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I suppose this is necessarily another of those growing times. Moving house and travel are never easy with a young family, and we’re pretty wrung out. Yet our girls need us and they need us to be rational and peaceable and generally less all over the place than we feel.

I have to remind my tired brain that I am the parent, and as such I must set the example of speaking kindly, reigning in my frustration, mastering my actions when I could so easily give in to raw nerves.

The past couple of days have been spent largely in survival mode. My husband observed after a few long, noisy hours in the car that it’s a good thing we don’t smack our children. What could be useful on rare occasions would have been used out of frustration this week. It is not a three year old’s intention to drive us round the bend with questions and chatter and silliness. Nor a six month old’s choosing to be ill and needing constant care and attention into the wee hours of the night just when we’re so tired that we can hardly function.

I am so thankful at times likes these to be part of a marriage. Not only because I am not left to face difficult times or decisions  on my own, but because my husband and I can draw strength from each other. We’re a team. This week that means that I sit up all night with Joyand he takes over in the morning to let me sleep. Bella enjoys time with Daddy in the afternoons so I can nap when Joy does and have some quiet in between.

Poor Bella. With so much craziness my patience has been in short supply. One night a couple of weeks ago, while we were still waiting for confirmation that we are able to emigrate, I was anxious to get her to bed and get on with my packing. She asked if we could sing prayers. She began to sing words of her own and into the meandering tune came intercessions for our family, Joy’s teething, help with packing boxes, the boxes safe travel on the boat and train (very important since her toys are inside), and please, please, the letter to come so that we could go. She prayed asking God to come into all of our hearts. I sat in stunned silence at the heart-song of my little girl and was full of gratitude for such a moment and such a child. She made me stop and look up when I was busy rushing by with my head down.

God uses my children to teach and form me each day. There are times when I resist these lessons. When I would prefer to be my own master and serve only myself. And then there they are, demanding that I put aside selfishness and love them. And when I do, lo and behold, love grows.

It can become a bit warm and stifling in this little family greenhouse, but it’s a good place to grow. Especially at pressured times like these.