A few decades ago, baby showers were as routine to my weekends as step aerobics and scrunchies. Along with the fabulous gifts, good wishes and great food, there was always an abundance of helpful advice for the new mommy-to-be. From nursing bras and nighttime feedings to stretch mark strategies and stroller styles, I listened and learned, eager to get a handle on what to expect when I started expecting.
Turns out there were still a few (thousand) things I didn’t know about parenting. Most notably: motherhood turns you into a complete nut.
I had no idea that the generally carefree, pretty rational gal that waddled into Labor and Delivery would be long gone by the time I left. I was surprised that such a tiny person was strong enough to shove my entire world off of its usually stable axis the instant we met. When it finally donned on me that motherhood brought such monumental change -not just a new baby, but a new me– I realized there were really only two ways of looking at being a mom… my way or the Higher way.
BEING A MOM, MY WAY:
Fear. When it comes to your kids, fear everything. All the time. Be afraid of unexpected illnesses. Accidents. Injuries. Lightning storms. Shark attacks. Flesh-eating bacteria. Falling asteroids. Fear other people. Fear the future. Fear what you know and above all else, fear what you don’t.
Worry. About everything. All the time. Worry about your children’s choices, challenges, feelings, failures, friends, faith. Worry that you’re doing it wrong. Worry that you said too much. Worry that you didn’t say enough. Just worry.
Expect the worst. Immediately. Find a bump on the back of your kid’s neck? Must be a deadly disease. Receive a message from the school secretary in the middle of the day? Definitely a freak recess incident. Not home by curfew? Surely a ten-car pile-up on the freeway. And to think I used to be such a positive person.
BEING A MOM, THE HIGHER WAY:
Breathe. Pray. Relax. Let go. Trust. Remember that God is sovereign (I am not). Know that God has the ability to control all things (I do not). Believe that God can change any circumstance (I can not). “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power… for everything in heaven and earth is yours. You are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11, NIV)
Take a step back. If possible, I’d shield my children from every one of life’s hurts, hardships, difficulties, sorrows and struggles. But what if God in His perfect wisdom, wants to use one of those hurts or hardships to reach them, teach them, cause them to grow, show them His power or bring them His blessing? “But Joseph said to them, ‘…You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.’” (Genesis 50:19-20, NIV)
Stop flattering yourself. When my kids do something great, I practically pull a muscle patting myself on the back. When they mess up, I want to hide under the covers. Why do I do that? Why do I make everything they do about me when God’s purpose in their lives is what truly matters? Thank heaven, the Lord’s love for my kids is greater than all of my undue pride or any of my countless mistakes as a mom. “I am God, and there is none like me. I say, ‘My purpose will stand.’ (Isaiah 46:9-10, NIV)
So I’m all set. Ready to give my kids over to the Lord and trust Him with their lives once and for all. If I could just remember this tomorrow.