We did it again. On June 6th, my wife and I had our third daughter! This time, however, we were prepared (so we thought) with what was to come. The hospital, the nurses, sleeping on that awful pull-out bed, all expected. However, we did experience one thing that we did not expect.
Our little Nora has been such a precious addition to our family. We are so thankful to God, for allowing us to raise her. As we prepared for what it would be like to become a family of five, I think I mishandled my preparation. What I mean by this, simply, is that I focused much of my attention on preparing my daughters for the addition of the baby, and almost little attention on the effect her birth would have on my wife and I, as a couple. I can remember hours upon hours of going over the do’s and don’ts of being a big sister to a newborn. I didn’t realize that they would be as good as they actually are, with handling her. Perhaps this can be attributed to God’s providence through our raising them as He has instructed us, but they have surely impressed me.
What I missed out on, during preparation for Nora’s arrival, was the change in dynamic between my dear Valorie and me. This change was unexpected, and has left me clueless at times, about how it could have come to this. Oh, I apologize, have I been leading this on with a negative undertone? To the contrary, my marriage has seemed to strengthen significantly, in light of our third child. There was something special shared between us in each step of the process.
I arrived at the hospital a bit after she did, as I was at the doctor’s office myself. We had prepared some Psalms to be played during this process, which I turned on immediately. We held each other, sang together, and prayed together. Fast forward to her arrival, when she made her appearance, I couldn’t determine what the cause of my tears was. Was it simply the birth of Nora, which is a miracle in itself, or was it something more, something, that made me truly feel as one with my wife?
“…so they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8).
Something about this child truly brought to the forefront of my consciousness, the reality of being one with my wife. As I looked upon my entire family, I felt a special pride, for lack of a better word, to have a wife so strong, and so loving.
But what changed?
I still cannot determine what exactly changed. Was it our experience alone that caused closeness? I can’t say. Please, don’t hear this short blog update as “things got easy with this child”. If that is the case, then I retract my statements; it is certainly not easy. What I do recognize is how much has changed in the last year. We became members at a new church a year ago, a church that has a strong family integrated emphasis. We have learned from excellent models in our pastors, elders, and church family as a whole. I think this proves to us that the biblically based family model, so to speak, really works.
I certainly remember the headaches with trying to adjust my daughters to learning and listening during our new services. Family worship, did that take some practice. Reading daily devotions and psalms and catechisms with my wife: tiring. All the things we have learned to do in the past year: worth it.
In fact, I can credit our new church for encouraging my wife to have a new heart on having another child. We were not good stewards of our responsibilities as parents very well. The stress of adding another to the mix was seemingly overwhelming. Yet, we arrived at this church where there was the typical young reformed families (that is, with lots and lots of children)! It wasn’t as if the children behaved perfectly through every service, or didn’t fight at all. No, what I think opened our hearts, was the way the marriages were so strong despite the outward circumstance. I recall having close fellowship outside of the church house, and admiring the bonds that were made between couples, as they lead their families.
It would appear that all of these recent experiences seem to be a time of preparation. If you’re reading this, and you’re married, considering marriage, or expecting, I hope this encourages you. For all the hard times, all the times where you it seems like it wouldn’t hurt to “skip today”, don’t. By going through the means that God has provided for marriages and families, you are being molded, and prepared.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3)
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)
The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
“The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24).