raising my ebenezer

Boys Reading

Before the arrival of each baby I have gone into a season of mourning. Great upheaval justifies such. From newlyweds to never-alones. From party-of-three to a de-throned first-born. From ‘the boys’ to a practical herd of babies. Each time we lost what we had. Each time I cried a lot about that loss. Each time I knew that yes, it will be good and lovely and better even, somehow, but what we had was still being laid to rest.

As we prepared for ODear’s arrival I was grieving the comparable simplicity we were about to lose to the apparent logistical nightmare that would be three children. I treasured nap time, for example, and I knew that would change. I do not mean those beloved moments of quiet in the early afternoon when everyone under 4ft tall was asleep, although those moments were at times my very hope and stay. Yes, those would be harder to come by, too, but I mean the moments right before those quiet ones. The ones where I would lay down next to my second-born tucked chin-high in blankets with his chosen ‘stuffy’ of the month and stroke his little head into dreamland. And the moments just after that when I would climb their bunk-bed ladder (which was increasingly difficult given my ‘condition’) and lay next to my first-born and he would inevitably whisper a question about something four hours ago and we would chat until it was time for him to close his eyes and rest. The season of being fully physically available to my boys at nap time was fading to a close because babies have unpredictable needs and well, we don’t have much longer that both boys will nap. Rightly, I assumed that laying with them as they fell asleep would be infrequent at best after the baby arrived.

It happened. There were poorly-timed nap times where I sat against the wall in their room nursing a newborn in the dark (hashtag talented?) or rushed through and exited before my job was ‘done’ because ODear was squawking in the other room. Rarely did I see them both off to sleep anymore. That stage was over and I was so, so sad to lose it.

Then God turned my mourning into joy.

About three months into our new nap time shuffle, I began singing to the boys. I would stand in their dark room bouncing a baby and singing hymns. I started with the one I knew best, Be Thou My Vision. We sang that at our wedding and I will never not get teary-eyed when I hear it. Then we sang Come Thou Fount at church on a Sunday shortly after and I added it to my repertoire. I could be found sitting in that same spot against the wall nursing a baby, but now I was looking up hymn lyrics on my phone and singing them to the boys as they fell asleep. Great is Thy Faithfulness. I Surrender All. Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. It is Well with My Soul.

It was awesome. I knew this much, and sometimes I would get glimpses of what a great thing this new singing nap time tradition was when OBoy would ask me a question about the lyrics and we would talk about Our Jesus. But this morning I was blown flat over by the awesome. As he was assembling legos on the ground in the living room, OBoy began humming How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and singing about half of the words. DanO, who has picked up his fair share of hymn-sing nap shifts over the last few months, began singing with him. Together they sang the first two verses with some call-and-response.

Flat. Flat on the floor from the glory.

I need you to know this, friends. I need to show you my ebenezer. Look how faithful! Look! He has done a good thing! The old is gone, but look at what a joy and blessing I have been given in its place. His love is vast beyond all measure.

how deep the father's love

{^^ I made that. It’s not fancy, but you are welcome to print it/use it however.}



29 Responses to “raising my ebenezer”

  1. Megan

    Allison, this just filled my heart with love. I struggle with nap/bedtime too…two boys (6 and 3) in one room can be both hair-raising and beautiful. What a wonderful transition and tradition! I think adapting it here could add a level of serenity to the sometimes-stressful leaving-the-room process. And what a way to further teach Our Father’s Love <3

  2. Christa

    So beautiful and yes, with loss comes a new beginning. These hymns are so timeless and stir emotion in me as I remember singing them with my grandma at church and know that she celebrates another spring with our Father and these traditions continue.

  3. Liz

    This totally touched a nerve with me today and was exactly what I needed to hear. Seven months pregnant with my third child and I am achingly aware of how are lives are about to change, and that my sweet precious 17 month old baby will suddenly seem so grown up and ‘big’ as soon as the new little one arrives. I know wonderful things are coming but I am so loving this moment in time with my children it is hard to not be sad to see this short two children phase go. I just keep reminding myself that one of the best things about parenthood is seeing my babies love each other, and there is only so much more of that to come.

  4. bethany

    As I sit here reading this days(hopefully days)away from having my 2nd child, I am praising God with you for His faithfulness in the new! Thank you for encouraging my heart today…so very needed!

  5. Jennifer

    Thank you. This has been on my heart a lot lately as we added our 3rd nearly 6 weeks ago. Things have certainly changed around here and I didn’t really mourn it until after it was gone. Though, I’m thankful I treasured it all before it was too late. But, our new normal is coming upon us and it is pretty spectacular. I feel guilty sort of missing the routine we had fallen in to with the older boys but I know that all too soon I will miss late night feedings, curled up babies, and the sweetest coos you ever did hear. Thank you for putting in to words what I’ve been feeling lately. You are o so amazing at that.

