A Holy Encounter in the Middle of the Night

a holy encounter in the middle of the night

 

Motherhood is something I have longed for my entire life.

Motherhood is also proving to be far more challenging than I could have ever imagined…and far more rewarding, of course. Yet the most surprising thing is the way in which it is difficult.

Yes, you’re sleep deprived. Yes, you’re covered in bodily fluids and more. Yes, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting.

But the most paramount of surprises in regards to motherhood is this:

Motherhood sheds such stark light upon my own faults. Shortcomings. Selfishness.

History has proven that on many a night spent rocking a sick baby, as a battle has raged deep within me.

I’m tired. I just wish she would sleep so I could sleep. I’m so sick of puke and poo and laundry.

But not this night.

This night, I hold his fevered body against mine and listen to the ragged breathing.

I stroke his soft hair, noting how the silkiness of a babe is gone and the thickness of a wee boy has come.

His head nestles under my chin and my breathing falls in time with his. His breathing, so shallow and strained.

Heat radiates as I rub his small back up and down, up and down, up and down.

No, this night there is no pleading with the Almighty for the sweet release of sleep. No counting the minutes until my head finds the pillow.

This night, I cherish. My heart full nigh to bursting with the gratitude of being in this place; being his mother. Full of awe and wonder that so precious a thing could be entrusted to me. Overflowing with love and compassion for the little man splayed across my chest; and for his precious sisters sprawled, limbs akimbo in their beds.

This night it is not hard. This night the veil of self that so often blinds and distorts Truth is pulled aside and the glory and wonder that is this calling of Motherhood stands bright and stark and clear.

And this night, I embrace it with thanks to God for His good and gracious gift.

Have you ever had a moment like this, when the hard suddenly doesn’t seem so hard, rather a blessing miracle? Or are you in the middle of a night in your mothering right now? How can we pray for you?

Praying for you today,

Jen Deibel

The Stories I Never Thought I Would Write

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There are moments in life that shape us and change who we are. But what happens when you take those moments and transform them into words? They are words that tell a story, but it is not just my story. My story represents many stories. It is a voice for the woman who sits in her hospital bed, confused by the baby looking up at her. The little life she holds is not what she expected.

Words have turned into pages, and pages into a book. It is a reminder to the mother who buries her thoughts in guilt. She longs to find joy in the days that feel like a mess.

The day I wept for my lost plans was the day my life became more complete. The loss I felt in the pit of my stomach was actually breathtaking beauty in disguise. I am grateful for the heartache I went through because it has changed my perspective on life. I want to love the unloved. I want to find joy when it seems so difficult to find. I want to speak of hope when everything feels hopeless. 

For three years I have been writing bittersweet vignettes of motherhood. Times of devastation, like when I found out my son had Down syndrome. Or that time I knelt on the bathroom floor and cried in agony as I said goodbye to another unborn baby. The days of joy as I found humor from my children. The unexplainable moment when I delivered my daughter in the shower. It’s all here. I am learning to trust in the brush strokes of the Maker. When parts of the painting look awkward, I have to remember that there is a bigger picture. I ask him to help me find beauty in what I don’t understand.

You can read The Mural & The Maker as an ebook or PDF, which are free! Or you can purchase the print version. I hope you find encouragement and joy as you read moments covered in grace.

With Love, Natalie Falls at nataliefalls.com

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A Permission Slip For The Mom Who Has Suffered Loss

sad young woman crossed  fingers  for her  face in crisis moment

Recently I have had several friends suffer loss in their families. Because I have grieved as a mother, I understand a little of their feelings. I say, “a little,” because I would never claim to say, “I know how you feel.” Every loss suffered by every mother is different.

But still, I get it – a little.

One thing I understand – that I was surprised to learn about my own loss – is how many “should’s” there are.

After the dust settles, after the bleeding stops or the meals stop or the memories become more distant, you often “feel” like you should be feeling/doing/thinking something different. Maybe something more, maybe something less, just something different.

