Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Motherhood has Blessed My Faith in God

I was almost 27 years old when I had our first child. I quit my job 2 weeks prior to my due date, hoping to finish preparations for our new little baby, but he was born the next day, quite in a little hurry to get here. He was tiny and skinny at barely 6 pounds, 22 inches. We were thrilled, scared, excited and happy.

The day we all went home, he was scrawny as he swam in the new car seat. We padded it with blankets to protect his little head, but he was still so small. With the awkward seat facing the rear of the car, I could not stand the thought of riding anywhere but next to my baby and so I did. My husband drove us home and all I could think about was how completely dependent this tiny little soul was on us.

That first night in our apartment, I did not know what to do. The baby was crying and obviously hungry. I wanted to nurse him, but my milk had not come in. He did not like the pacifier. He would not take a bottle. My husband got him to sleep and we fell into bed, exhausted. Only an hour had passed when we woke to a wailing little baby. I was scared. I could not get him to stop crying. I was so exhausted and too weak to walk the floor with him all night, frightened I would drop my precious baby. So I prayed. Like I've never prayed before.

I remembered the little infant seat we purchased to use for feedings and went to find it. I put my itsy-bitsy boy inside and covered him up. Then I collapsed on the floor next to him, gently rocking the seat back and forth with my hand, trying to help us both to sleep.

It was a long night. Baby would wake up, I'd feed him as best I knew how, put him back in the little seat, and stay by him again, and gently rocking him until my arm went to sleep. We did this several times through the night, all the time while I was praying to God. Please, I pleaded. Please, help me. My little boy needs me. You know what he needs, but I don't. Help me to help him.

By morning, my baby and I were bound to each other. We had made it together. He had been patient with me, his brand-new mommy, and I had protected him, my new little baby. And I knew that God had stayed with us all night.

Three years later, we added a darling daughter to our family. I was not afraid to bring her home that first night. I had learned how to listen to God about how to take care of new babies. I was more relaxed. I knew what to do. That night home, the four of us---my husband, our little boy, and our baby girl and me, we all celebrated and bonded as we shared the wonder of our little family together.

Our son is now 24 and is on his way to medical school this summer. Our daughter is 21 and will start teaching junior high this coming fall. How speedily the time has commenced. There have been terrifying moments when our children have been hurt and very sick. Our son served a church mission where he thrived and I survived. We have seen them hurt by romances and friends. We have seen them fall and pick themselves back up. We have celebrated their successes and watched them grow. It has been beautiful.

I thought I knew what faith in God was before I became a mother, but if I did, it was insufficient, or a different kind of faith. Perhaps merely the kind of faith that everything would all work out, as people often say. It changed suddenly for me when I held those babies in my arms, knowing I was their only earthly mother and my husband their only earthly father. We had a huge responsibility and needed heavenly help. I could no longer afford to believe, because now I had to know. I needed to know that God would bless and protect my children. I needed to know He was really there. I needed to get closer to God so I could know what He wished me to do. It forced me to pray actively, even begging a lot of the time, for help in knowing how to be a good mother. I am grateful that God answered my prayers, not always immediately, but He always did and still does.

What motherhood has done for my faith in God is given me more compassion for Him as my Father. If I love my children as much as I do, and I know that God loves them still even more, then why would He not want to bless them and look out for them? He is their Heavenly Father and He is also mine. I can and do trust Him. I feel confident that He knows all, and I only know a shred.

What I think might be best, God knows is not. He has the whole view and I can only see a few hundred yards. Having babies has helped me to know God, to rely on Him, count on Him, and ask Him. Motherhood didn't change my faith in God as much as it gave me faith in God.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Christmas has come and gone, again.  We took our tree down last Saturday.  The dismal melancholy began to set in as I wondered where we would all be next year.  Would we be together?  How far would some or one of us have to travel to make that possible?  What should we do with our ornament tradition?  Should I box up my son's ornaments and favorite decorations, ready to be packed when he moves out this coming summer?  Where did all the time go?   Weren't our children just wee ones only yesterday when they picked out all these funny things for our tree?  I was plunging meteorically into woe and sadness when I decided to choose how to feel differently about it all. 
We had a lovely Christmas.  Our comforting traditions, even though small and simple, were meaningful to us in ways no one wanted to talk about.  I noticed my family lingering by the tree to just look at its lights more this year.  Christmas Eve was special with our nephew's beautiful family, but in watching his children, I really noticed how fast time has flown for mine to now be adults and his so very small.  On Christmas morning, I woke up at 9:00 to find everyone else fast asleep.  I had to wake them all up so we could enjoy our own traditions before going to visit Grandma and then to see Star Wars. 
I've thought all season long about all my many blessings, first and most importantly of all, my Savior, Jesus Christ.  And Christ is the reason I cannot be sad about one more Christmas being wrapped up and packed away until next December.  When I pack up my Christmas decorations and put away the gifts and sort through the cards, I never pack away Jesus.  He stays with me every day, in my heart, in my mind, and in my life.  He is my best friend.  Christ is the reason my family is forever and the reason we have meaning in our lives.  Jesus is the anchor of my soul and the cornerstone of our home.  Jesus is the reason my children have worked as hard as they have, in order to try to make the world a better place, because of His example and His trust in them.  My Savior is at the center of every day, not just Christmas. 
My husband and I did not raise our children to live in our basement.  I love the old saying, "a ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."  This is true of our children.  We have encouraged them to dream big, to work hard, to set goals and achieve them, and to fly away from the nest when it's time.  I know they will want to fly home whenever possible because they feel safe here and there is strong loyalty and love here.  I know they are looking forward to flying free on their own and are confident they can succeed, but I also sense heart strings tugging at the reality soon to be.
So, January, I'm ready.  This will be an exciting year for our family.  I want to stand side by side with my husband and best friend as we face the changes that come, with a grateful and happy heart and the thrill that comes from seeing our children bring to pass the very things they've talked about since they were 5 years old.  I love this month without much on the schedule.  It's very cold outside and there is a lot of snow on the ground, which makes it easier to use the crockpot, read lots of books, get back to my art, get some extra sleep, and do more thinking, prioritizing, and praying.  I'm resting to recover from a personally rough year in 2015 and to get strong for all the new adventures 2016 will bring.  And whenever I feel like I might cry, and I know I will do a lot of that this year, I will remember why we celebrate Christmas every year.  Jesus Christ.  He is the author of our salvation, the key to our redemption, the ticket to God's kingdom, and the Savior of our souls.  He loves us more than we will ever comprehend and He expects a lot from us in return.  Jesus knows we can succeed if we will humble ourselves, take His hand, and let Him help us.  On the day when we help our son move out to attend medical school far, far away, and I start to weep, Christ will understand me and He will comfort me, our son, and my whole family, as we embark on life's next chapters.
January is a gorgeous time.  Where I live, the snow is covering the trees and our majestic mountains are blanketed in white.  There are 366 days on the calendar this year--366 days to start again, to repent of mistakes, to make wrongs right, to love more deeply and more sincerely, and to choose where we want to be standing and whose side we will be on.  What will you choose?  What will you resolve?  I only have one goal this year.  To choose more deeply than ever, Jesus Christ.