Today is Day Eight of 31 Days of Encountering God! If you missed the kick-off, you can go HERE and find the Introduction as well as each days post! (I will be adding every day as the month goes on!)
Encountering God in Parenthood... (Pt 1)
So this right here? This is my bread and butter, ya'll! Well - you know - that is, if I got paid for writing this blog! This is where I have, hands down, learned the most about God and encountered Him on a regular basis.
Because - as soon as I found out I was making a human... well - I KNEW I was gonna need some serious help!
(So - we totally look like we know what we're doing with an entire little life, right?)
(Yeah... my computer crashed, so for now, it was this one or the one after just giving birth sooo...)
I remember praying for this girlie being knit together and created... I begged for mercy and wisdom... I so wanted to be one of those Mom's who just instinctively knew... I am the Baby of my family... I was not raised around Littles. At the time I really didn't see the constant 'Morning' sickness as a blessing but it truly gave me little time to really over analyze all of my shortcomings! All I knew for sure is that I loved her already... and then she arrived (late - as usual...) but oh my stars how she captured my heart!
I remember them letting us leave the hospital with this little potato bug that could not stop folding in on herself in the carseat that looked 28 sizes too big (but I assure you, it wasn't!)... we were the classic newbies... the eyes-caught-in-headlights, I-can't-believe-they-are-just-letting-us-take-her-home parents. Like - that's it? No guidance, no rules to go over... you are just going to let us walk out of here, less than 12 hours later and now we are all Responsible for a whole other human? Are you ridiculously Crazy?
She cried that night... and I handed her over to my Honey, defeated. She doesn't like me. (Secretly, I confided, "I knew it!") He was great with her... and with me... and he held her close and rocked and walked and bounced... he simply waited her out until she gave in, exhausted, and that was that. He was her Daddy... and I fell in love all over again!
It was a couple of weeks later that once again, she was crying and inconsolable when I looked at my sister, sleep deprived and concern written across my weary eyes... I said "It's just not like her." And my sister, in all of her grace and wisdom - openly laughed at me. Oh - she took her, and she coaxed me into taking a shower... but she laughed Right. At. Me.
I didn't see it coming, but I had that New Mom glaze... the eyes that don't quite focus and the new continual loop of thoughts of how I was doing everything wrong. I had been sleep deprived and going through the motions, if I'm gonna be honest. I was doing church but I wasn't really doing the whole give and take thing that should happen at church. I was trying to get a weeks' worth of nutrition out of Sundays' Bread... living a whole week off of left over crumbs! It's not that God wasn't always on my mind... it's just I felt like I was drained and had nothing left to give. (At least nothing good enough?)
Oh - it's not that He felt far away. I was aware of Him all the time! I can remember holding my girlie - my very heart beating on the outside of my body - rocking her until I could feel her finally give in to sleep. She'd just press in a little closer, milk-drunk, peaceful, her soft sighs warming my neck... and I would feel Him come closer. As I would hum her to sleep... He would sing over me. I couldn't quite make out the words... but I could feel Him wrap Himself around me; the rhythm and melody seeping in. He whispered to me as I watched her sleep... "How much you love her... that is nothin' compared to how much I love her!" (That one was easy to believe... it got harder when He said the same about me!)
It was a 2am feeding, too many days in a row that I first heard Him whisper my name... she'd just fallen asleep and I was so ready for Horizontal and Pillow and Cool Sheets. But His Voice had become unmistakeable. I tried to bargain with Him... but He said it again... "Just come be with Me!" So... my arms empty, the baby in dreamland and the hubby out cold... I stumbled my way to the living room and sat awhile. I tried to remember what spiritual food I had consumed lately, but I just felt malnourished and numb - stunned at the realization that it had been that long. I knew I was too tired to try to read the Word, so instead I vowed to pray All The Things... you know - all the things that a young mother prays. Then I moved on to all the other requests and random things... I apologized for being so needy and emptied out... so hungry with no drive to come and eat... I apologized for nearly falling asleep (again) mid-thought and that's when He said it:
"I am here to fill you fresh...
and I don't mind if you fall asleep, My Dear.
I just want you to be with Me.
You don't have to DO anything.
Aaaah - that, I understood! For I had spent many a long quiet moments, just staring down in a crib, drinking in the majesty of this tiny human who wielded so much power to capture my heart before she could ever even utter a word.In fact, sometimes I just love to watch you sleep."
That was the beginning of long seasons of midnight hours spent sleepily sitting with my God... eating the Bread of Life! Sometimes I would open up my Bible and read a bit, but mostly, He had grace for the season I was in, and He assured me that He just loved spending time with me. I would talk about the day, the dishes, the piles of laundry, how I would really love to take a LONG hot shower some day soon again... I would share with Him all of my concerns and in the beginning, I would fill up our time with words... but I learned ever so slowly how to simply just sit with Him... how to savor my time with Him and let Him feed me... to fill me up to overflowing! We would meet for communion in the quiet of darkness as well as in the cool of the day!
...and He feeds me, still!
Linking up today with Kelli Woodford over at Chronicles of Grace for Concrete Words.
(Come join us - there is some AMAZING writing going on over there this week!)
And as always (well - at least all month long!) I am linking up with The Nester and 1000s of other #31Day Bloggers!
I will continue to talk a bit about Encountering God in Parenthood tomorrow! (Hint... this post leaves off with our Girlie in a crib... she is in college now - so tomorrow we will share a bit of those encounters that helped us stay close along the way!)
How about you? How have you encountered God in Parenthood?
How about you? How have you encountered God in Parenthood?