  6. Grace Kelly

    Great is Thy Faithfulness.
    In the Garden.
    Walking with My Lord.
    Safe Am I.
    My Jesus I Love Thee.
    Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.

    Our bedtime and nap time songs ❤️ Keep singing, momma!!

  7. Ashley Smith

    How sweet this post is! You actually inspired me to write a post about how I found God is unexpected places, how dissappointment turned into appreciation and thankfulness. Its a rather simple story but you ofter find God in simple places, right? I better get started on it!

  8. molly

    So beautiful. Having just gone through this transition myself (wait, I think we’re definitely still going through it) I am waiting for the joy. I mean, yes, there have been joyful moments. But there is certainly not really a routine of anything yet.

    I have always always sung to my boys at bedtime and sometimes I am missing that because Sawyer needs to be fed. I think they are clearly missing their mama too. And it pains me to know that. But I have to believe that our routine with three will be even sweeter than it was with two at some point :) Thanks for this, friend.

  9. Elizabeth

    The simultaneous joy and grief I felt at the birth of each of my babies was always difficult for me to reconcile. But now I see how I needed the time to both mourn what was lost while rejoicing in new life. It was always such a transition, but I loved the new special routines that were created. Those moments are precious, and I know the songs we sing to our children will be in their hearts forever.

  10. the Blah Blah Blahger

    I love this SO MUCH. We’re a Jesus Loves Me family, but the idea of singing old hymns is so beautiful and it kinda feels like there’s a connection to the past. Will have to remember this.

  11. LoraLynn

    O, yes. I remember laying hands on that tummy of yours and crying with you over – mourning the Known in the face of upcoming changes. And we told you and prayed that you would find the New and the joy that came with it… and just look what God did!!! Love this writing, friend, but love even more seeing how good our Father is. Yay!!!

  12. ali @ an ordinary mom

    What a sweet and precious post, Allison! We sing and play a lot of old hymns around here, and there really isn’t much sweeter in this life then the first time you catch a child humming or attempting to sing a much beloved hymn. Heart. Melt. Ing. And then there are the happy silly laughs when you catch a mis-heard phrase like “On a hill far away, stood an old nugget cross…” :-)

    You’re children are blessed to have you. Keep on keepin’ on, sweet momma!

  13. Moriah Sunde

    Brought me to tears. I can so relate to this, friend. I’ve been singing a lot more with the kids during quiet time/nap time and at night while rocking the baby, and it’s really been blessing me during the day. First thing when Lucia wakes up in the morning, we hear her singing from her room. It’s the sweetest. And when in public, Josiah enjoys belting “Oh, the blood of Jesus” at strangers (awkward when some little kid is screaming “blood” at you, but also sweet). I’m so glad you’re heading into a sweet, sweet season with your family, even if it means less sleep and showering.

  14. Anne

    Thank you so much for this. My husband and I just had our first and although we knew things would change, I am still mourning the life we had before, for seven blissful years. We are so blessed to have this child, but it is confusing to figure out this new normal. So thank you for your godly perspective and the encouragement this was.

  15. Jenna

    I am crying as I read this. Thank you for writing this. It seems like parenting is such a mix of grief and joy and loss and gain. So beautiful to see how God has met you and your children in this area of change/loss of meaningful time with your boys. Stirs me to risk more and give my grief over to God and trust He will also meet me and my family there.

  16. McKt

    Beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes. It amazes me how He always multiplies the joy even when it seems impossible. And good for you writing it down. You are doing a good job momma.

  17. Esther Plaster

    can i just say that i have tears in my eyes. i see your ebenezer. thank you for writing your heart. i know how hard it is. i had 4 in 5 years and we moved every year of our marriage (military wife). how deep the Father’s love for us. I am going to try the hymn sing too. even though our youngest is 5, the bedtime routine seems to go on forever. those songs are good theology. theology when we need it, in the times when we need to know that He is Good and He is Sovereign, when life is not tucked in and tidy.

  18. annie

    Thank you for writing this. I am currently pregnant with my first and have had such a hard time in finding the joy that every other pregnant woman around me is exuding. You are right, it is a mix of joy and loss and as I grieve the past 6 years with just me and my husband, I am encouraged by your words that new joy is on its way. I believe that God sent me into the direction of your post and I intend to return to it whenever I am feeling blue or guilty for not having the standard and expected pregnancy perkiness!

  19. Molly

    Oh this made me cry! I feel exactly the same way. Having 3 kids in 3 years has just been crazy, over the top crazy. But I truly treasure our before naps/before bed routine. It’s such a struggle to treasure the sweet moments when there’s a baby screaming, tired toddlers and an emotional wreck of a 4 year old, right? Can I get an Amen?
    Anyway, I love this. You are so precious.


Leave a Reply to Christa

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>