Count It All Joy

count-it-all-joy

I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.

There was toilet paper everywhere, not to mention a number of toys floating in the toilet. And did I see a few sitting comfortably on the bottom? Great. I was going to have to stick my hand in the toilet. Again.

It looked like a tornado had ripped through our bathroom. In a sense, one had. It went by the name of Evan.

The part that was most unbelievable is that I’d just finished cleaning up a mess in the kitchen and disciplined him for not listening to my repeated requests to pick up the toys he’d strewn all over the playroom. I had made a quick phone call and in a matter of five minutes he had destroyed the bathroom I’d cleaned just hours earlier.

Soon my newborn Liam was crying, my four-year-old Maxwell was asking for lunch to be made, and I had loads of laundry to fold and put away. How in the world was I going to get all this done and get my bathroom back in working order? How was I going to deal with this new phase of my life? I never expected it would be like this.

When I found out I was pregnant with our third child, I had mixed emotions. I was very excited, but had also heard that going from two to three children was, to put it simply, challenging. I figured for the most part it wouldn’t be too bad since I’ve had a newborn twice before. It was like old hat, right?

Not exactly.

The first few weeks after Liam was born were a blur. Since he arrived right before Christmas, there was a lot of hustle and bustle in our home as visitors came and went. It was nice to have all the help with the boys, but I also forgot it would come to an end.

Soon all the visitors were gone, my husband Justin was back to his regular work routine, and I was at home with three children under the age of four. Alone.

It seemed all I did was clean, feed, change diapers, scream, and cry in an endless cycle day in and day out. By the time nightfall arrived each day and the boys were settled into their beds, I was ready to collapse myself. I had no energy left, but it seemed there was always something that needed to be done.

Would I ever catch up? Was this it? Would my life be juggling these three boys’ needs all day long, with no time for myself? What a blast.

After a few weeks of chaos ruling my life, I listened to a message I’d heard in the past by Carolyn Mahaney. It was titled “Loving Our Children” from her Titus 2 series. In it, she said, “Sin is the culprit. When the tender feelings towards our children have subsided we don’t have to look any further than our hearts. Our hearts govern our feelings, our hearts rule our affections, and when sin has entered our hearts our tender feelings for our children will be thwarted.”

I realized my misery was my own. Dealing with three children, cleaning, cooking, and running errands was only miserable because of my heart. I needed to get back to Scripture. I was letting the daily occurrences of my life get me down. I was being selfish and angry. Instead of dealing with my heart and looking for a way to change, I was blaming my children for my unhappiness.

How was I going to deal with this new phase of my life? The answer was simple: “Count it all joy” (James 1:2).

This new, unexpected turn of life was to be counted as joy!

I have three beautiful, healthy boys that God has given to me. He put me as an authority over them. It was His design and plan to give me these kids to take care of, raise, and teach. God’s grace is sufficient for me. When I humble myself and submit myself to Him, He will be enough.

Each day I can either wake up and say, Here we go again. Or, I can say to myself, God, thank You for the children You have given me, thank You for Your guidance and mercy to me as I seek to bring You glory each day. It’s a choice I have to make.

Change can be hard. Going from two to three children was a bigger change than I anticipated. I felt completely lost as I tried to get through each day. But by counting it all joy, seeking Christ daily, consistently examining my own heart, and working out a regular routine, I slowly began to realize what would get me through this new phase of our lives.

I hope and pray that when new things are thrown my way in the future—including a toilet full of toys—I will remember to seek Him first and to count it all joy.

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About

One day, Anne Swanson approached Ashleigh Slater about starting a blog to encourage women. The result: the webzine Ungrind was born. In addition to regularly contributing to Ungrind, Anne's writing can also be found on Radiant. Originally from Illinois, Anne is passionate about the church, family, and relationships. She's had more jobs than she can remember, but her favorite (after being a mom) was at Starbucks where she developed her coffee addiction. In her free time she enjoys having a cup of coffee (or four), cooking, laughing, reading, decorating, having a good glass of red wine, and spending time with her family. Her husband Justin and she were married in July of 2002 and they currently live in Kentucky where she is at home with their five young boys.


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Count It All Joy

by Anne Swanson time to read: 3 min
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