It is a huge burden to carry, these “should’s”, especially with the ones you’re already carrying.

So this, dear mom who is grieving, is your permission slip. Before you read it, take a long, deep breath.

Really. Do it.

This is your permission slip to still be dealing with it. Even after it’s been however long. Even after you’ve had another child, or married again, or been to counseling, or put “enough” time (whatever that is) between you and the loss. You can still be grieving.

This is your permission slip to be tired. So tired. Tired for “no” reason, after long night’s sleep. Grief is exhausting.

This is your permission slip to struggle in your marriage. Grief is messy. It brings out the worst (though also at times the best) in relationships.

This is your permission slip to feel worried about lots of things. I’ve often talked about how anxiety and depression are so closely linked.

This is your permission slip to doubt – doubt yourself, your spouse, your abilities, your purpose. Grief can shake you at the core.

This is your permission slip to spend money healing. To see a counselor, to go on dates with your husband, to order take-out, to hire a house cleaner. I’m not advocating ridiculous, unwise spending, but what I am saying is: healing and self-care are a valid use of our money, and it should be okay to make them a priority when needed.

This is your permission slip to suffer in whatever way your body is suffering. There is no rush. God works in the clouds and the darkness of our hearts, and He is not impatient with you. Draw near to Him. Rest in Him. Ask Him what He would have you do in this time. Trust him with the hearts of your children and your husband. Hold his hand in the darkness – He is there; He has promised He would be.

Dear mom who is grieving, my prayer for you is this today:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Blessings to you today,

Jessica 

Praying at 3:21 AM

chicken

 

It was 3:21 AM when I first heard the music.

It was Labor Day morning.
It was supposed to be a sleep-in-morning.

I was having a dream about blind chickens…which totally makes sense.
And then somehow the theme song to Jay Jay the Jet Plane overtook the tragic atmosphere.
Eventually I woke up enough to realize that I really was hearing music and picked up my alarm clock.

3:21 AM.

I stumbled down our hallway and saw light streaming from under our 3-year-old’s door.
Slowly…
I cracked the door open just a bit and found–
Lydi dancing with Minnie Mouse to her Jay Jay the Jet Plane music CD.

Toys were everywhere.
Pajamas were removed.
Music was blaring.
Minnie was showing off her moves.
And I was greeted with a big smile.

I wasn’t smiling.

Lydia said: “It’s WAKE UP TIME !!!”

I said: “No. It isn’t.”

Okay, maybe I should insert…

I said, (with a growl).

After clarifying our morning expectations and a long-winded speech about–

…the selfishness of waking up your mom who needs her sleep and you are not allowed out of bed and why aren’t you tired and using a black sharpie to circle the numbers on the clock that DO EQUATE WAKE UP TIME…

I had a difficult time going back to sleep.
Which honestly isn’t like me.
Usually I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
I’m the perfect kindergarten-nap-mat-candidate.

And so as I lay there wondering about blind chickens and such,
 God reminded me that I could use the time for prayer.

And that’s something I’m still trying not to miss…
Those opportunities that God provides for me to pray.

The ten minutes when I’m waiting in the car line at school, and have the choice of checking Facebook or–
The pasta-stirring-moments when I could flip on the 6 o’clock news or–
The times when I’m folding laundry and my mental-to-do-lists are streaming or–

I could choose to pray.

Even those conversations where a friend is asking for prayer and I give my promise.
When maybe better-best would be to not delay.
And just pray.

That night a few years back, was a sweet time for me to talk with God.
And to listen.
Even if it was 3:21 AM on Labor Day.

Prayer is labor.
But I need it.
And it changes me.

I want to always be on the look out for open windows,
when God provides time for me to pour out my heart to Him–
In prayer.

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”
― William Nicholson, Shadowlands

With Love,
Kara @The Chuppies

 

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