For whatever reason I have had an especially tough time getting my thoughts out for this blog post. Maybe its that I haven’t written in several months. Maybe its my “mom brain” getting the best of me. Or, maybe its just that there is so much God is doing in my mind and heart that its hard to know exactly what direction I want to go in with this post in particular.That being said, last time I wrote, my little Milo was still making his home inside my belly. BUT! Now, he is already 4 months old and is just the sweetest, happiest little blessing. We love him so much it hurts.
Here we go.
I love love love being my baby boy’s Momma... but...there are times since having my baby that I feel like I’m drowning at life. This feeling of drowning has been drummed up by the countless diaper changes, rough nights, and the MILLIONS of little decisions you have to make as a parent that, while mentally I can understand aren’t that big of a deal, in the moment and in a sleep deprived state, those little decisions can feel very, very big. Other times, that drowning feeling comes from the things I see around my house that are often left undone. Brian and I have said to each other before that we constantly feel like we are behind. Doing little tasks just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Our car needs new tires, there is a growing mountain of cardboard boxes in our house that needs to get taken to the recycling center, dog hair on the couch, and, oh yeah, I guess we should probably do some grocery shopping if we want to eat.
In the midst of it all, the most difficult time this “drowning” feeling ensues is when it has to do with those parts deep within my spirit. Those times when I feel like emotionally I just can’t seem to get a grip and the waves just keep coming and crashing over me. Those times that I just don’t feel cut out for this whole motherhood business. The times my heart aches because I just miss my family back home. The times I don’t want my husband to go to work because I just want him here with me, all the time. The times I feel guilty because I wanted to have a baby so badly and I feel that maybe I shouldn’t be struggling the way that I am and I should just be thankful. The times I’m bummed about not being able to be involved at my church the way I was before. The moments I just feel very, very isolated.
Its a word that has washed over my heart many times in the past few months. I have felt alone. I have felt like I am living on the outskirts. That may sound dramatic. But new momma hormones are no joke
I don’t want to overlook the fact that we have an absolutely amazing church family and community around us who are more than willing to come alongside, love, help and encourage us. I am so thankful for those people we do life with, who are with us and for us. Not to mention, I have SO many friends who have babies right now and are going through the same things I am experiencing. I’m thankful to have a group of friends who can identify with me in real time!
Often times, when Milo needs to take a nap, I love walking with one of these friends who also have babies. But, sometimes God specifically impresses on my heart to go alone because he has something to speak to my heart that I desperately need to hear. It takes me going for a walk to really, truly listen because when I’m home and the baby is sleeping, I get in to that, “Ok, what can i accomplish and be ‘productive'” mode. When I walk and I’m out in God’s creation I can focus on Him and hearing his voice.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
One day as I was walking, I was pouring out my heart before the Lord about how I was so thankful for my baby, but I was just really struggling with the isolation I was feeling. God spoke to my heart ever so gently saying …
“You are not isolated, you are hidden away with me”
God shifted my focus in that instant. I was viewing my situation as being isolated from others, when in reality, God wanted me to realize the huge blessing I am experiencing of being hidden away with Him in this season of life.
But God wasn’t done speaking over my heart. He impressed one of my favorite verses and yet another truth upon me:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
“If you learn to dwell with me here, you will be better at abiding out there.”
I don’t know if that initially makes sense to anyone else, but for me, it clicked in an instant. For years I have struggled with abiding with the Lord throughout the course of my day. I can get up and start my day with him in my devotion time, but as the day goes on it seems that I rely on my strength more and more and, by the end of the day, I feel like I have hardly spoken to the Lord since those quiet morning moments. He is with me regardless, but I have struggled to acknowledge and access His presence throughout the course of my day, honestly, because my days were fairly “easy”. Sometimes my need for Him wasn’t starting me in the face like it seems to now, DAILY.
On that walk, God was impressing upon my heart that I need to learn to dwell in Him, my shelter, in those moments when everyone else has been stripped away, because when I have my husband, family, friends around, its easy for me to view them as my shelter rather than God himself. While God has designed the church to be there for one another, He has not designed the ones we love to take the place of Him in our lives.
He was showing me that if I learn the art of dwelling in His shelter in those feelings of “isolation”, if I learn to call on Him, lean in to Him, commune with, confide in and cry out to Him over and over again throughout my days at home (which is a lot as a new momma with a baby who takes a million naps) then I will be better at abiding in His shadow on those days when I am out and I am surrounded by people and doing lots of those things I used to mindlessly do without acknowledging His presence and power.
Stepping in to this new role, this new normal, this new life, has left me calling out to God more than I ever have before. While there is so much joy and life in this new role, there is also so much discomfort and pouring out of myself that has me realizing over and over again that I cannot be the mother God is calling me to be in my own strength. I need Him. I need his strength every hour of every day. I find myself being stretched by God daily. There’s tension and discomfort. I like to call it growing pains. I know that God is producing so much good in this new season, I can’t even list all the amazing things He has shown me about Himself in these 4 short months. I feel like God has started a revival in my soul that I didn’t even know was so needed. He is rooting things out of my heart that I allowed to lay dormant for far too long.
God has been calling me up and out of the negative view I often cling to. He is calling me higher and deeper with him. I am learning, by His grace, not to resist the things that are hard but rather, to lean in to them because they produce the fruit that I long to see in my life. I was recently listening to a message by Levi Lusko entitled “Do the hard things” and he put it this way
-The reward for avoiding pain/discomfort is staying the same.
-Comfort zones don’t keep your life safe, they keep your life small.
-You can’t get strong without being sore
-Move toward, into and through the thing you are avoiding.
Those 4 little points are a pep talk I am continuing to speak to myself even today when I feel the battle and tension between choosing to focus on being hidden with God rather than feeling isolated.
We cannot mistake things that are hard, for being things that are bad. When I workout, I feel the burn in my muscles and I don’t think. “This is bad! I need to stop this now!” Rather, I think “The burning and discomfort I am feeling is making me stronger.” And the truth of that makes me keeping plugging away and working even harder.
That applies to so much of life doesn’t it? God uses things that are tough to produces so much good in us, through us and for His glory.
Sometimes it takes….
+Feeling lonely to remember we are not alone
+Missing the ones we love to remember how thankful we are to have them
+Feeling tired and at the end of our rope to remember our strength comes not from ourselves but from God alone.
+Feeling out of our depth and overwhelmed to remember that our source of wisdom is not from this world but from the One who created it and holds it in His hands.
+Feeling out of control to remember that God is really the only one who controls it all.
+Times of scarcity to remember who is our True Provider.
Just as the storm is needed for the rainbow to appear, so our struggles are sometimes just what it takes to see our Heavenly Father more clearly.My prayer for myself and anyone who may read these words, is that we would lean in to those uncomfortable things that are stretching us, because God has so much good for us right there, in the midst of it all.
In view of God’s mercy,