20 Cheshvan 5782 / Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chayei Sarah
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Baby Bug

The stories of Rabbi Nachman, the lessons of Rabbi Arush and advice of Rabbi Brody built a path upon which I could find firm footing and discover my place as a daughter of Hashem...


Up until the age of 16, I was pretty much a tomboy growing up on a farm with a pretty strong independent streak. I’d been dating my then boyfriend, now husband, for about 3 months and suddenly the baby bug hit. I was still the independent farm-girl tomboy but now I also wanted a baby… bad.
Marriage didn’t happen until after boot camp and tech school for him, community college and career start for me. I was 21 and he had just turned 22 on the day we married. Oh the plans we had… and hoping for 12 children to boot. Neither of us came from large or particularly heavily religious families – yet we both had a strong desire for many children and belief in the Creator.
It’s been almost 25 years ago that that baby bug first hit, almost 20 years since that beautiful March day when we got married. We’ve been blessed with years of growing and learning and loving… and about 4 years ago we were blessed with our beautiful, kind, gentle son.
Being a parent is the most unbelievably wonderful, humbling, challenging, and prayerful endeavor I’ve ever experienced. I type this at the end of an incredibly long and trying day – I felt a failure after how I’d handled the parenting needs required of me today. In fact, I felt completely lost as a parent. You know those times when something happens and you have no clue how to respond? That was today…. Over and over and over again. And every response I tried failed… miserably.
After handing the bedtime duties over to my dear husband, the first time I’ve needed to do that in 4 years, I stood at our glass door staring out into the moonlit night with tears streaming down my face. The negative thoughts rolling through my brain threatened to crumble my spirit.  I felt defeated as I thought of the lessons I’d learned in The Garden of Education and how I’d utterly failed at properly utilizing (or using at all) Rabbi Arush’s advice with today’s challenges.
Five years ago I came to Breslev. Spiritually lost and hurting, the stories of Rabbi Nachman, the lessons of Rabbi Arush and advice of Rabbi Brody built a path upon which I could find firm footing and discover my place as a daughter of Hashem.  I was welcomed, encouraged, challenged and supported as I sorted out what it meant to be Bat Noach.  I learned the principles of emuna and began to implement them into my life – a continual and life long process that gave me, among many other things, the understanding that everything happens in perfect timing.
The 15+ years we waited for our son was perfect. Indescribably hard, but perfect nonetheless.  Hashem, our loving Father, knew when we were ready. He knew this challenging day I’ve had (and the others before it and the lessons yet to come) would come and I would need the emuna and learning I’ve gathered over these last 5 years to pull out of the negative space I’d fallen into tonight.  I found myself repeating a statement I say often when negativity threatens “Negative thoughts are sent by the evil inclination (EI) to steal my joy. That won’t happen!” I may not have handled this day correctly, I may have failed the parenting tests today, but I certainly am not going to allow the EI to pull me down into despair. 
After a while the tears stopped and I found myself smiling. Hashem is so good. I have so much to learn and I will try, with Hashem’s help, to grow and do better every day.  I know parenting is going to have its challenging days, but it is also the most beautiful thing.  And, knowing that Hashem allows our children to be our mirrors, to show us what we need to work on, I can say that after today, I have a whole list of items I need to work on and talk with Him about during my personal prayer sessions.
And guess what… even after days like today… I’ve still got that baby bug… bad.
* * *
Jennifer invites you to participate in a regularly held Noahide on-line study group that reviews the garden series books of Rabbi Arush. You can contact her at jenniferjwoodward@gmail.com for dates and times.

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