Each month, I am responsible for a morning devotional for the staff. I don't always write out what I'm going to say but, for some reason, I was inspired last night and began to write...
God Teaches When Least ExpectedIn spite of my best intentions, my best efforts, my best laid plans, I was completely unprepared for all that motherhood was to teach me. There have been many lessons, but the lessons about God and my faith have been the hardest (yet most important) to learn.
I say hard because they were just that. My stubborn, pig-headed, I know best approach was completely insufficient from the moment my son was born. Mostly because he was born with the exact same stubborn, pig-headed, I just entered this world but I already know best approach. It was ingrained in him and we butted heads. As much as a 1 hour old child and his 28 year old mother could.
I say important because they are just that. The lessons that God has taught me (is teaching me) through my son are the kind of life lessons that one can only hope are imparted on them. I often think that God, in his wisdom, didn't allow me even the desire to get pregnant earlier in my marriage (even though I've been married since I was 22 years old). I don't think I would have been ready or even willing to accept the lessons that He needed me to learn.
Lesson #1: I am not enough.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."(2 Corinthians 12:9)
I'll never forget the moment that my 10 day old son wouldn't stop crying. It had been at least 3 hours. He wouldn't eat...well, he did then he threw the entire bottle up all over me. Head to toe, covered in his regurgitated formula, I tried to soothe him. Then I begged him to stop crying. Then I rocked and sang and begged some more. Then, I laid him in his bassinet and cried. My cries were even louder then his. I screamed at the top of my lungs because I felt so overwhelmed and under prepared and completely alone. WEAK. Weaker then I ever remember feeling before. Powerless and alone and desperate for a shoulder, a hand, an ear, some relief.
I gave up in that moment, and God took over. I can't even remember what the outcome of that night was. At some point, I'm sure Z stopped crying and I probably (but not certainly) showered, but I know that it was no longer of my own might.
I know that God didn't magically make my baby stop crying or make me feel less frazzled. It wasn't a snap, instant change. But I know that in that moment, as I sat on my bedroom floor crying louder then my 10 day old, I gave it over to God. This independent, "you're not the boss of me" girl surrendered to something higher, bigger and better then herself. I, alone, wasn't enough. And his power was perfect in my infinite weakness.
Lesson #2: Worrying is a waste
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
I often wondered, and still do, why God would ever give me the responsibility to care for such fragile life. He could have picked so many other, more deserving, better women to be Z's mom, yet somehow he chose me. Me. Imperfect me.
The responsibility of raising a child, a son, in the world as we know it is overwhelming to say the least. The doubt that creeps in, fills my thoughts and often consumes me. I feel as far from peace as one could imagine.
Before Z was born, I remember being told how, when I looked into my child's eyes, I would know peace. They lied. All I knew when I looked at Z was worry, concern, doubt and fear. I knew what it meant to wonder what would happen if you messed everything up. How a little life could be forever changed by a mistake you made. It made me sick to think of what had been bestowed on me as a new mom.
But God used these feelings, the worry, concern, doubt and fear, to show me where my mind needed to be and where my thoughts needed to be focused. The overwhelmingness of my worry is what showed me my shortcomings and the need that I have to focus on Christ above all. Not on the "what ifs" or "I should have...", but on Christ. His power, his wisdom, his grace. With wholehearted trust that He totally knew what he was doing when he made me Z's mom- allowing him to give me His perfect peace.
Lesson 3: I don't know it all (the toughest lesson to learn)
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him". James 1:5
I like to think I'm a pretty bright girl. So, I guess one of the biggest lessons that I have learned is that I don't know it all. I actually don't know very much at all.
The moment I understood how little wisdom I actually possessed was the moment the nurse put my new born child in my arms.
"Z," she said, "Meet your mommy". And I looked at the teeny, tiny redhead and knew I knew nothing. Not only did I have no idea how to hold a newborn, let alone take care of him, but I lacked the God-given wisdom that I would need to care for this child and raise him up in a Christ-centred home.
The wisdom to know how to say "No" when its easier to say "Yes". The wisdom to speak softly when I want to scream, and be firm when I want to cave. The wisdom to let him explore within boundaries and to logically explain limitations when he wants none. The wisdom to stand my ground when other parents let things go.
A prayer life was something that I had ignored for years, because I didn't really need God's wisdom when I had my own (brilliant?) thoughts to get me though. But now, finally, I saw the need for God in my life. Not the God that I prayed to because I knew how, that I spoke of because I had grown up using that language, that I praised because I knew the melody and could sing along. I needed the God that could give me the wisdom that I so desperately wanted in order to raise my child in Him.
I couldn't do this one alone- I wasn't enough.
I couldn't waste my time worrying- there was too much on my plate.
I couldn't make all the right decisions- I lacked experience to choose wisely.
There are so many other lessons that I have learned since becoming a mother. God has used Z to transform me in many ways- from someone who praised God when convenient into someone who seeks God's face and God's grace at every turn. I won't even be remotely bold and assume He is done. I know He's not- there is so much more hand hold and lesson learning to be done. But the life lessons I have learned though my son, they are priceless. And I am blessed that God saw fit to teach them to me- even in the most unexpected moments.