Welp, Shiloh and I made it past a year into humanhood and motherhood, and both of us are still alive. Quite a miracle if you ask me. I reread through the post I wrote last year when I was three weeks away from welcoming Shiloh into the world outside the womb. I was clueless then, and maybe a little less clueless now, but still overall clueless. As much as I want to know everything there is to parenting, the truth is I’m never going to get off the learning wheel, and that’s not a bad thing. Truthfully if I had to do it all again (no I’m not pregnant, lol), I don’t even know if I would remember what I did the first time around. It all seemed to go by in a flash of sleeplessness and taking everything in as it came at me—literally with the explosive poos—though it’s quite impressive how explosive they can be. But it’s all part of the fun.
What’s not so fun is when I don’t want to go with God’s flow and *try* and take the reigns. As I settled into motherhood, I started to feel the pangs of, “I don’t have time to think about everything I want to get done, never mind get it done.” The first few months weren’t so bad. I apparently have a rare baby who is an excellent sleeper and started sleeping through the night at three months. Overall she’s a very peaceful baby which is good, because one meaning of her name is “place of peace”.
At first she just slept most of the day and would be up an hour or two to be fed, changed and played with, and then fall back asleep. I felt so confident with my time in what some call “the fourth trimester” that I even took an online class three months after she was born. A good chunk of that time was also spent healing as I ended up having a c-section. I was upset but I went with God’s flow on this one, like I had a choice, and it ended up being good. Especially since the cord was wrapped around her neck twice when the doc pulled her out. Plus my husband got a tour of my womb from the doc, so I guess it was a bonus for him.
Then she started being awake more and moving around. Then she started solids and I decided to cook most of her food. Now I’m trying this elimination communication (EC) potty training thing that I started just before she turned one, because I like a good challenge. On top of that, I’m trying to keep the house, dog and myself in some workable order, plus help run our lil online business, plus read up on parenting books for whatever stage I’m in because I’m still clueless. Free time? What free time.
As lovely/fun/encouraging/exciting it is to have the privilege to raise another human that God saw fit to put into my care (scary), it does require a certain dying to ‘self’.
Now that the reality of parenthood has set in, if I don’t schedule time to chill, read my bible (or write) it ain’t gonna happen. Gone are the days when I would leisurely wake up on a Saturday, look outside at the beautiful weather, and decide to pack up my bible and whatever devotional book I was reading to spend two hours with the Lord in nature. Gone to maybe return in 20 years, ha! It does put into perspective what’s important in life, and it’s interesting how priorities change. My world was all about me pre-baby and now it’s all about her.
As lovely/fun/encouraging/exciting it is to have the privilege to raise another human that God saw fit to put into my care (scary), it does require a certain dying to ‘self’. I believe this is the real crux of the abortion argument. Everyone on both sides knows a real human is being murdered in the womb, but one side believes a son/daughter is worth the sacrifice for ‘self’. I mean I get it. Trust me. I have to fight my ‘self’ every day in this. No matter how much of a blessing it is to have a child, or be a child of God, dying to self ain’t fun and it NEVER feels good, ever. Especially if you’re not a Christian in today’s world, the dying to self thing is so out of vogue. But particularly, if you choose to murder your son/daughter in the womb, there is a high price to pay in order to preserve your ‘self’.
As much as this part of the process of parenting pangs me, I know in the long run it’s good for me. God used so many things in my pre-baby life to bring me to my knees until I went with his flow, and now that Shiloh is here, he doesn’t have to be as creative in bringing me to my knees. Hands down, it’s daily. Even in my mind. If I let it drift, even a little, and start thinking about all the things I’m not getting done, or want to get done but can’t get to, or the fact that the whole house isn’t perfect and in my control, it’s sink or swim. Freak out or get on my knees. It’s intense and constant. And of course, the mind gets healed when I get on my knees and cry out to God that I need his help. THIS is what he wants from me. THIS is a successful Christian in his eyes. And it sucks, because this type of success doesn’t feel good at the outset, but it’s what satisfies in the long run.
Whether you’re a parent or not, if you’re a Christian, God’s bringing you to your knees whether you like or not. If you’re not a Christian, he will bring you to your knees in the next life quite literally (Phil. 2, Rom. 14). He does it because he gets glory, because it really is the best for us, and as a loving Father himself, he’s not going to give his adopted sons and daughters anything less (Heb. 12). Mind you, it’s not bad to have goals, but it’s bad when achieving them becomes the source of satisfaction/purpose/identity. I would love to one day finish my MA in Apologetics, publish a book and have the freedom to evangelize and minister like I used to. But if none of those things happen, I have to be ok with it. God is the one accomplishing his purposes and whatever fits into them is what I will achieve in my life—regardless of what the world considers to be success. Which at the moment, don’t even get me started about the current culture—Chick-fil-A (ahem ahem).
Anywho, so God may seem like a big, selfish meanie to the untrained Christian or unbeliever. But to the trained believer, his will and glory is water to the soul (Ps. 119). Everything is all about him, because it all comes from him, except evil. But he’s even sovereign over that (Job). It’s all good. It’s restful. It’s soul satisfying. He’s the one at the helm of my life. Frankly that’s a good thing. Much like my parenting skills, I’m not very good at navigating through life and knowing what’s best for myself. He does and he’s good at it. So in autonomy I flounder, in obedience/submission I rest. He has orchestrated parenting and life to keep me on my knees and that’s a very good thing.