Upon finding out I was pregnant, I emerged myself in every resource that was available to better prepare myself for what awaited me in Motherhood. Cover to cover reading plans and embarrassing amounts of “A Baby Story” viewings, I thought I had some concept of what was on the other side. But there are some things that caught me off guard.
MY CONCEPT OF LOVE.
Up until the day I delivered my son, I had secretly mulled over the fear of not feeling an immediate bond. I struggled with not feeling as connected to the squirming alien in my belly as I thought I should have been. Don’t get me wrong, I was filled with anticipation and whatever love I knew up to this point- but I still felt I was going to be introduced to a stranger the moment the doctors handed him over.
When they placed my baby boy in my arms, something blanketed me from my head to my numbed toes. It was a love I can only describe as HUNGER. I needed this baby as if my life depended on it and it was immediate. Love at first sight. Soul-wrecking, fierce love that would forever change my perspective on EVERYTHING.
DISCOVERING WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF.
It is amazing to experience labor and delivery. The good, the bad, the ugly. I realized all that I was capable of. Physically, the whole concept of pregnancy and delivery is mind-blowing if you ask me. I never knew what my body could really do until put to the test, and it has inspired me to live life to the fullest and take care of the body I have been given.
As I made the long walk down to the NICU for that painstaking week, I realized the capacity the Lord had given me to take the emotional turmoil in stride. I certainly did not handle everything un-effected, in fact – I was VERY effected. For the first time ever, I allowed myself to break down when I needed to. No use trying to keep it bottled up, and I assure you – there were floodgates.
I also realized that I had the capacity to loose it, to snap at unsuspecting victims if they asked me a question I couldn’t answer, or handed me bad news on my newborn. It is amazing what being placed in a stressful environment teamed with raging hormone crashes will do to you. I laugh at it now, but woof, I was a monster. Bless my husband.
THE SACRIFICE IT WOULD ENTAIL.
I was not one of those women who love being pregnant. Pregnancy for me was hard from the first day to the last day. I was quite sick through week 27, and by week 36 I had blood pressure spikes, migraines and projectile vomiting. No one prepared me that making another human being was HARD WORK. Well, it is!
For a female who has never struggled deeply with weight issues/image issues – as the scale raised – I was amazed by the effect it had on me. I would love to say that it didn’t faze me – but it did, deeply. And as my self-esteem dropped, my guilt rose for even caring about my appearance. Teamed with innocent comments on my swelling face and giant belly, there was not a day I didn’t shed a tear or two.
I wasn’t prepared, but in hindsight, I find such beauty in it all. The sacrifice clearly didn’t end at the end of my 41 weeks, in fact – it had just started. But somewhere along the way I started cherishing the fact that I had such a treasure to sacrifice for.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” – Matthew 13:45
Sold ALL and bought it. In life, things of true value are worth sacrificing for. My son is a treasure, and as hard as it was in moments, the purchase was the grandest of my life. I don’t regret the things I lost, gave away, surrendered. (Though an occasional morning to sleep in would be nice. I kid. Kind of.)
I didn’t realize the protective beast that lay dormant beneath my typically approval-addicted, push-over personality. There have been a handful of times since the birth of my boy where I felt the environment in which he was in, be it in the care of another individual, doctors office, hospital etc. that was not out for his best interest and I quite literally saw red. The normal filter that I depend on to send that trusty voice through my brain, “think before you speak” dissolved and I am left with spewing out words I didn’t know I had the capacity to say. Something that before Tristan, was not my knee-jerk reaction, but an instinctual protector has taken over. “I am momma, hear me roar” kind of thing. I’m working on the delivery of my words folks, but don’t mess with my baby. Grrrr.
MY NEED FOR HELP.
