As I’ve sought to thrive instead of survive, God has been teaching me several things about Himself and the beauty of the gospel in my new everyday norm. There have been times I’ve felt like I was sinking and didn’t know how to swim. The feeling can be overwhelming and I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean. God’s grace in our “overwhelmed, in over our head moments” is this: we don’t have to swim, we just have to open up our hands so that Jesus can pull us up into the boat with Him.
I’ve stopped trying to swim and am learning to simply rest in Him.
Let It Go.
Perhaps you’ve heard this tune about a hundred (or more) times since the movie Frozen hit the movie theaters. My niece loves to burst into this song at any given moment! These three words have been bringing freedom to my life lately. One way that we can thrive in our season as mommas is to let go of expectations. Specifically, we need to release the expectations we have placed on our babies, our husbands, ourselves, and others. I know that for us, we expected to bring home a calm baby that never cried and was always peaceful. The first night we were home Nolan didn’t sleep well and we were dead tired. I remember my husband and I both saying “he wasn’t like this in the hospital!” How were we to know? They brought our sweet baby to us when he was hungry and took him back to the nursery each night!
I am learning that if I am going to embrace this new season, I need to let go of the expectations I placed on my baby. After all, he is exploring this world and everything is new to him! If I let him be a baby and love him and care for him, even in the tears, diaper blowouts, fussiness, naps, spit up and feedings, this season will be a gift rather than something to get through.
"LEARNING TO 'LET IT GO' AND LOVE ALL THE CHAOS OF A NEWBORN HAS BROUGHT JOY TO MY TIRED MOTHERHOOD DAYS."
I’ve also had to let go of expectations I have placed on myself. The to-do lists have been set aside for this time and the house hasn’t been vacuumed by me since Nolan was born. And that is okay. My role right now is to be a momma to Nolan and treasure the moments I have with him. I don’t want to miss them by being distracted by the things I feel I have to do. Instead of getting things done in nap time, I rest, and that has been one of the most fruitful things I do with my time! This is hard for someone who is a multi-tasker and lover of lists like me. Becoming a momma has stripped me of my self-sufficiency and self-centeredness. Every day I am being sanctified to become more like Christ. Learning to let go of the expectations I’ve placed on myself to be a “perfect mom” has been humbling, freeing, and exciting. You see, when God does His work in our hearts, He brings it to completion (Philippians 1:6). God knows that only Jesus is perfect and we desperately need Him.
Letting go of “perfect” in whatever season you are in and embracing Jesus is the key to abundant life.
Worship in the Chaos
Another lesson I am learning is that quiet times don’t always have to be quiet. Rarely do I get a whole hour to myself to study the Word, but I do get opportunities all day long to live it, think about it, and worship as I mother Nolan. In the mornings, we read together as much as I can get in while I nurse him and then throughout the day I try to meditate on Scripture. Even in the moments when Nolan is fussy, we turn on worship music and dance and sing together. As simple as this sounds, these moments have been precious between me and my son! Being a momma is an incredible opportunity to worship our Creator. After all, we are holding His very creation and witnessing miracles every single day. Momma’s should be some of the most awestruck worshippers!
Cultivate a Quiet Heart
As I’ve said and many of you know, life is seldom quiet with newborns and young children. However, we can cultivate a quiet heart. Elisabeth Elliot talked about keeping a quiet heart in this midst of chaos. As a momma, life is much more fruitful and peaceful when I stay calm and quiet even when Nolan is crying. This is easier said than done when I can’t figure out how to calm him. However, my attitude is reflected in my baby. If I am stressed, he can sense it. The Lord tells us over and over in Scripture to bring our worries and anxieties before His throne and to trade them for His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). The way we cultivate a quiet heart is through constant, continual prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is a gift. It is our lifeline as mommas and believers. It is an opportunity to commune with God always.
"PRAYER IS KEY TO THRIVING IN EVERY SINGLE SEASON OF THIS LIFE!"
No matter what season of life you are currently in, whether you have a newborn in your lap right now, a toddler running around the living room, or maybe you are in a season of waiting, one thing is always certain, God desires our best and the gospel is good. It is not just good at salvation, it is good every day. The gospel frees us from expectations and places our hope in Christ who never disappoints or fails. It compels us to worship with every fiber of our being in all circumstances of life, even as a momma nursing a newborn in the middle of the night. It frees us from worry and anxiety and instills the peace of Jesus in our hearts. The gospel is our hope, friends. Let’s live in light of the cross and trade our mode of surviving for thriving in His grace.