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10 Things I Would’ve Told Myself Before Motherhood

I was practically a saint before I had children.

I rarely lost my temper, was content and comfortable, got plenty of sleep, and had a great grasp on life. It all made sense and I was loving it.

Then I had three babes in twenty-seven months, never slept, was completely uncomfortable, got frustrated, angry, grouchy, and needed a Savior like never before.

And I grew because of it all.

I occasionally dream of going back about nine or ten years and telling that cute twenty-something girl a thing or ten. Here they are:

10. Take a great big trip before you have a baby. You won’t be able to easily travel the world once you are 100% responsible for another human’s well-being. And, even if you could, you will cry when you think of the heart-pain involved in flying to another city while someone who is not you holds that sweet bundle. Plus, you are about to be preggo three times in 2.5 years, so, just take your skinny, non-puking self and go to Hawaii.

9. You will love your boys with junior-high-boyfriend-love. They will be the best “crushes” of your life. You will be smitten with the way they smile, how they call your name, and all the dandelions they pick for you will look like diamond rings. It will be amazing.

8. When you feel the need to suffer on the nursery floor crying while the baby learns to self-soothe: just DON’T! A crying baby is a normal baby. Give that sweet thing a few minutes to figure out the he is going to be okay. Take a quick bath and then check on him. Don’t torture yourself. He will figure it out before you know it.

7. You will have a daughter one day who lights your family’s life with joy as none of you could ever imagine. She will feel like a reward for all the labor of the first few years of children and for the sacrifices you make for ministry. Savor your love for her while she is little.

6. Coffee is about to be your best friend. Congratulations! It will help you drag through the exhaustion when you are prego with baby #3 and babies #1 and #2 took turns screaming all night long. Its creamy goodness will welcome you to a new day that is exactly the same as the day before (nurse baby 25 times, fix 12 sippies for toddlers, change 16 diapers, vacuum up two tons of spilled goldfish crackers….).

5. People will pity you, judge you, and envy you. In the store they will “bless your heart”, at the park they will be in shock and insist that you must have twins in there somewhere, when you go out to dinner and no one napped that day they will wish you ate somewhere else, if their children are all grown up and they miss curly heads and pink cheeks they will stare longingly at you in Costco. Roll with it. Motherhood will help you let go of the need to impress and please the world.

4. You will get really, really mad when you can’t control them. That’s okay. You aren’t supposed to control them. They won’t nap when it’s best for them, they won’t eat what is good for them, and they will have bad attitudes when their near-perfect life displeases them. They are as in need of the saving grace of Jesus as you are, and this is all normal. Sit back, give them love and boundaries, and try to point them to God.

Our culture gets us all excited about painting nurseries, loving itty bitty babies, and cute maternity clothes. It will seems like this is about you. It isn’t.

3. Giving birth will hurt, but you will love it. A lot. Blame Eve if if you think that will make you feel better. (But it won’t.) Years later, you will look back on those four births and long for the miraculous wonder of bearing down and aching through the process of God’s love on display. You will love birthing babies.

2. Let go of the question. You may never know why God is about to give you three boys so close together.  It will be hard, but it will be so good. You can do hard things, you just haven’t had to yet, so the shock factor will knock you down. There is great blessing in the struggle to embrace God’s will. Fight on.

1. Having children is meant to be a selfless act. Our culture gets us all excited about painting nurseries, loving itty bitty babies, and cute maternity clothes. It will seems like this is about you. It isn’t. Being a parent is about giving away your heart so that your child can grow up and be a person apart from you. If you love them well, they will love you in return. They will cherish you, but they will still leave you to be their own person one day. It feels sad. But it’s really a miracle, and your heart can rejoice in loving someone else as Christ has loved you: unselfishly. There is a great blessing in that, for you will know God better because you parent well.

SCRIPTURE

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. |Luke 2:40


This post originally appeared on Carrie’s Burnt Toast and was republished with permission. 

Written by

Carrie Stephens is a pastor’s wife, blogger, wanna-be artist, and mom of 4. She absolutely adores Jesus and His church. Her faith clings to God’s way of taking our small lives and building His vast kingdom in us and through us. Grace, wisdom, and laughter are Carrie’s favorite things to share, especially if there’s coffee involved. She and her family live in Austin, Texas.

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