I became a mother in my early thirties. After twelve years of marriage, my husband and I joyfully welcomed our newborn baby into our home. We were delighted and completely over the moon in love with this baby for whom we had petitioned the Lord. I left the workforce to become a stay at home mom. Those were precious days in my life, for which I am truly grateful, but if I can be completely honest, it was also an exhausting time.
I went from working forty hours a week in the workplace to double shifts at home. Not only was I exhausted from the long days and sleepless nights, I was also clueless about my new role. So many well-intentioned women in my life were telling me to enjoy every single second with my baby, and I often worried that expressing my honest feelings of exhaustion were somehow miscommunicating a message of an ungrateful heart. My working mom friends were telling me how lucky I was to stay at home. I was completely aware of my good fortune, but still, I was tired emotionally, mentally and most of all physically. Those feelings lead to an overwhelming and unhealthy fear, anxiety, and sense of complete inadequacy. Some women make motherhood look so easy, but I was struggling. I needed rest, wisdom, and guidance.
I'm so thankful now for those feelings because they ushered in a sweet and sanctifying season with the Lord. I personally experienced the truth from Psalm 34:4. As I sought the Lord, he indeed "answered me and delivered me from all my fears". I began to seek the Lord as never before. Daily prayer and time in the Word were nourishment for my anxious mind and weary body. I continued to seek counsel from my godly mother and from my sisters as well, but my daily portion was from the Lord. I began to find absolute joy in being a wife and mother. I fell deeply in love with my husband, and I began to see him in the right light as provider, father, and spiritual leader of our home.
While I was dying to myself, I was finding new life in Jesus. Scripture tells us in Lamentation 3: 22-23, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Oh, what joy to rest in this promise! Every single day there was more mercy and more grace, regardless of my inadequacies from the day before. His grace was indeed sufficient.
What I did not know then, and value so much now, are those foundational years with my child. I was establishing our relationship for the present and for the future. The time that a mother spends with her child in the mundane is so valuable. Meeting their needs when they are young may feel tedious and tiring, but it is through those simple acts that future trustworthiness is established.
Children need so much grace, and moms are in a unique position to model this before them. Offering grace is a discipline, much like prayer and daily Bible study. It requires intentionality. Children typically know which buttons to push to gain a mom's attention, and they do it in a childlike way. Practicing grace lends itself approachability, something that your child will need from you far more in their teen and young adult years. These foundational years are the pathway home when things get sideways in their lives.
Many years have gone by since I brought that baby girl home. She is now a young woman and a college student. Our journey together has been marked by much joy, much sadness, and more joy. God is the God of all seasons. As moms, we have a vision for what we hope the future holds for our children. Prepare your hearts, moms. Things may not turn out exactly the way you have planned. Your children may abandon their faith, forsake the values you so faithfully worked to instill, and break your hearts with their decision making. They may walk down paths that lead you back down the road of sleepless nights and an anxious heart. Perhaps the unfinished work in your son's or daughter's life is of the Lord. Your job is by no means over, but it could simply be changing. Perhaps you need to decrease that He might increase. God chose you to be their mother and point them to Him.
Having said that let me also encourage you. When or if those days come, remember Psalm 56: 8 which tells us, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." The journey of raising children is oftentimes marked with suffering. Those seasons are so very painful. Take comfort in the days gone by. Remember how much you loved that little boy or little girl. They are still there, and very much still needing you to love them. Think back on the times when they covered your face with sticky kisses, and know they still love you. Recall the countless times you pointed your child to God, and trust He has not abandoned them or you. His love for them is so great! You may want to give up, but He never will. Cry out to Him for strength. God knew this day was coming. Trust His plan. Our plans always pale in comparison to His. He has given you the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen you. His mercies are still new every single day.
The Lord has been so kind to me, allowing me to see that I was chosen specifically to be my daughter's mother. He did not choose me because I was going to be a perfect mother, but His bringing us together as a family was perfect! Likewise, God has specifically chosen you to be the mother of your son and/or daughter. Trust that He has given you to one another to do sanctifying work in your hearts and trust Him to do that work.
Enjoy every single second with your child. Take joy in knowing that in the tedious and mundane you are laying a solid foundation for the future.