Giant Baby Step

Recently I was asked if Dave and I had ever been away together, just us, no kids, a romantic getaway to a tropical location or even just renting a room at the Super 8, whatever. I honestly replied, No. Oh sure, we have date nights and every once in a while we stay awake long enough to watch a movie after the kids are in bed but as for going away together, overnight? Not once. This is the response I got, verbatim:

“I figure I share my thoughts to you about this in private and not out in the open. Do you strive and enjoy being in that position of being overwhelmed with that many kids all the time? me and [my wife] always plan for the grandparents to have our kids over night at least 3-4 times each year. We think it keeps us from getting burned out.”

Wha?! Maybe it’s just me but it sounds like I am being judged for NOT leaving my children enough. If it’s not one end of the spectrum it’s the other.

Mostly we have never been away due to circumstance. We haven’t ever really lived close to any grandparents or family who can take our children overnight and when you are having babies every two years it isn’t really feasible to leave an infant who is dependent on your for food or a  young baby who doesn’t sleep through the night with a well-meaning and underestimating family member. I mean, who wants to volunteer to wake up several times a night with a non-sleeping, needy child or warm up breast milk bottles for 8 feedings a day? Anyway, part of me really wanted to fire back (I sent a polite reply) but here is the rest of the story.

This last week was a big one for my husband and I. We bought tickets for our first trip together since we have had kids (so if you can’t do basic math or don’t want to, we have never been without kids, just us, for about 5 years and 5 months!). Now most people would take a weekend trip the Kansas City eating cheesecake on the Plaza and staying at the Marriott or to a quaint bed and breakfast where you can feel “away from it all” but still have internet access the first time they ever leave their children…but not us! No, we are travelling to Seoul, South Korea, roughly 6000 miles from our children and across 14 time zones, a giant baby step to say the least! And even though my brother assures me that the country has developed far beyond rice paddies and donkey pulled carts, I still can’t help but feel that we really are going to the other side of the world, really….it’s really the other side of the world.

So there are two things that I have been thinking about regarding this trip and the discussion that preceded it.

1. What causes burn out? Because honestly, even though we have never been away I generally don’t feel burned out because of my kids. I am not saying that there aren’t days when I am praying that God will speed my clock ahead to bedtime so we can all go to sleep and just start over tomorrow. But overall I am happy with our family and with our situation even if it doesn’t mean vacationing with my husband three to four times a year (which, by the way, I feel is a lot. I don’t know anyone who gets that kind of time away). Mostly, this is because I don’t rely on “me time” or “us time” to keep me full. Only God can truly keep me full and his portion is always more than enough. Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Anything else is self-deception because nothing else is truly fulfilling so we end up needing more and more. That is the myth of “me time”, it doesn’t really satisfy. Psalm 131 says,

” My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me. 
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
   I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.

    Israel, put your hope in the LORD
   both now and forevermore.

How many times have sat with my children, holding them, rocking them, loving them, giving everything I have, all my attention to quiet and comfort them? It is what the spirit of the Lord does for us and it resonates so deeply with me, especially as a mom, to know that I will never run out of things to give to my children because the well that I draw from is infinitely deep!

2. Taking this trip has really put my focus on trusting in God. Many times in the execution of this trip I have felt a panicky flutter in my chest, thinking, “What if?” A whole slew of things can go wrong and we will be so far from home. I mean any trip that I have to update our living will and create a power of attorney so our children can receive prompt medical attention tends to lead ones mind down the trail of “Worse Case Scenarios”. I know, rationally, that anything can happen at anytime but somehow I think that my chances of surviving a car crash while in the continental United States are far greater than clinging to life if we crash into the Bering Strait (which, surprisingly, I give my self about a 5% chance of survival. Let’s just agree that the number is optimistically high). I know that everything I do is in God’s control and that he is sovereign in all things (Romans 8:28).

So that is where I am putting my focus, trusting in God because he is my hope and security and relying on him to sustain me and that is where the giant baby step really is important because it has given me the opportunity to walk in obedience and step out in faith.


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