December 14, 2015

When Mothering Got Easier

My boys are both crying and I can't get them to settle. I've already got their sheets in the wash and a pile of toys soaking in bleach, but none of that will stop the crying. They need me to hold them and comfort them, I can't put them down or step away. They are both sick.

I've never really been the nurturing type. I give nurses so much credit for the care they provide patients because that's just something I could never do. But with my children, it's a whole different ball game. I was up all night watching the monitors, making sure both boys were sleeping as soundly as could be expected. I brushed hair back from sweaty little faces and changed diaper after dirty diaper, I held them and bathed them and cleaned up after them. One lesson I've learned as a mom is that you're always outside your comfort zone. Every day you do things you could never have imagined prior to children.

I'd never pulled an all-nighter before babies. I'd never wiped away someone's boogies with my bare hand. I'd never held someone tight as they coughed in my face or thrown up on my shirt. But now that I'm a mom it doesn't just come easy, it comes to me naturally. I want to care and provide for my children, even if that includes doing things that seem downright gross or uncomfortable. My heart aches to see them cry out in pain. When their little voices squeak "mommy" my legs move as quickly as they can to be by their sides. There is no depth too deep for what I would do to make them feel better.

Today the struggle is an illness but every day I'm faced with a some sort challenge. My youngest is finally sleeping through the night but in those early weeks, things were pretty tough. I spent every night up with the baby and every day chasing a toddler, I was completely exhausted. Better women, have successfully made it through similar situations before me (AKA my mom), so I used that as motivation and tried to harness an inner strength, not just to "get through it" but to actually enjoy this stage of motherhood. It was difficult to get myself out of bed each time the monitor woke me from a slumber, that barely constituted closed eyes, but I started to pray and my load was almost instantly lightened. Of course, I prayed each night for strength and energy but really I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.

I thought back to a verse that I learned in college, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phillippians 4:6. Meditating on this verse while holding my little guy helped me find a certain kind of comfort in my sleepiness. Of course, I continued to pray for more sleep. I prayed for healthy babies. I prayed for strength and courage, understanding and patience. But mostly I prayed thanks be to God. How lucky am I that He had entrusted me to care for these little babes? What an awesome responsibility. What a blessing!

When I started to look at my struggles as blessing something changed in my heart. I looked forward to time spent in the early morning hours with my youngest and afternoons chasing butterflies with my oldest. Kids don't just change the dynamics of a household they change the dynamics of your heart and head if you let them. But you have to let them and the Lord into the vulnerable places of your heart. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable. I'm not implying that my days (or nights) are easy, but I can tell you that ever since I've started mothering in service to God I am much happier. There are more days than not when I wake up smiling. I view things more optimistically. I am not always defeated. I feel empowered because I know that my work in the house is a service to God and, therefore, has meaning beyond my own understanding.

So as I hold my youngest and kiss his soft little baby cheeks I whisper, "Thank you Father for these wonderful little blessings. Thank you for picking me to be their mama."

Speaking of little blessings look at these amazingly delicious pictures of my visit to the Food Trucks yesterday with my oldest.

Be Blessed,
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