Friday, April 1, 2011

Journey of Faith Friday: Motherhood Brings Unexpected Change


Motherhood Brings Unexpected Change


The hospital doors quickly opened and the last thing on my mind was how how my relationship with Jesus would change as a result of becoming a mother.  Instead, I thought about meeting my baby boy, about becoming a mother, about Sam becoming a father, about the searing pain pulsing through my abdomen.  
Now, looking back over the last year, my mind rarely wonders elsewhere.  When I think about becoming a mother, how it has changed me, I am overjoyed at how it has brought me to a deeper, more intimate walk with my Lord (challenges and all).  I have overflowed with love.  I have exploded in frustration.  I have poured out kisses.  I have walked away in anger.  I have experienced an abundance of joy.  I have felt trapped by loneliness.  I have been stretched and challenged in ways I never imagined.  I have been blessed, loved, and needed in ways I never imagined.  I have longed to know, show, and live for Jesus in ways I never thought possible.  All since a baby boy was placed in my arms 369 days ago. 
Many years ago, I asked God to reveal in me the areas of my life I needed to change and to help me change them.  Little did I know (at that time) that request would be a life long journey that is, at times, so painful I can feel my heart break in my own chest.  Many times I have ignored His revelation, particularly when dealing with my "quick to judge, lack of grace" attitude.  If I am being honest, it is often easy to ignore, as people come in and out of your life, your home, giving you room to breathe, room to forget.  

Then, God gave me a child!

A child that can't be ignored.  A child I wouldn't want to ignore.  A child that doesn't come in and out of my life.........hopefully.  A child that doesn't leave my home.........yet.  A child I struggle to imagine ever leaving my home, let alone my care.  A child I never want to forget, neglect, or pass on the "quick to judge, lack of grace" attitude (among other things) that seems to plague me.  All of a sudden, with this baby boy, not only do I LOVE more, but I love and long for Jesus MORE.
There are so many things about motherhood, parenthood, that has opened my eyes allowing me to view God, to view Jesus in a way I was unable to do before. Some times, I open his door and watch him sleep.  My heart beats a little slower and I am overcome with joy and peace, especially after a stressful day.  I often wonder if God looks down on us, is the wee morning hours, and thinks, all they have done to frustrate me today........is forgotten.  I wonder if He sees His sweet child slumbering, as I see my child, and His heart slows a little and the slate is wiped clean (Isaiah. 1:18, Psalm 51:7).
Some times when he throws a temper tantrum, because I won't let him play in the garbage or touch the stove, I think about how many times God could have used those words as an analogy for my own life.  I wonder if He thinks, "How many times have I told you, that is trash?  It is not worth your time?  It is unclean and will only lead to a huge mess?  You are in a danger zone!  It is not safe to play there.  You could get burned.  I am going to smack your hand now and you are going to cry, but it is for your own good.  I am going to take you away from the situation, but I know you will return.  Don't worry, I'll teach you the same lesson tomorrow and the next day and the next day until you learn."  
Each time he conquers another milestone I think about the daily processes it took to get there.  When he was learning to crawl, he would extend his elbows and try so hard to pull his knees underneath him, but the arms would give away before he succeeded.  After a few days, he could rock back and forth on hands and knees.  Then, came a few steps, but PLOP and he was back to square one.  Now, he can motor along without a thought.  That progress has opened a new world for him.  Each moment he progresses I feel so much pride.  I really can't explain it......my heart feels like it will burst.  Does God feel that way?  Does he watch us from a far, cheering on our every advancement, our every success?  Does He encourage us to overcome the "milestones" of life knowing our world will be opened to new challenges, new opportunities, new set backs, new joys, new pains?  I would venture to say, "YES!" (Jeremiah 29:10-14, Psalm 20:4-9)  Not for own pride, but for His glory, for His renown.  

Is the desire of your heart to make Him known, to glorify Him (Isaiah 26:8)?

During the times when he spews food from his mouth and green sprays all over his shirt, my shirt, and the high chair.....I lose my cool.  My blood pressure shoots through the roof and I sternly say, "WE DO NOT SPIT OUR FOOD.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"  Oh, how many times have I experienced the stern voice of the LORD, the discipline of the LORD.  Becoming a mother has allowed me to better understand the need and the value of discipline.  

As is written, "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,


   'My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, 
   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, 
   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.'[a]

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:4-11).

