But, I'm done with all that.
You all have probably seen the ever popular:
I keep seeing this/hearing this pop up everywhere--on other blogs, pinterest, and facebook posts. I feel like, especially for those who have been married for a good chunk of time, people are all too willing to sagely nod at this wisdom. So I can't help but wonder....why is it not so readily said of parenthood?
Am I amiss to say that the blessing of children isn't so we can fulfill our own selfish desires? That maybe it's more than the cute little clothes and shoes and pictures we take? Is it okay to say that--parenthood is really stinkin' hard, and maybe that's the point? Ultimately, parenthood is for our own sanctification?
Why is it okay to say that my relationship with my husband is so difficult, and that's why it's so edifying but I'll get less nods and more warnings of being ungrateful if I say, taking care of my baby is so difficult?
I'm pretty sure that when a wife opens up to other women about difficulties in her relationship with her husband, the answer is rarely: Oh but he's so cute, just enjoy him! I'd venture to say that most shared difficulties are met with understanding, advice, grace, and then encouragement. You may be walking through a difficult road in your relationship and that's okay. That's normal. But if you're walking through a difficult day with your child, isn't that normal, as well? Is it supposed to be easier to excuse the difficulty because the face of the difficulty is just so precious? I think there's something wrong with that. Our spouses are just as precious, just as adopted into God's kingdom and considered sons and daughters of a King, as our children are.
I'm convinced that--just like with my marriage--God didn't give me my beautiful little girl just to make me happy. He did it to refine me. To test me. To sanctify me. And nothing refines or tests or sanctifies like being utterly and completely challenged to your core.
This doesn't mean that being a parent doesn't make me happy. Again, just like with my sweet husband, being with my sweet baby brings me inexpressible joy. It doesn't matter if I've been pooped on, spit up on, or kept from sleep for days. I love to hold her. I love to look at her little face. Yes I'd rather be asleep at 2am but I'm not sorry to ever be awake with her. I enjoy my long days and short nights as much as I possibly can. I've been warned: It goes by quickly.
I've noticed that it goes by quickly too. Just today I was folding and putting away clothes she doesn't fit in anymore. It's hard to believe she ever was that small--even though it was just 2 months ago. The days are long but the months are short. The joy is inexpressible but the valleys are intensely deep.
I would venture to say that all wonderful things are riddled with this dichotomy. The ultimate example of this would be Jesus dying on the cross....no greater act of love has ever been shown than in death. There is love in death. There is joy in valleys. And there is strength in weakness. Thank you, Paul, for writing "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
As a parent, a wife, and a Christian, I often fail in each calling. I am often weak. But I depend on a savior who never failed in any way in any capacity and so my weaknesses point to the cross.
I think part of the reason why it's so hard to talk about how much we struggle as parents--especially mothers--is that all we want for our children is the best. We want to be the best give them only the best. There is this intense pressure to be that mom that can do it all and handle it all and still somehow manage to put on make up. But the Bible points us to our weaknesses and shatters the idea that we should somehow be super-flawless-mom who never has a bad day. It is when we depend on the Lord's strength, and not our own, that we glorify Him.
I guess my rambling point is that I wish the stigma of mom-having-a-bad-day would go away. Yes, the "bad day" can be an issue of where mama's heart is aligned--is it with fulfilling her calling or with fulfilling her own desires?--but just like within marriage, and within our walks with the Lord, there are peaks and there are pits. There is no strength or wisdom in keeping the difficulties to ourselves, especially not in light of what Paul has told us about what our weaknesses point to. Just like married couples and christians should fellowship, lean on, and share their challenges with other married couples and other christians, parents should, too.
Loving the Lord, loving our spouses, and loving our children doesn't make the walk easy. I would submit to you that its not supposed to be (Why else would we be told in Titus 2 that women must be "trained" how to love their husbands and children?). But I'm seriously loving it. I love the giggles and the poopy diapers and the adorable yawns. I'm incredibly humbled that God would entrust to me this little person and the privilege of meeting her needs. It is way more joy than it is pain, but you know I won't stop from being honest about that side of it, too.
|Sweet Angel Princess Baby|