by Kendra Hiebert
I feel like my journey into motherhood had a slower start, as we waited 6 years after we got married before we started trying to get pregnant. Once we started it was anything but slow! We had four kids in 5 years and it’s really been a crazy ride. I figured out a while back that I was either pregnant or nursing continually since November 2009 till March 2017, except for a total of 9 months intermixed here and there! I never grew up thinking or dreaming of having four kids, but God had His wonderful plan for our family and didn’t give me peace about ‘being done’ until our fourth child, Julianna (our GIRL after having three boys!) arrived. Our kids are: Jackson (6), Carter (5), Sawyer (3) and Julianna (1). I love our family and wouldn’t change the way it is, but that being said, these past 5 years – as amazing as they were – were by no means easy!
Jackson was such a good baby! What a joy it was to watch him grow and witness him accomplishing all the major milestones. He was the easiest textbook baby and was an amazing sleeper, so it only made sense to have another baby only 17 months later. But Carter was a more ‘normal’ baby and we had a rude awakening! Carter took a while to decide that he was going to be happy out of mom’s womb, but once he did, those two boys had a blast together. I had always loved kids and wanted to be a mom so transitioning into my new role as ‘Mom’ was pretty smooth. We decided that after Carter I would resign from my position as a kindergarten teacher and stay home with our kids. Being at home raising my babies has truly been one of the biggest blessings of my life. After Carter came Sawyer, my brown eyed sweet boy. Besides coming into this world 2 weeks late, he’s a pretty awesome kid. He had meningitis at 5 weeks old. Nothing brings me to my knees more than a child that is sick. Thankfully he’s ok and a perfectly healthy toddler now. Julianna was the icing on our cake, a daughter after three sons and she truly is just the sweetest thing ever. But having four littles under the age of 5, things went from busy to really just crazy. With her not-so-awesome sleep habits I really feel that for that whole year we were barely keeping our heads above water with keeping kids clean, fed, and alive! Being in the trenches of raising four littles has been the most rewarding and the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so thankful that I have a God that wants a personal relationship with me and that loves me and loves my kids so that I can lean on Him and go to Him for wisdom because I certainly couldn’t do this on my own.
I think I have learned to lean on God a little bit more with each baby we had. With each child that we added to our family, a little bit more of my selfishness got stripped away, but God was there to build me up, grow my character and force me to lean on Him when I felt like I had nothing left. Julianna, our fourth child, was a terrible sleeper for the first year of her life. During this year it was hard to get to the 6am cell I was part of, to prayer summits as they went late into bedtime, and even getting my own devos done. I found it hard to prioritize personal time with God as I was always SO tired and couldn’t imagine getting up early, and in the afternoon when the kids napped, I needed a nap too! As I could feel my faith life become dry, God in his grace, used this time in a really special way. Julianna would only nap for no longer than 45 minutes if she was in my arms, so I had lots of time to pray as I rocked a sleeping baby for sometimes hours a day, and my prayer life came alive. God spoke clearly and quickly to me in this season. I didn’t get to journal much as there was always a snack to make, a diaper to change or a pick up needing to be done, but I found some really great Bible apps for my phone, devotionals that were emailed to me daily and blogs of Christian women that really spoke to me in my stage of life that I could use to connect with God when I did happen to have a moment or two to myself. These things weren’t the ‘normal’ or the ‘specific format’ that I was used to in my time with God, but they were instrumental in continuing to build on my faith foundation during these years.
As our youngest is over a year now and sleeping great, I am slowing starting to feel the fog of ‘baby’ fade. We are really enjoying the time now with our family as the kids are growing up and able to be more independent, handle more and need me less physically. Not to say those early years are all bad and all really hard, but we did ‘baby’ for a solid 6 years and I’m enjoying this next stage! (Although I rocked Julianna to sleep the other day and thought, “this may be the last time I get to rock my own baby to sleep” and I had to take a moment console my momma heart and got a little teary!)
I am a social person and enjoy lots of time in community so getting back into cell, being present and involved in Selah, attending Sunday services, prayers summits and other church events regularly has been so nice. These regular times with friends and others who truly love Jesus and strive to be more like Him is one of the biggest things that keeps me on track with God and desire more of Him. I honestly have the best friends ever! Being able to do life with these ladies, be real, honest and vulnerable with them and yet at the same time laugh till it hurts has been one of God’s biggest and most precious gifts to me.
As my kids grow, I feel like I am held even more accountable to living the life God has for me. They are such sponges and soak up not only what I say, but what I do. If there is ever a motivator to stay connected to Jesus, it’s that. With everything in me I desire to raise them up to love Jesus and choose to follow Him with their life. So, I continue to try my very best to raise these precious kiddos of mine and to do that I will look and depend on the one true God, the ROCK that I am standing on.