2.18.2015

For the mother with a new baby in her arms.

The Lord recently burdened my heart pretty intensely to pray for and encourage my sis-in-law. She is not new to motherhood, but she is a first time mother of three. (The hardest transition in the opinion of most. Once you master three you can handle 12!  So they say ... hehehe.)

I sent her a letter hoping it would touch her heart and encourage her weary spirit.
She thanked me upon receiving it, and then sent me this note a few days later.
"So. I forwarded that encouraging letter you sent me to some of my close mommy friends. Some are believers some are not but the response was unanimous. They said all moms can stand to hear this message!"
This made me think. How many other new moms need a word of encouragement? How many women holding newborn babies in their arms feel utterly alone, as if no one sees their acts of sacrifice and love?
I asked CC if I should share the letter and she replied, "Please, please, please, share!"

I remember being that mom.
I remember wondering if anyone else struggled like I did.
I remember thinking I was the worst mom ever.
I remember looking at other women who seemed to "have it all together" with curiosity - and envy.
I remember thinking that my husband just "didn't get it" and wished he did.
I remember wondering how in the world I was every going to survive TODAY, let alone 18 years.

Some of these thoughts still flip through my mind from time to time, but the Lord has been gracious to free me from the prison of insecurity and doubt where I used to dwell.
I wanted joy and contentment, but I kept trying to create it from within myself.
Slowly, day by day, year by year, as I read the Word, prayed, and surrounded myself with older, mature, godly women, the Lord showed me that the only place I can find peace and contentment and joy in motherhood is - in HIM. 
And finally, after far too long, I walked out of my cell. Never to return.

How faithful He is!
And how grateful I am to serve a God who refuses to stop working on us when we are faithful to follow Him.
I still have a long way to go - a lot of maturing to do - sin to conquer - character to sharpen.
But I am no longer afraid or overwhelmed because I know I will never be left to do it alone. My God will always be walking right beside me because He PROMISES He will never leave me or forsake me. And that is a promise I cling to with all my might!

I pray this letter will find its way to the eyes of a young woman who needs to know she is not alone, and most of all - loved by a very big, amazing, and gracious God.
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My sister ...

I know how hard it is to be a new mom.
Lack of sleep, hormones raging and trying to get out of your body, your body still healing from pregnancy and delivery, the demands of nursing constantly, feeling stuck at home for naps and bed time ... so many things come with a newborn baby!

It will take a few months to get your new routine and your new ‘normal’ in order, but once you do, it will feel like life has never been any different!
Give yourself grace, CC.
You are so good at giving it to everyone around you ... now it is your turn!

You cannot do it all.
Something has to give when we are mothers – and the things that fall to the side often change, daily.
Motherhood = sacrifice.
Motherhood = commitment.
Motherhood = humility.

The last one can be the hardest because we WANT to do it all. Have it all together. Make it seem effortless.
And sometimes it is.
But managing children takes time, effort, patience, flexibility, selflessness ... qualities we do not usually possess simultaneously – or with joy.
Motherhood is hard. Unending. Always changing.
We cannot quit or give up or even slack off without suffering the consequences of our laziness.
But it is hard to keep going 24 hours a day when there are no tangible accolades.
Small children do not walk around praising us and giving thanks for our service and efforts.
Our husbands love us and appreciate us, but what we do is “normal”so it can often be overlooked.
Our friends are all serving and sacrificing in the trenches just as we are so they are unable to look around and cheer on our efforts.

Motherhood can feel very lonely.
Very thankless.
It “feels” like the entire world is enjoying freedom and fun while we tirelessly serve the little people around us.

But there is always someone watching ...
our children
our husbands
our friends
our family
the stranger at the park
and most importantly – the Lord.
He sees it all.
Every diaper change.
Every bath.
Every snack served.
Every book read.
Every load of laundry washed.
Every meal cooked.
Every hug.
Every kiss.
Every prayer.
The Lord is watching ...
and He is pleased.

Scripture tells us to do “everything as unto the Lord, not for the applause of men.”
And sometimes – that includes US.
We want to look in the mirror and say “I did it! I was an amazing mom today!”
But it is not about US.
It is all about HIM.

He knows our weaknesses and our failings – our sin and our ugliness – yet He gives us children to love and care for and nurture – in His name.
He knows we are not perfect ... and that is why He fills in the gaps.

You can do this, CC.
You were CHOSEN for this!
Motherhood.
No one else can do what you do.
No one else is supposed to.
God is refining you, maturing you, and sanctifying you through your children and your husband.
It is not easy. It takes effort and tenacity and faithfulness.
But it is absolutely, positively, without the slightest doubt – totally worth it!

You are not alone.
You are surrounded by women facing the same battles, dealing with the same issues, feeling the same insecurities and frustrations.
Motherhood feels very solitary – but it is not.

Read the Word faithfully - every day - even if you can only get through 5 verses.
Write them out and read them all day – think about them – pray through them.
Pray. All day. Prayers of praise – prayers of request – prayers of thanksgiving – prayers of God’s promises.

Let Him fill you up. Let Him be your energy, your creativity, your passion. Drawing on your own strength will provide minimal results, and your strength will run out – quickly.
Trust Him to plan and prepare you for the day ahead.
And then – let the day unfold as it will, so you can lay your head on your pillow as you drift to sleep for the night knowing you did your best. (Even if your 'best' meant peanut butter sandwiches, pajamas all day, and watching three movies in a row.)
He got you through.
And your children – your husband – and you ... will survive and thrive.
Not because of any acts of splendor on your part,
but because you belong to a spectacular God who does extraordinary things with the ordinary.

I love you.
Michelle

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