When Motherhood Means Surrender
When I first became a mom, I was somehow both overjoyed and devastated at the same time. I found myself relishing in this intense love I had never felt before and yet feeling an immense sorrow for the life I had just lost. There was a grieving process that took place.
I remember desperately running to the Lord day after day, asking for clarity on how to surrender to this new life with a newborn without losing all that made me... me. Most of all, I begged for him to show me his presence and to become more real to me than ever before. I felt as though I had already given up so much; I couldn't stand the thought of giving up my relationship with him, too.
In one fell swoop, he answered both prayers, showing me that if I would just choose to trust him and lean into all that motherhood was asking of me, I would find freedom and rest. And that my relationship with him would become richer and fuller as I learn to let go of what I once sought so hard to control.
I couldn't see it at the time, but every time motherhood seemed to be asking me to surrender a part of my life -- whether it be my hobbies or friendships or expectations or habits -- I was being given an opportunity to think creatively and work with the Spirit to find a new way, a better way, of doing things. I was being given the eyes to see the Lord's pursuit of me in new ways, too.
Motherhood changed me, or rather God used motherhood to change me, once I stopped fighting to cling to the familiar and finally embraced the newness this season was calling me into.
I never knew I could survive without my daily picture-perfect “quiet time”, and yet the needy, greedy hands and demands of a toddler pushed me to learn how to put down the pen and paper, how to call memorized Scripture to mind when I couldn’t open my Bible, and how to become a prayer warrior on the go. It was then that the chains of legalism fell off of me.
I never knew I could love exercise or the outdoors, and yet the many mornings spent crying in frustration because of a baby who wouldn’t nap led me to begin spending every day pushing the stroller around the park, singing songs of worship. It was there that my soul was lifted and I was able to find God in nature for the very first time.
I never knew my worth apart from the affirmation and attention of others, and yet the loneliness I wrestled with as a new mother helped me discover a self-sufficiency I didn’t believe I could have. It was because of this I learned how to find my worth in the Lord instead.
I never knew how to be content without the pursuit of material things, and yet the sacrifices we've made in order to provide for our family on just one income revealed to me just how much joy there is to be found in the simpler things. It was through this change in mindset that my eyes were opened more fully to the faithful provision of God.
And I definitely never knew that I would end up becoming a podcaster and blogger for other moms, and yet the pain and struggles I faced as a mom not only led me right back into writing, but also led me right back into the arms of God. This is why Soul Care for the New Mom exists.
A part of me does still grieve the life I lost -- the routine, the freedom, the selfishness, the seemingly neat and tidy compartments of my life -- but if I hadn’t allowed myself to let go of the comfortable and the familiar, I would've never discovered the more that God had in store for me.
I didn’t realize that the life I was clinging to was muting the Lord's voice, until this loud, screaming baby turned my world upside down and showed me how to hear his quiet whisper.
Mama, you will be asked to lay down many things over the course of your motherhood journey, and sometimes it won't feel very fair. You'll wonder why you're having to give every inch of yourself for the sake of these kids who neither understand nor appreciate all that you do. You'll miss the way things used to be, back when life revolved more around you. And that is okay. It is.
But please believe me when I say that the things you've surrendered for your child don't have to mean the end of yourself. Your surrender can actually be your beginning. The beginning of finding freedom from the need to control everything. The beginning of learning how to both extend grace and also receive it. The beginning of new friendships and a new depth in your marriage. The beginning of a deeper relationship with the Lord.
We need our babies just as they need us. We need them to turn our world upside down. Because it's only then that we are able to see all of the things we've been missing, all of the good we never knew we could have.
Embrace the newness, dear mama, and let the Lord lead you to even greater heights.