June 24th, 2016- God made me a mother. He made my sweet Dakota a father. I try to wrap my head around this gift, and I just find myself in tears. Joyful, praiseworthy tears to God. How can He give a sinner like me such an amazing, unexplainable gift? I’ve never known the depth of God’s grace for me like I did when I saw our daughter for the first time. She was beautiful. She was ours. She was fearfully and wonderfully made.
As I think about the privilege it is to be a mother to our sweet C, there are several things I’ve reflected on that I believe God has shown me in just the few weeks that He’s made me a mother.
God made me a mother to let go and slow down.
God has used motherhood to help me let go. The floors? Still dirty and filled with dog hair. Dishes? Left ’em in the sink. Working out? NOPE! Shower? …I have found time for that for my own sanity. Anyways, God has shown me a greater need in moments that I could be tidying up around the house or doing something for myself. He’s helped me to see this time as a precious gift to enjoy our sweet girl and my husband. He’s also used this time to help me see value in rest and not needing to constantly be doing something. Labor was the most intense, hardest “workout” my body has ever experienced. I used to think my sprints during college days up and down the soccer field were difficult, oh no. I ended up needing to undergo major surgery during labor, which I’ll touch on later, but God made me a mother to help me see how important it is to just be still and know that God is working all things together for my good. I haven’t been outside much, haven’t been very active, and have done minimal housework over the past three weeks. But that’s okay. God made me a mother to view each moment as time to be present with those that I love and worry less about the other “stuff” that should be done. God made me a mother to hold loosely to my list and hold tightly to my little team.
God made me a mother to humble me.
Wowza. Motherhood is humbling in every way. One day you feel prepared and ready for what’s coming and then it happens. Your baby arrives. All of a sudden everything is new. It’s very true when people have told me, “everything changes”. Even running a simple errand that would normally take ten minutes all of a sudden turns into an hour. Going for a walk requires careful planning and preparation. I’m sure I’ll laugh some day when all of these new things become easier and more routine, but for now I am humbled daily by how much I didn’t prepare for or they didn’t teach you in your “baby moon” class and to just roll with it anyways. I’ve relied heavily on God’s word that reminds me of His great care for me from Isaiah 41:10 that says,
Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This verse became particularly important to remember during labor as well. From the very beginning, I had pictured myself having an unmedicated, intervention-free labor and delivery. I yearned to experience birth in the most natural way and feel that sense of accomplishment, because I know God made my body to endure labor! I believed I could do it! Well, because our little girl took her sweet time to arrive, I had to be induced. So, from the getgo I had to l e t g o, h u m b l e m y s e l f, and trust that this was within God’s perfect will and if He wanted this intervention to happen, that’s what’s meant to happen. Fast forward 18 hours of labor, and I had experienced ALL interventions throughout labor, which ended in need for an emergency c-section. Because my midwife had to break my water and I had labored that long with minimal progress, I had contracted an infection which was affecting C’s heartbeat. When my midwife went to the doctor and the doctor came back into our room to share this news of needing a c-section, my first thought was “Why Lord?” They left for a short while, and I had a moment of doubt and fear as I locked eyes with Dakota. He quickly reminded me that this was all within God’s perfect will and in that moment, a wave of complete peace washed over me. I humbly accepted God’s birth plan for us, for C, and handed it completely over to Him. From there on out, I shut my eyes, prayed out loud with Dakota, recited our fighter verses out loud together, prayed for the people in the operating room out loud, and didn’t open my eyes until I saw C in front of me. Although labor went the COMPLETE opposite of how I had imagined it, I am still in awe of how God worked during those precious hours. What most view as disappointing needing to have a c-section, I found contentment knowing this was exactly how God intended our birth story to go. I found complete peace and joy knowing that God already knew exactly how/when/where/why C was born the way that she was. I am thankful that in all of this, God was most glorified. Less of me, more of Him.
God made me a mother to understand the great sacrificial love of Jesus.
God made me a mother to see more than ever God’s great grace and sacrificial love through His son, Jesus. I am learning that motherhood and parenthood in general is a time to show countless acts of sacrificial love. Every day I have the chance to give my time, energy, and love to my two most important gifts, Dakota and C. There have been plenty of times that I’ve made a snack because breastfeeding makes you STARVIIIIIING and just as I’m about to take that first bite, C is beckoning me with her sweet little cry that she is hungry too. I’ve had to press pause on a lot of my needs and wants and put hers before those. At first it was slightly overwhelming and frustrating, especially when my NEED for sleep was butting heads with her NEED to eat. That quickly subsided when I would get to C and see how instantly satisfied she was when I would feed her. I am the only one in the world who can feed her and meet her basic need in that way, and that’s a pretty amazing gift from God. I have found more joy in meeting her needs than my own as the days have added…motherhood is pretty cool that way. Even writing this post is in-between needed cuddles, tummy time, feeding, bathing, changing diapers, and kisses for C. When I think about all of these daily moments to die to self and put her needs first, I am constantly reminded of the greatest sacrifice I or anyone will ever know, Jesus dying on the cross to pay for my sins. Jesus lived a perfect life, He never sinned. And yet, when the Father called Him to do this, Jesus willingly laid down His life to save mine. To save yours. To save sinners like us. As Jesus took on the burden of our sin, died for them, then rose again to conquer and defeat death and sin… I am reminded that my daily “dying to self” is nothing compared to Jesus’ act of sacrificial love. So, in those moments at 2:00 AM when all I want is to stay cozied up in our warm bed, I am encouraged through Jesus. During that first week when I couldn’t even stand without wincing from the pain of my incisions to go get C, I remembered that my God constantly pours out sacrificial love to me, and if my aim is to become more and more like Christ, I too must continually pour out sacrificial love.
Another beautiful insight God has revealed to me through the birth of C is how much my husband sacrificially loves me. During my first week home, Dakota had to help me with almost everything. I was so tired and in pain from my c-section, he really had to take on the brunt of many things. On top of catering to me, C, Scout… he continued to work and maintained all of the house duties that normally I take care of. He’s made all the phone calls, handled all the insurance things, taken care of payments… and probably so much more that I wasn’t even aware of. Through the birth of C, I have found a new level of love for my husband, which I didn’t think was possible. Seeing that man love C is something I will always cherish. Watching him love her and protect her and provide for us is all a blessing he gives us. That man is such a sweet soul, and I am continually thankful to God for the special gift Dakota is to me.
God made me a mother.
In the few weeks that our little lady has been born, God has been so faithful to provide our every need. He has been our strength, our encouragement, our source of joy in the mundane moments, late nights, restless days. Motherhood is the most joyful, tiring, rewarding, humbling, b e s t job I have the privilege of undertaking. I believe God made me a mother for His glory. So that through my mothering…through our parenting, our children would come to know the depth of their sin, but even more so, their need for our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.