BIRTHDAY JOYS AND FIRST YEAR LESSONS

One year ago today we were in the hospital holding our sweet little girl and trying to decide what to name her. But what a perfect name we chose. Our joy in a season of deep pain.

Landry Joy.

Oh, what a year this has been. For those of you who have made it through the first year with a baby, you know…it’s hard work. Most definitely worth it. But still very hard.

We feed them, burp them, change them, bounce them, be peed on by them. We listen to their cry and desperately try to figure out how to calm them down. We pray for long naps and often get short ones. We change explosive diapers (seriously, how can so much be in such a little body?!). We help them sit, crawl, stand, walk, eat and talk. And, oh, the sleepless nights.

And then let’s throw life in there too. Balancing other children, keeping a home together, working on our marriage, grieving our son. And if that’s not enough…moving to another state. This brought a new church, new schools, new community, new everything.

The first year. It was hard.

But there was something I heard the Lord tell me when Bennett was just a baby that made all the difference in his first year of life and Landry’s too.

I remember it like it was yesterday because it’s one of those moments I’m so glad I listened. I was rocking Bennett in his room, tired from many sleepless nights, and in my heart I heard God say, “Megan, just enjoy him. Enjoy this time with him.”

For me, I thought I was hearing this because Bennett would be my last baby to rock. I was pretty sure he would be the caboose of the family. But little did I know that I wouldn’t have him to hold anymore at all.

So that first year of Bennett’s little life, I didn’t get upset when he woke in the middle of the night. I just stared at him in awe and wonder as I rocked him. And on those days when he didn’t nap, I tried not to get frustrated. Now, of course, I wasn’t perfect because babies are hard and I’m human. But the Lord knew what I needed to hear. What I needed to focus on. Because He knew what was to come.

And now we have little Landry Joy. It wasn’t hard to take those same words I heard years ago and hold them tight again. Enjoy her, Megan. ENJOY HER.

She is our joy bug. And today she is ONE!

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Ben says that marriage is voluntary death to selfishness. And parenting is forced death to selfishness! So true. But it’s so worth it too.

That first year is hard like I mentioned. But the joy it brings outnumbers the hard a million times over. The first giggle we heard. When she smiled for the first time (and it wasn’t just gas!). Seeing the other kids love on her. When she grabs my arms a little tighter so I won’t put her down. Watching her dance every time she hears music. When she goes crazy at the sight of blueberries because they’re her favorite. The excitement in her when daddy gets home each day. When you wake up to realize she slept all night long. Her sweet little hand as it signs “please.” The first steps she takes and the pride in her face. And the first donut she enjoys as we celebrate her turning one!

It’s. So. Worth. It.

If you are in the first year of your baby’s life, the teen years or if your baby has babies, I pray today that you will enjoy them. Hug them a little longer. Take the time to call them. Just enjoy every minute of their life. The life that has been entrusted to you to care for and love.

And for those of you who don’t have your baby to hold anymore, like me…we will cry. We will cry tears of pain because they aren’t here with us. But then we need to try and turn those tears of pain into tears of joy, even for just a moment. We need to open our treasure chest of memories we have with our baby and cherish them…whether we had an abundance of years with them, just a few months or if we never got to meet them at all. God is using their life in great ways and for His glory. That truth alone brings me great joy today.

Great joy indeed!

Landry loves Bennett's picture!

Landry loves Bennett’s picture! We will celebrate Bennett’s fourth birthday in just a few days on July 19.