Our sweet son Samuel is the greatest gift and blessing that I truly don’t deserve. I reflect daily on my immense thankfulness for him and was reminded recently that before we see a spiritual life developing in our babies, God is working. They have the unique ability to delight, astound and heal with just a sweet smile or coo. God is always at work! So, while being a mother has been the greatest blessing it has also been the greatest challenge.
For 9 months I thought through many of the changes I would be preparing for –cloth diapering, introducing the dogs to a baby, how to nurse effectively, lack of sleep, etc. The one change I didn’t fully recognize, embrace or prepare for – being constantly needed. Every moment of every day, someone or something needs me; even if a moment arises where I am not needed – I am anticipating the next time I will be needed (which is never many moments away). My husband needs me, my son needs me, my dogs need me, my parents need me, my friends need me, and my house needs me… to clean it. It is a beautiful thing to be needed, it's through that neediness that our mission as mothers takes shape. Jesus invites us to "follow his pattern, to trust his promises, and to nurture others by the power he provides" (Missional Motherhood, Gloria Furman). Unfortunately, this neediness can become quickly overwhelming and almost claustrophobic as it restricts the time and energy I once had for focused thoughts and meditation on God's Word. Every new journal entry seems to start the same – “Lord, too much time has passed since I last surrendered my concerns to you…” and “Father, it’s been a week since I spent more than 5 minutes meditating on your Word…” I can easily spend a large chunk of the day beating myself up over my inability and failure to dive deep and allow Him to nourish my soul through His Word. It's when my desire for Him meets my laziness or lack of energy that I fall to my knees in desperation for God’s wisdom, strength and peace.
As I began writing the thoughts below, regarding God’s promise to not let go, I see His use of everything and everyone around me to remind me that He sees me, He hears me and He knows me! It’s funny how something can strike you all of a sudden and leave you breathless. Our sweet Father used my best friend to remind me of His faithfulness in her sharing of this sweet sentiment. As a father and son prepare to cross the street he invites his son to hold his hand so as to guide him to safety; however, this father does not rely on his son to maintain that grip. It’s the father who holds firm; he does not let go of his son’s hand and he guides him to safety. Oh how this echoes our Holy Father’s promise in Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” My Creator does not depend on me to hold firm to His hand… He who already paid the ultimate price for my life by sacrificing the life of His own son; He who initiated my salvation and invited me into relationship; He is the one holding onto my hand because His grip is constant and strong. He who has already done so much, does even more. It’s His strong grip on me that allows me to respond in love to the needs surrounding me. It’s His strong grip that turns the challenges of motherhood into opportunities for His grace to shine through.
"My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.
I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."
Lyrics credit: Grace by Laura Story