Guys, I am stubborn and I don’t like to accept help. I don’t know where this vice ever came to plant ugly roots in my life- but it is something I have had to dig up and get over since having a baby. The first few weeks we were left with this new, crying newborn and no breaks – it was exhausting. My God-sent Mother in Law came in town about a month after and gave us a breather. Even then it was hard for me to accept the help, but her steady offers soon became a lifeline. I made small steps – said “yes” to offers of food and company, and I realized how much happier I was because of it.
MY APPRECIATION FOR MY OWN MOM.
May go without saying, but you definitely gain a new perspective on your own mom after birthing a child and carrying the responsibility for another life. I always knew she had an unshakeable love for my sister and I, but after Tristan… I get it. She gave up so much so we would have and I get it. Love you, mom. Oceans worth.
Before having a baby I would have done just about anything to see my own personal goals fulfilled. I would find myself compromising, surrounding myself with people who were not positive examples, if it meant advancement. Since baby, the Lord has freed me from this. I am so much more sensitive to the atmospheres of places and even the dreams that I had for myself revealed their true selfish colors. I certainly believe that the things I was called to before a baby are absolutely still there and I will always do my best to walk in obedience in the opportunities the Lord presents, but its not about that anymore. It is about being faithful even in hidden seasons. It is about loving everyone you can like crazy, going out of your way to make sure others advance and trusting that all opportunity is given by God, not man. – He is not going to forget about me if I stop trying to manipulate my future.
A DEEP NEED FOR “REAL RELIGION”.
“Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” – James 1:27 (MSG)
I have such a deep rooted NEED for my boy to get in the trenches of ministry alongside Blake and I. True ministry, ministry that God looks down upon and is pleased with. I want my boy to fall in love with simplicity. I want him to live a life full of love and loyalty, integrity and hard work. May he see JESUS in the actions of Blake and I, and desire to emulate a life like His.
NO GREATER MINISTRY.
Recently the Lord blew my socks off by literally raining down favor and abundance on an event with our precious youth group girls. We had expected a certain number to show, but they continued to arrive in droves and we found ourselves filled to capacity. More than double what we had planned for. We worshiped alongside them, challenged them with right living and the TRUTH of Jesus Christ and his Word. We prayed with them down at altars, we socialized with them around tables. To say my heart was full was such a drastic understatement. THANK YOU GOD for the life change that weekend. And all glory to Him, for it was nothing we did, we just opened up some doors and bought some pizza. HE did the rest. After about 30 straight hours with the girls, I was able to come home and return to my boy.
As I rocked him to sleep I was overwhelmed with tears. As great of a weekend as it was, the Holy Spirit blanketed me as I saw his tiny eyes flutter. Complete trust, complete dependency – here in my arms was a ministry that carried a weight that nothing else I had ever done or accomplished could hold a 10-foot-pole to. I am not saying the other was not important, the flock the Lord trusts me with is VERY important, but as far wide as it may stretch, it will never dig itself as deep as the little boy in my arms and his daddy who came up and prayed over us. I never understood the statement “Your greatest ministry is at home” until now.
CONTENTMENT. NO MORE. NO LESS.
After graduating college I had a view of what I thought was a successful life. When people asked me “What do you do?” I would have a very eloquent response of whatever job I was currently doing, promotions I had received, places I had traveled/lived. More than even trying to impress others, I always felt the need to make MYSELF believe I was doing something important. Since having Tristan I have found a role that gives me deep fulfillment regardless of anything else I am currently involved in. I have found that life is not as complicated as we make it, to take whatever is in my hands and do the best I can with it, moment by moment as the Lord continues to direct my steps. For the first time in a long time, I have found a place of true happiness and contentment. I feel proud of whom I am becoming. I am energized to face tomorrow with a smile. After all, life is temporary. What will outlive us? Our great bods? Our cash flow?
Of course not. It is the eternal impact we leave on others, leading them to lives of freedom that only Christ can bring. Never did I think the greatest sermon I would ever hear and receive would come from a babbling infant who knows nothing of what he is teaching me. But one thing is certain, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.
Motherhood is pearl.