Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Faithful Provisions

My son is 6 months old today. Six Months. Six wonderful-but-exhausting, long-but-short, glorious-but-difficult months. We made it! (Hey, this mamma rejoices in all successes, major and minor! And this was no "minor" six months!)

A wise woman told me these would be the longest days but the shortest years of my life. Already I am seeing this to be true. But tonight, as I reflect over the ups and downs of the last half year, I am overwhelmed by God's faithful provision...

He provided wisdom when MJ was past due and the doctors wanted to induce. 
He provided a way for me to give birth in a hospital of our choice, surrounded by medical staff trained to bring MJ into this world the way we had hoped. 
He provided a beautiful baby boy on December 31, with 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. 
He provided family and friends to serve and love us when we came home. 
He provided "mother's instinct" when MJ was sick but the doctor said nothing was wrong. 
He provided an amazing ER doctor to finally diagnose our sweet 4-week old boy. 
He provided a surgeon renowned for his work with infants, and steadied his hands as he operated on our little angel. 
He provided energy when sleep alluded us. 
He provided meals through dozens of friends surrounding us. 
He provided grace and forgiveness when our efforts just weren't enough. 
He provided answers to prayers, some prayed dozens of times over, and some were prayed by others on our behalf.  
He provided smiles and coos to replace crying and tears. 
He provided two little arms to wrap around my neck, and a head full of dark hair to rest on my shoulder.
He provides joy as we watch our son discover the world. 
He provides laughter as we see the world through the eyes of an infant.  
He provides awe as we marvel at what He has made...
He provided a beautiful miracle named MJ. 

Happy Half-Birthday, Sweet Son. You have brightened my world more than I could ever have imagined, and I'm so thankful God provided you to me. I love being your mommy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dear New Mom,

Dear New Mom,

You're probably reading this in the wee hours of the night with your baby attached to you in one form or another. The fact that you're reading this at all likely means you're experiencing a rare but blessed few moments of silence amidst the piles of clothes covered in spit-up. But even more than your need for silence is your need for rest. Yes, you desperately need the good old-fashion sleep, but you also need rest from the endless dialogue of questions going through your head. 

"Why won't he stop crying? Will she ever sleep more than 45 minutes at a time? Will she ever learn to sleep somewhere, anywhere, other than my arms? Does he really need to eat every two hours? Has she gone too long without eating?? What does that cry mean? Does he have gas? Should I let him cry it out? Will I ever get to take a shower? When do I get to eat? Can I really do this? Am I cut out to be a mom? What happens if I'm not enough? What happens if this is an epic fail? Can I have my life back? My husband back? My body back? What have I done?" 

And on and on it goes. It only stops when you collapse into bed and pass out...for 20 minutes before the baby needs you again. Then, despite your battle-like fatigue, the reel starts again, but each time the desperation dial is turned up a little bit more. Everyone tells you how precious he is, how adorable his smile is, and how alert and engaging he is. But they don't know how demanding he is, how powerful his lungs are from all the practice he's had screaming, or how miserable it feels to be unable to console him. 

Maybe this isn't your internal dialogue, and maybe I'm just projecting my own reality onto you in the desperate hope that I'm not alone in this, but I have to believe there's hope. No, I really HAVE to believe there's hope. If I don't, I won't make it. When the crying has fried my nerves, there's hope as my knight-in-shining-armor husband walks through the door. When my son wants to eat again, even though I finished feeding him 23 minutes ago, there's hope that this nourishment will lead his body to rest in sleep. When I can't put an entire sentence together due to the exhaustion, there's hope when I remember my God doesn't need full sentences (Romans 8:26). When I'm giving everything I've got and it's not enough, there's hope that God can still use it, somehow. When I've lost all confidence that I can really do this, there is hope that in my weakness He will show Himself strong (2 Corinthians 12:9). When I think this will never end, there's hope that soon He will lead me beside green pastures and still waters (Psalm 23:2-3). But for now, I'm in the valley, trekking day and night, desperately hoping I'm headed in the right direction...

...that's when I realize hope just isn't enough. I need faith. Actually, I need Faith. Faith that His promises are good, Faith that He will never leave me, Faith that He is enough to get me through. With Faith, each weary step takes me closer to His destination for me. Each weary step multiplies my faith. Each weary step is an intentional part of my journey to discovering who I am in Him. 

It's okay if you wonder if you're going to make it. It's okay if you think you're not cut out for this. It's okay if you've reached your end. In fact, maybe we're on to something here. Maybe this is the most realistic picture of our human inadequacy. Maybe being a mom is the hardest job in the world because we can't possibly be successful on our own. 

So, to those few or many new moms out there who relate, all I can say is...have Faith to hope. 

A Hopefully Tired Mom

Romans 8:26 "At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don't know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words."

2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness."

Psalm 23:2-3 "He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul."

Who's Driving?

Being a mom has rocked my world. It is wonderful, but it is hard and tiring and completely sacrificial. And, let's face it, I want things to be easy, to be well-rested, and to be selfish. I want to be "at my best" every day, which means a host of perfectly aligned scenarios, none of which are present in my current every-day scene. So, living in my flesh means my patience wears thin, my frustration takes over, and my mind is filled with self-pity. It's not pretty, but unfortunately it's been me far more often than I'd like to admit. But, every time, it feels like a brick wall I crashed my head into, and it hurts! The ironic thing is that I gave myself that headache by allowing myself to pick up enormous speed as I approached that wall. Frustration, impatience, self-pity, they're all fuel that sends me racing toward that dead end. But the lure and temptation to do it again just creeps up on me and before I know it, I'm reeling from another crash into those darn bricks! 

As much as I would love to avoid that detour from now on, I've fully realized I cannot do it on my own. No matter how hard I try, no matter how many directions I try to take it, I seem to steer myself down that same path...did someone say "Groundhog Day"?? I have realized I have made one critical error. I was steering. "I" was steering. 

When Christ left this earth, He gave us the supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. The uniqueness of the Holy Spirit is that He can work in us! He can be my driver! (Come on, who doesn't want a chauffeur??) Not only does He know exactly where each road leads, He's connected to The One who made ALL the roads!! There is no better navigator. So, rather than spin my wheels, hit the same wall, or waste all my energy trying to do it right, I want to change my focus. I want the Spirit to steer me. I want the Spirit to do a work in me. And I want the results of that work to be evident to all who witness. That means supernatural patience, supernatural love, supernatural sacrifice. That means Spirit filled. It also means purpose. Purpose for that "detour" I had not planned to take today. The purpose may be to bring me to greater understanding of God's character, the purpose may be so that my son might begin to experience the love Christ has for him, or the purpose could be so that I might be an example to those watching of how Christ changes us. No matter what the purpose, the point is that there IS purpose, and that makes all the difference. 

So, the challenge before me today is this: I want the Holy Spirit to be evident in me in each situation I find myself in, along each road He takes me. At least then I can rest assured I won't hit that nasty brick wall...and we all know "rest" is what I need so desperately. 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28