiwiteite? Is dit regtig nodig?

Ja, ons weet van 'n gesonde liggaam en 'n gesonde gees en ons weet ook dat kinders wel sport moet beoefen. Maar om by die sportgronde te kom, moet ek 'n halfuur in die motor oppad spandeer....

Is dit werklik die moeite werd?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Linnie,

This just reminded me again that also in home-schooling we should be moving at the children’s pace. That it is not about what should be done, but that they should set the pace

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Hi Linnie

This was good to read as it gives me the chance to nice again assess what we are doing. My children are a lot older than your last 4 but I need to continually think about whether what seems,like a good thing is the right thing.

It's always a juggle but I know that this season in my,life is a busy one, and I have just added another project into our lives, and this means something else has got to give.

Lots of love and may the Lord bless you as you hood Him in your home.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart Linnie. Your blog is so encouraging! So much of this speaks to me right now, and will help me make changes in my home from tomorrow, which will really help my kids feel safer and securer. So thank you! Needed this! Heidi

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