The moment my third child was born, I knew I wanted a fourth. That statement still surprises even me. Early in our marriage, I was quite firm in my announcement to my husband that one child was all I had planned. This came during a conversation he started about desiring a second child. Little did we know, I was already pregnant.

The morning I found out I was pregnant with the second, I cried. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to manage two children.

By the time I was pregnant with number three, I had fallen in love with the idea of a large family. It’s amazing how your heart changes a little with each one.

So, this one pictured was number four. The one I knew I wanted. The one I couldn’t wait for. The one who followed her sister by just 17 months.

Isn’t she beautiful, that green little girl?

I often tell people I could have written parenting books with the first three. They were so easy. I don’t think I ever had to babyproof anything. For the most part, they just naturally did as they were told. I often wondered what was so hard about this parenting thing.

Until this one.

This child rocked my world. I had to learn to anticipate her antics. She challenged every single thing I thought I knew about parenting.

She. Was. Hard.

If I said stop, she heard go.

If I said walk, she heard run.

If I said sit, she heard stand.

If I said no, she heard yes.

She. Was. Hard.

She was strong. She was born fighting. She came into the world at just 35 weeks we have never been the same.

Those days in her early years are mostly a blur.

Mama, if you find yourself raising a world changer, you are likely exhausted. These kids are intense on every level.

While most often she has left me weary I can see now that she is one of my greatest blessings.

Oh, what I have learned about strength and resilience. She has taught me about perseverance and courage. She has taught me to speak up and never sit down. She has taught me to fight for the things I want and to be comfortable in my own skin.

She’s only six but she’s taught me a lifetime of lessons.

I don’t know where I would be without number four. She’s older now and much more manageable.

This picture best captures her personality. It’s the story of a girl with big plans that begin with green paint at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

So, mama, if you find yourself in the throes of the challenging years with a hard one, let me encourage you today. The seasons will change and the days will get easier. The time will pass and you will find that you grew along the way. Somehow tiny little hands and feet can mold a mother’s heart.

Be gentle with her. Be kind to her. Let her be strong. Require obedience without conformity. Let her be the girl God designed her to be.

And maybe she will change this world.

This post originally appeared on Sprinkles In My Closet with Jenn Kish

 

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Jennifer Kish

Jenn Kish is married to her high school sweetheart, Jared and together they are raising six (mostly) precious children. She loves to connect women to one another and most importantly to Jesus.