Becoming, especially, a first time parent of a newborn, has a way of highlighting fears & insecurities you didn’t even know existed. I want people to be more honest & for moms to never feel alone when they question their ability to be a mother. I know I had moments, with our first, where I wondered if my lifelong desire to be a mom might have been misplaced. At times, I wondered if I really knew what I was doing or had what it takes. I don’t believe that anything can properly prepare you for the reality of having a newborn. I remember, so many times, thinking, “why didn’t anybody tell me this?” I felt almost slided that there was so much to pregnancy, birth, recovery, breastfeeding & sleep training that wasn’t more commonly spoke of. You just can’t fully understand the degree of challenges you’ll encounter until you are there. On the other hand, you cannot comprehend the inexplicable joy & love this bundle will bring to your life. The smilies, the thoughts, the prayers, the tears to your eyes from a new, pure love are innumerable. The awe that you have just staring at them. It’s an incredible opportunity to depend on Jesus. If you do it without Him, you’ll immediately feel like you are lacking. I can’t fully explain how miraculous & special newborns are. What they do to you, is change you. They add to your identity. They help you see life in a completely new way that almost makes you feel like a child again. You are learning & experiencing so many things for the first time, along with them. Remember grace dear mama, grace for yourself. Grace for you and your husband as you navigate these new waters. God gave you your specific child to be yours. Don’t be alone, reach out. I believe God wants parenthood to give you a greater depth of community. There are plenty of woman who have been where you are & so many willing, even hoping, to be there beside you. I know I love reminiscing about the newborn days.
Can “No” Be Kind?
We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms, don’t we? In a time where little kid birthday parties can look like they required a full year to plan and a bank loan, comparison comes easy. Ok, that may be exaggerating a bit, but you get my drift. Facebook is a huge means of comparison. We somehow forget that it’s not indicative of real, everyday life. Honestly, how often does or how long can your home look Pinterest perfect when you have small children living in them? That pressure translates into many facets of our mom and wife lives. Everyone has needs but not everyone’s needs are solely ours to fulfill. We extend ourselves so thin that there are days that I look at the clock and count down until I can crawl into bed. Are ya with me?
Saying “no,” can make us feel almost inferior or like we “should,” be able to juggle another obligation onto our already overflowing plate. Why don’t we feel ok with ourselves if we aren’t overloaded to the gills? Why is it so difficult to be honest and say that we are sinking right now and simply cannot take on an extra duty? I know not everyone struggles with saying no or feeling inferior, but I do, too often. It is possible to say no while being kind and compassionate. A lot of times we need to give ourselves permission, and not put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We do it to ourselves. After all, we say more negative things to ourselves than anyone else does.
We are not failures if we don’t have the perfect home, children, marriage, if we don’t serve in a bunch of ministries, volunteer regularly, etc. There is no such thing as perfect since we are not Jesus. We are actually serving ourselves and our family better when we aren’t running on fumes. We can end up doing many things mediocre or more things wonderfully. Oh priorities, there you are again. There are people in our lives that require and deserve more than mediocre. We need to give ourselves permission to say no to some things. Then, we can give more of ourselves to the best and most important parts and people in our lives. Our marriages can only be put on the back burner so many times and our children will never be the age they are now, again. Truly believing these things will help you say no from a place without guilt or shame. There is so much freedom in that. Knowing you are not spreading yourself too thin and giving more to your most precious relationships will help the “no’s,” be kind. Release the mommy guilt. As a quote I’ve heard and bring to my own mind on a regular basis says, “I can have the courage to be bold and assertive while still being humble.” When playing a name game and finding an adjective that starts with the same letter of your name, mine was “timid Tiana.” Enough said, this is real for me. If you aren’t “bold Betty,” maybe you want to print out that quote and put it on your bathroom mirror. Say it out loud everyday until you believe it and see it working out in your life. Talk to Jesus about it. You can be grateful for saying “no.” There will be different seasons where you can do more of this or that. Make the most of yourself for your family. Besides, adding yet another thing to your calendar that you will do begrudgingly is not kind or honest. Do what you can with a pure heart that doesn’t cost those you dearly love.
