On Friday the 6th, sweet Simeon turned three months old. Hooray! He smiles and laughs so wonderfully, but not for a camera, so you’ll just to have to trust me.

With the addition of each child I’ve learned some new big thing. The most valuable lesson in having Zeal (#3) was that outings would just be hard. With two kids, a grocery trip was sometimes easy, sometimes not, but I always hoped for an easy trip and was stressed out if it failed. With three kids, I realized that getting out would always be difficult. Instead of despairing, that made it easier – I could steel myself ahead of time and pray for joy and patience.

The advent of our fourth has taught the same lesson, but deeper. Outings are hard and life is hard. But the deeper part: that’s not a bad thing. I’ve heard the same theme from multiple avenues lately – the Christian life is a life of work, not of rest.

In Genesis 2, God “took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” And in Exodus 20, God commanded, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God, in it you shall not do any work…” That’s six days of work and one for rest.


Real-live McNeilly kids.

We are meant to work, designed for work. Not designed to run ourselves ragged doing everything always forever, but created to do work for God’s kingdom, to serve others, to pour ourselves out. Sometimes that work is difficult (discipline), sometimes monotonous (lunch, again), sometimes even silly (crawling on the floor making hippo sounds), but it’s always, always there.

There are times of rest in my life. (I wrote much of this while Alex read The Jungle Book to the older kids.) My temptation is to expect those times as the normal and the work as the exception. How joyful would my days be if I viewed the work as good and necessary – necessary for these little people and for my own sanctification – instead of as an unfortunate side effect of having so many kids?

So, I’m working and praying now to work well and rest well, always remembering that this work is what I’m made for.

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