What is Motherhood?

Motherhood is not getting much sleep at night.

It is regularly cleaning up pee, poop, or milk.

It is becoming a child all over again.

After Asa was born, I had about 20 stitches to fix some tearing. Those 20 stitches reminded me of what it feels like to be helpless and vulnerable. They reminded me what it means to have childlike faith in someone. I couldn’t get up off the couch or out of bed without Landon’s help those first few days. I couldn’t dry off my legs for myself. I couldn’t feed myself because I was so tired. I was completely dependent on other people for help.

With that helplessness comes a need for childlike faith. I had to believe that my husband, my mom, and Landon’s mom would help me in the midst of my exhaustion. As Asa is completely dependent on me, I was completely dependent on others. The hardest part of labor for me was not the vulnerability of giving birth but the vulnerability of relying on others.

It is so scary to rely on others. Eventually, they let you down. I don’t say that because anyone has let me down in the last few weeks but because I know I have let so many people down in the past. I know I will let people down in the future, too. Trusting another person is a very vulnerable act that we all have to do if we are to live well with others.

I am a helpless child. I am a helpless child, and I am responsible for my own helpless child. I have never felt that responsibility more strongly than here in motherhood. Motherhood has caused me to cry out to God for help more desperately than ever before, especially while I was in the pain of healing from stitches. Without strength from the Lord, I wouldn’t be able to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse Asa, burp him, and change his diaper. Without strength from Him, I couldn’t get up in the morning and start my day. Once I’m up, I am awake, by the grace of God.

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Motherhood is about humility. Motherhood is about recognizing my weaknesses, my pride, and my inability to do everything on my own. There’s no way I could function on my own. I have to remind myself of that. Rather, motherhood regularly reminds me of that when I begin to forget.

As a helpless child, I needed Landon to change Asa’s diapers in the middle of the night since I couldn’t get out of bed for myself. I needed my mom to help me with chores and Asa just so I could relax enough to take a nap. I needed Landon’s mom to pick up groceries and cuddle Asa so that I could breathe. I needed our church small group to bring us meals. I needed God to strengthen me when I was exhausted and in pain.

I still need Him. Every hour of every day. I need Him to give me childlike faith. I need Him to give me the strength to trust other people and be vulnerable with them.

Motherhood is learning to be a child again and believing the best of everyone.

Motherhood is completely worth it.

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Advent: What It Feels Like to Wait for a Baby (And Comfort for Those Still Waiting)

I wrote this blog post on November 29th, but I want to share with you these honest thoughts and feelings I had before Asa was born on December 2nd, 2016. May the Lord use them to encourage and comfort.

In a world full of darkness and fear, I am learning to hope. I am learning to trust.

Nine months of pregnancy all began with a scare. Just 10 days after Landon and I discovered that we would be parents, we lost that joy. For four and a half days, we grieved and mourned the loss of our blueberry-sized baby. I sank into sadness and depression and apathy with one whole month of the school semester left. Emotionally, I did not have the strength to focus on academics in the midst of such sadness.

Spiritually, too, I was drained. We were not yet planning to start our family, and I was supposed to graduate with my undergraduate degree December 2016. A baby due in November 2016 would be a lot to handle with just one month left of school. However, we began to look forward to meeting our little “Blueberry.” When we thought we lost him, I didn’t understand why God would prepare us to receive such a precious gift only to snatch it away. I didn’t understand what He was doing.

Then I saw a doctor. Our Blueberry was okay… His heart was still beating… His light was still shining…

And I had a big choice to make: I could cling so tightly to this gift, terrified to let go lest I lose it again, or I could trust that the Lord’s plan was good and perfect and beautiful, whatever it held in store for us.

As Mary did when she sat at Jesus’ feet, ignoring Martha’s nagging to stress over the details of a meal, I believe I have chosen the better portion. I have taken my fear of loss and laid it at Jesus’ feet. I have chosen rest for my soul despite the possibility of hurt. Trust can be so scary if you don’t have Someone trustworthy to rely on.

Sometimes, my heart is tempted to stray away from trust. It is tempted to clutch tightly to the gift Landon and I are waiting for, despite God’s tender call to release my grip. At times, I tremble at the possibility of our little boy’s heart giving out so late in my pregnancy and feeling no more baby kicks. No more kneading on my bladder when our baby needs more room in my womb. No more.

Occasionally, I must talk myself down from a ledge of fear. The fear that I will fail. The fear that something tragic will happen to my child. The fear that my son’s heartbeat will stop and mine will have to continue on without his. These are just a few fears mothers experience.

That fear is a reality for so many parents. A worst fear realized.

“No parent should have to bury their child.”

Yet it happens in our world of darkness and despair. I will never stop wishing that this would change.

Sometimes, my heart is tempted to feel guilty that I thought I lost my tiny baby and didn’t. Sometimes, I don’t share my story for fear I will awaken painful memories in another woman’s heart and incite bitterness in her soul.

I don’t want my guilt to crowd out gratitude. It is not my merit that preserved Asa’s life thus far. It is God’s mercy. A mercy I do not understand. A mercy I wish would touch each broken woman of our world.

In a way, it does. Somehow.

That little baby we have all been waiting for… He came. He is the One we wait for each Advent as we celebrate His first coming and anticipate His return. Then, 2,000 years ago, the Father endured the death of His Son so that we might have life and joy and hope.

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That is a hope and joy that will never be snatched away from the broken heart of the believing woman. The darkness cannot extinguish the Light of the Gospel.

My prayer for this season for those who have lost hope is that you will open your heart to healing and joy. I have had a taste of your pain. The teensiest, tiniest taste. And I mourn with you. I pray for you. My heart grieves with yours. May the Great Physician heal you and the Holy Spirit comfort you as you enter this season of waiting and wishing and anticipating.