People often ask me how many bedrooms we have with 9 children.  Hotel Hilgefort has a girls room, boys room, baby room, and a master.  With babies packed so close together over the past few years however, we also have a second crib in our room.


I am very thankful for the crib in our room.  It is nice to have the baby so close.  I know a time will come when it will not be there, and I will miss having little little ones.  However, there comes a time when Hilgefort babies begin to be more easily disturbed in the night, and Therese has hit that point.  Even doing our best job at tip toeing into the room, she often wakes up when we go to bed.  I dare not even think of using the restroom in the middle of the night without waking her as well.  Nothing like laying in bed with a full bladder afraid to move!  So, Tate and I thought it was time to move the Jimmer Jams to the boys room (gotta love lots of bunks) and move Therese to the baby room.  


James had other plans.


We moved all the boys around a bit.  Johnny got the empty top bunk, Peter moved into Johnny’s old bottom bunk so James could move into his with a railing to prevent falling out.  Things were looking promising.  James was excited and happily scampered up into his bed.  I even snapped some really cute pictures to remember the occasion.  Tate read to the boys, turned off the lights and came downstairs.  It wasn’t two minutes before we heard the pitter patter of little feet on the ground.  Tate went up once, twice, a third time, and then said it was on me.  Therese was already asleep in the baby’s room, and I wasn’t about to give up quite yet, so I laid down on the ground next to him.  I am not sure how many times I had to lay him back down as he tried to get up.  Then he started kicking the wall.  Eventually we both drifted off to sleep.  At some point, I woke up on the floor of the boys room to Therese crying.  James was asleep at least!


Apparently James was not ready for the new found freedom of the bunk bed.  When nap time came on Saturday, James moved back into his crib so he could get a much needed rest after a late night.


Freedom is a good thing, but you have to know how to use your freedom.  We all know how important freedom and liberty are.  People have fought and died for it since the beginning of time.  However, it is too often thought that freedom is the liberty to do whatever one wants or desires.  This is not true freedom.  True freedom is doing what we ought in light of God’s commandments.  Commandments given to us out of love, as a parent sets limits for their own children.  


It is extremely challenging as a parent to teach our children this lesson in life.  They push against the limits they see as obstacles to their happiness.  The cannot see in their limited understanding that those things they believe to be so desirable are actually damaging to them bodily, spiritually or both.


It doesn’t stop there though.  Many adult Christians fail to see why we have been given limitations.  Scripture is deemed open to interpretation, even if that interpretation is in direct contradiction to teachings held for almost 2,000 years.  In our effort to do whatever we like, when we like, we find our spiritual safety in jeopardy.  Like James, we find ourselves walking in the dark risking a great fall.  In our zeal for freedom, we realize we have actually become slaves to our passions.  


God has given us truths and rules to live by for our own happiness and well being.  Who am I, a very limited creature, to think I know better than the Author of Life?  What sort of example am I to my children if I cannot live and stand up for the truths given to us by God?  How can I expect them to exhibit virtue and temperance if I do not exercise it?  


It is a challenge to all of us to be obedient to the loving commands of God; those we understand, and even more those maybe we don’t.   There are truths that can never be changed as they were given to us by God himself; marriage, the dignity of life, the Ten Commandments, just to name a few.  


As parents, we must strive to exemplify to our children obedience to God.  They need to see us say no to pleasures of this world so they can know how to do the same.   God gives us free will.  He doesn’t place us in a crib and prevent us from making our own choices.  We must choose to live according to His precepts for our own safety.  


James is clearly not ready for the freedom of a non-crib yet.  I am sure in time he will see by respecting the limits of his bunk bed he will get a great night’s sleep in a much more comfortable bed.  In the meantime, Therese says night time restroom trips are not allowed.   She is worth the sacrifice for sure and I can be patient and wait.

God is our Father.  He loves us more than we can ever really appreciate or know.  I know I would do anything, even give my life, to protect my children.  I also know He has already proved He is willing to do the same.  Will I trust like a child in His love for me?  Or will I rail against Him like a petulant child?  I know what I desire, God give me the grace to live it.  JMJ