Some times when he lays in his bed fighting sleep (as is the case at this very moment) I say to God, "I am sorry for all of the times I have fought you.  I am sorry for shaking my fist at you proclaiming, 'I KNOW BEST.'  I am sorry for wasting the many opportunities to rest in your arms, because the fight, the pride was more important.  I am sure I will do it again, but please keep coming back, picking me up, rocking me, and gently leading me to rest."
When I am exhausted and the crying/whining seems to drag on for hours.  When my fuse is short.  When I fall short.  When I wonder why motherhood is so hard?  I take a deep breath and imagine God saying, "Press on.  I know you....COMPLETELY.  I have ordained your every day, while you were being woven in your mother's womb. I have ordained all of your son's days.  You were made for this. (Psalm 139).  Keep pressing on, my child, and bring me the glory I know you desire to bring (Phil 3:14)"

   **I just want to say I am not trying to minimize God by comparing Him to myself.  I have found in my search of Scriptures, in my prayer time, and in my conversations with others that God has significantly increased my understanding of Him through the journey of parenthood.  With that said, I realize and believe that God is much different than all earthly parents. He is PERFECT in every way.  I believe He is the all-knowing, all-powerful, sinless, Creator that the Bible describes.  I know WE (humans/parents) fall WAY short of that and am thankful to have a perfect example to follow.
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You can read previous Journey of Faith posts HERE.

Every Friday, I post about the work God is doing or has done in my life, as I journey on this road of faith.

How is God working in your life as you journey with Him?

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10 comments:

Kindra said...

Wow, did I need these words this morning. I'm feeling weary and frustrated - and in need of remembering. So many things resonated - "If I am being honest, it is often easy to ignore, as people come in and out of your life, your home, giving you room to breathe, room to forget."
"I am going to take you away from the situation, but I know you will return. Don't worry, I'll teach you the same lesson tomorrow and the next day and the next day until you learn.".
"I am sorry for wasting the many opportunities to rest in your arms, because the fight, the pride was more important. I am sure I will do it again, but please keep coming back, picking me up, rocking me, and gently leading me to rest."
Thanks dear friend for challenging and reminding me today. I thank God I'm not on this walk alone :)

Carolina said...

Wow what a beautifully written post! I agree with Kindra it has challenged me today as well. I can relate to all the frustrations you mention- specially feeling my blood flow when Jack spits out his food after I have told him not to numerous times. Or watching him sleep soundly at night and forgetting about all the frustrations I experienced with him earlier in the day. I agree that God the father shows us so much about who HIM through the process of being a mother. It is a beautiful and painful process all at the same time! But so worth it to be in a deeper relationship with Him through this journey.

Heidi said...

very beautiful reflections, Amber.

it's so true that one can better identify how the Lord must view us once we become a parent.

Growing your own family sure does grow you as a believer too! I felt God's refining in my life more fervently when I got married, then it intensified even more with the addition of each child.

Me said...

Lovely, beautiful, awe inspiring words today Amber. I was really blessed by yuour post and will try to join you next Friday.

Katie said...

what a beautiful beautiful post...thank you so much for sharing. I'm not a mom, but cannot wait to be one one day, and already have such an intense love for my future children that I cannot fathom how God loves us as He does. Its incredible-

Charlie and Rachel said...

gahhhh those sunset pictures are amazing!!

Rebecca said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for writing such an honest, yet relatable post. I also needed this. My heart is now full.

Sarah Halstead said...

I love this! So honest and true. I love the photos too. Those silhouettes are awesome!

katy said...

Such an encouraging post, Amber! Thank you for this. :) I struggle SO MUCH with Kendra in these toddler phases, especially when she is not feeling well and the whining/tantrums just seem to take up our entire day, and then you throw a teething Bee into the mix and there are days where I see just how ugly and sinful I really am. I had a bit of a breakdown about that two weeks ago and while it was awful, it was such a good reminder that on my own I can do NOTHING. In my weakness He is strong. It has been so good for me to remember as I can feel my temper about to snap that he has the patience that I do not, and He has not given me more than I can bear. I can bear it through Him.

Sandy said...

Wonderful, post, Amber. Surely most mothers, who consider themselves lovers of Jesus, can identify with most of what you have written.

"I am sorry for shaking my fist at you proclaiming, 'I KNOW BEST.' I am sorry for wasting the many opportunities to rest in your arms, because the fight, the pride was more important. I am sure I will do it again, but please keep coming back, picking me up, rocking me, and gently leading me to rest."

Your post brought back memories of emotions, struggles and conversations I've had over the years.

Well written.