A few Sunday mornings ago I was talking to a new mama at church. As we gazed at her sweet three week old baby boy, she confessed to me how hard it is. "No one told me how hard it would be! My sister's both had babies and they never mentioned how hard it is!" I told her she apparently didn't talk to me enough because she would definitely not be in the dark about the hardship of new mommy hood. But I remember being a little shocked at how hard it is when Jesse was born. I had always wanted to be a mom and now that I was, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it! The best piece of advice from our first week's post is to remember that it will be over, sooner than you think. But I think another realization has helped me get through the tough times as well: it is supposed to be hard. If it isn't hard, you don't change, you don't grow. Embracing the hardship and relying on Jesus has made this journey much more bearable, not easier but bearable and so much more rewarding.
Mommy hood is made up of mountaintop highs and valley lows, sometimes within the same day! The hard, painful labor is forgotten the second you see that baby for the first time, tears of pain instantly turn to tears of joy! Then a few hours later the cramps start and the bleeding and the sore nipples. But there is your little one so cute and wrinkly and cuddly, and he/she is making just the cutest faces ever! Then after weeks of no sleeping (and maybe still sore nipples) and wondering if this baby will ever make it in your care, a smile that lights up a tiny little face and melts away the fear. It is those mountaintop highs that often keep us going, give us joy that sustain but there are also great opportunities in the valleys as well, don't miss them!
There is Puritan Prayer called the Valley of Vision that says:
"Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision."
I think it is natural to flee from hardship- from the messages of our culture that emphasize comfort and convenience to our flesh that longs to be served and placed in the center of the universe. No wonder this prayer describes the way to see Christ as a paradox! This journey will be filled with wonder and pure joy but you will be most changed by the hardships, by the stretching of yourself and the never ending giving without receiving, the frustrating sin of your children and the heart breaking sin exposed in yourself. It is those moments you see your need of Jesus and where you can begin to grow.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
You already have a sure foundation to face the hardships ahead, you have Jesus and his promises to you: justification, access to grace, peace and hope. You just need to believe them!
Don't flee those moments of hardship and inconvenience on this journey, encounter Jesus over and over and he will change you into the mommy he intended you to be and He will get all the praise! I can't wait to see it!
Readers, what was the hardest thing you faced as a new mom and how did God meet you there and change you?