Today I took my children to the local library for preschool play and story time. They read Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses to the kids. I had my two kids and there were another 30+ kids so I didn’t get to listen to every word, but, I’ll can tell you the gist of it. The cat was having a grumpy sort of day, seeing the negative in everything. Then, Pete the cat gets his magic glasses and everything changes. He becomes an optimist and spreads his cheer to other animal friends along the way. This made me think about what we have available in Jesus. We have those “magic glasses,” in Him. It doesn’t always, or often, feel like it’s as easy as it might be to just put on a pair of glasses but, we have something so much greater. Jesus can change us. He is mighty. He can change our outlook, our attitude, our heart . . . If we let Him. That’s the hard part for me. I’m just always getting in my own way. Am I alone in that?
I’m a mom so, I wanted to talk about how in becoming a mother that I’ve come to know and experience another layer of Christ’s love. It’s truly one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve received. I feel so honored and privileged that God has allowed me to be called mama. I know not all of you are mother’s. My hope is that each of you will still be able to know more of the love that Jesus has for you, and others, through my ramblings. When I start to write or communicate my thoughts, they tend to go here, there and everywhere(My husband knows this all too well). You might want to, kindly, muster up some patience for me. I’m hoping and trusting that God will do something through this blog.
Having children is a game changer. It literally changes almost every single thing you do. A teeny tiny newborn will absolutely rock your world. Sleep deprivation takes on a whole( I mean, a W-H-O-L-E) new meaning. You would have never thought you could survive on so little sleep for so many days/weeks/months. You’ll also be amazed at how incredible your multi-tasking skills become. You’ll do things with only one hand that you would’ve never thought possible. This efficiency could have come in handy before kids, if only I knew.
You have all these ideas of what having kids will be like. You’ll imagine the kind of parent you’ll be. In reality, you’ll do things you would have never thought. Priorities change drastically. They change so significantly because your priorities change so greatly. You and your desires no longer constantly comprise the top spots of your thoughts. Thank you Jesus! Anytime we truly put someone above ourselves, we can begin to change. When we do it more often than we don’t, this can make way for great sanctification. You have this tiny human who needs you for everything, every single thing. They need you to love them, clothe them, protect them, help them sleep, bathe them, feed them, change them, cuddle them, etc. This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your priority of “me,” begins to melt. It’s as if you are muddy head to toe and the shower begins to bring back your color. The mud is you getting washed down the drain. This may sound sad and, at moments, it is, but, it’s really quite beautiful. It’s like Jesus is cleansing you of self to draw you closer to Him and to make you more like Him. He’s the one who said the last will be first and who showed us what a true servant is.
The rewards of having a child will also rock your world, in ways you never imagined. When Jesus talks about God giving the best gifts, that children are a blessing, that the Holy Spirit gives love & joy, all of these things become truth that you know deep in your soul. It seems so backwards that you can give every ounce of yourself(and then some, and then some more) to someone but, simultaneously receive the most inexplicable joy. It’s joy in its most pure form. It’s pure because babies can’t speak yet, they can’t tell you the things things that make you feel good, they don’t know how to love you in your love language, they can’t even hug or kiss you yet. They really can’t do much for you, and, they require everything of you. Romans talks about presenting your body as a living sacrifice. Mothers can surely relate to this, in ways that others might not fully. Housing a little human inside your own body for 9 months, delivering that child, the healing process your body goes through to recover, nursing your child, being awake at all hours of the day and night to take care of your child. Those are just a few ways you begin to see your body as a sacrifice and not own solely of your own. How can someone who completely strips you of yourself, give you joy in a capacity you didn’t know existed? This is exactly how God works! There is not much we can do for God. We have come at a great cost to Him. He had to give his only Son for us. We can easily grieve and hurt Him. We disobey Him. We can forget to include Him in many of our thoughts or plans. We don’t give Him all the praise He is worthy of. But, He loves us. He loves us so much that He chose us and formed our inner parts & knit us together in our mothers womb. He loves us with a love that we can not fathom. He loves each of us. We are what He created. He wants His best for us, not what we think is our best. He is faithful to us & to His promises.
