Wednesday, December 24, 2014

thoughts on grace and motherhood


Wanna know two ways God likes to show us how selfish we are? Number one: marriage. Hopefully there is no gradual slip-into-marriage-type experience. One day you're engaged and living with your family or by yourself, then BOOM. Your life is suddenly not your life anymore and you're someone else's other half and that someone else probably wants you to make him coffee and wash his clothes. Your brains probably aren't identical, causing the occasional argument. On Sunday afternoons, no less. Pretty soon you start realizing how much you thought the universe revolved around your needs and desires, and cultivating a servant spirit becomes top priority. 

Number two: having a kid. Oh my word. I had no idea. Really. 

The first week we were home with Peter Chris stayed home from work. I was so sleep deprived I honestly couldn't function safely, and of course I was healing, so poor Chris had to handle everything. He was such a wonderful blessing, jumping right in to his daddy role. :) Right around Thursday afternoon I felt this strange, awful feeling rising in my gut. After a moment of contemplation, I realized it was utter terror: Chris was leaving us on Monday and it would be just me and the baby. Now, most of you know I have like zero baby experience. The last time there was a baby in my life was when Charlotte was born and I was 5 years old. I don't work in my church's nursery, and I've not babysat. You can understand how simply changing a diaper seemed like a daunting task. 

Well, Monday came and Chris left and I bawled. I really did feel overwhelmed and it was only Monday and 7 AM. Peter needed to eat every 2-3 hours, needed at least one diaper each session, breastfeeding was a total disaster, my house was filthy, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Because Chris was tired from work, I tried to let him sleep through the night and take all the shifts. I lost a LOT of sleep that second week, and with each passing day I grew more and more exhausted and cranky. The day came where I actually felt myself getting angry at Peter for being so needy. Just take your pacy and let me sleep for FIVE MORE MINUTES FOR GOODNESS' SAKE!!!! 

And then it totally hit me. Obviously I knew how dumb and horrid it was for me to be upset at a baby who constantly needs something and has no way to communicate that except by crying. I knew this was my new job and priority. But I had no idea it would be a huge life lesson. I am selfish, and God loves me anyway. I am just as needy and whiny as a little baby, and my heavenly Father answers my prayers every time. The diligence with which I have to tend to Peter's needs is nothing compared to how my Father watches over me and is orchestrating every move in my life. At any hour of the day, be it midnight, 4:30, or 7 AM (Peter's nightly shifts) I can call on Him and He hears me. Not just hears me, listens to me. When I am hungry, either physically or spiritually, He provides nourishment. When I am dirty from sin and guilt, He cleanses me. When I truly need rest, He restores my soul. 

Grace is everywhere. Peter looks at me while I change his diaper, and how can I not fall in love with those eyes? His little noises as he gulps down a bottle make me smile. He kicks his feet and "talks" to us at night and we talk back. He's just starting to smile when we get in his face and make silly sounds. This motherhood thing - the messy, the overwhelming - is showing me so much about grace, about love engulfing and defeating selfishness. I'd much rather keep sleeping when the next shift rolls around, but love gets me out of bed and doing it all again. I'd rather leave the dishes in the sink forever, but love makes me wash again, again, again. I'm not very interested in changing the diapers and wiping down not only Peter, but the changing pad, wipes dispenser, and wall, but love pushes me on and is the motivator for everything. Thank you, God. 

By Him all things consist. If it weren't for Him being the only perfect Father in existence, we could not exist. The very second He decided to "skip a shift" in His care for us, we would completely perish. What cause for thanksgiving! 

This gem was hidden in the monotonous, messy tasks of motherhood, and I am so grateful God allowed me to discover it. :)

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