Part 2 Coming soon . . .
This is it. This is life. Soaking in a beautiful moment where I was completely present. Awwww, it’s like Calgon took me away. Nobody else needed me at that very moment. Undivided attention, how I love thee! My husband was putting our daughter down for a nap and I was with our son, Isaiah. I was on the floor, on my knees right up against the bed. He was sitting on the edge of the bed resting against my torso, nestled right into me. He was happy as could be playing with the drawstring on my pants. He was so content, waving that drawstring around. He’d put it in his mouth, coo, smile, coo some more, thenrepeat. Lord, give me such contentment in the simple things! When we pay attention, we can learn so much from children, can’t we? No wonder Jesus says to be like a child.
If you’ve had a chunky baby, like ours, you know what their marshmallow arms feel like. It doesn’t feel like there could possibly be any muscle or bones in there. Those arms arefull of squishy goodness. I got to have those marshmallow arms hanging on me. About every 10 seconds Isaiah would take a break, sit totally still and rest his head on my chest. The kind of resting that if I moved, he’d topple off the bed. He would just melt right into me. Love the trust our children have with us. It’s so genuine, so pure. It reminds me of the trust that is available to us from our Heavenly Father. He is worthy of all trust. I know the days of Isaiah resting on my chest will be gone so much faster than I’m ready for. What a wonderful moment to be present and not do things like try to read emails, text anyone, be tempted to leave and sweep the floor or anything else. To relish in moments like this is to live life. What a gift to simply enjoy. That’s it. The good in life. Ordinary moments with extraordinary heart. I’ll take it! This mama is grateful. What moments have you savored lately?
To our sweet baby girl, you are 9 months tomorrow. God has made His love more real through you. I’ve experienced Him through loving you. How can God love you more than I do? It’s almost impossible to fathom. Not only has He given us Jesus but, He gives this world His children everyday. If that is not the fullest testimony of love, I don’t know what is. He gave us you and we couldn’t be more grateful for Him giving you, His daughter, to us. Loving you has also illuminated the depth of which my parents love me. I always knew I was loved but, in loving you, I know how deep that love goes. I know that they gave and continue to give their best for me, as we do for you. Our hearts will weep and be deeply wounded when we fail you. When our sin or selfishness gets in the way of His best, we will crumble. The love we have for you is so more pure than anything else on earth. I believe Him giving the gift of children to show more of Himself. I don’t know how people are able to deny Him after going through a pregnancy, childbirth and caring for a child. In my eyes, there could be no other way to receive the miracle of children than from God. The whole process is without a doubt, miraculous.
Everyone says that having a child is hard work. Everyone jokes about the lack of sleep you’ll be living in. You don’t know what being tired is until you have a newborn. You ate every 2 hours, 24 hours a day for many months. It took you & us quite awhile to get nursing mastered. We had no idea what we were doing at the beginning. We were overwhelmed and utterly exhausted. We had never given so much of ourselves to anyone or anything. Here comes the best part. The return on that investment was better than any return we had ever received. I think they call that a high yield or something in stocks, well then you would be an infinite, unsurpassed yield. The amount of love and joy we have experienced through you cannot be matched. It floods my entire body, every time I look at you. I have read that when a mother gazes at her child that her brain changes physiologically and this makes sense to me. This is something supernatural and fabricated by the Creator. There is absolutely no other explanation. There can be true joy in serving others and I have seen this in serving and caring for you. I have struggled in other relationships with joyful love being circumstantial. My hope is that in loving you so purely that it will help me love others more purely.
Children are without question one of the best gifts God gives. Children are a manifestation of God. The bible says that children are a blessing.
The word “blessing,” has lost some of it’s meaning due to it’s overuse. I don’t think there is a word to accurately encompass the true meaning of how good children are. I pray that you one day receive the gift of children. Seeing you become a mother would be another one of life’s best gifts. God has given us an insight to His love that I do not believe we could internalize without being parents. You are not even 1 year of age and God has already used you tremendously.