There's a fifth person in our house now. She smells like springtime.
A person with chubby cheeks and large blue eyes, with a strong neck who already rolls from side to side and whose favorite place is in someone's arms, a person who is completely vulnerable and dependent and whose hungry cry rattles my soul.
And I find myself walking a lot these days. With her in my arms, because she's crying more than any other baby I've had, and also walking outside, alone, down the country roads, searching for God.
My husband is on paternity leave, taking three months off from teaching and I don't know how I'd do this without him, how anyone does. This two to three--suddenly we don't have laps enough, suddenly, my arms are not long enough, suddenly, a baby is weeping and so are my sons and I am too. Into the endless pile of laundry for all the cloth diapers and onesies.
How is it that one so tiny needs so much?
And how is it that I would die a thousand deaths just so she could live?
Because we do, as mothers. We die to ourselves a thousand times a day so our children can live.
I used to measure my day based on how productive I was.
Now I measure it based on how well I love.
I made a list the other day, a To Do List, based on both giving and receiving love well. I wrote it in bright Crayola. Because when it comes down to it, that's what matters in these days smudged with tired streaks and peanut butter kisses. At the end of it all, did I love well?
My To Do List consists of the following:
1. Kiss Trent
2. Tickle and snuggle my kids
4. Put on music and dance
5. Paint with bright colors
6. Eat something yummy
7. Tell Trent and kids how much I love them
8. Go for a walk or a run
9. Do something I don't want to do for somebody else
It's about doing life, and post-partum, with grace.
It's about taking that anti-anxiety medication if you need to. It's about taking that nap in the middle of a pile of coloring books and laundry. It's about receiving your husband's or friend's help and taking that walk so you can remember who you are and why you are and how to love.
It's about love.
Doing can be an idol. Being never is. Doing can obstruct our view of Christ. Being invites Him in.
And as we rock our babies and kiss their hurts and read them multiple stories and feed them, we are inviting Christ into our home. Our messy home with the floors begging to be mopped. Our home that smells of burnt toast and Vicks.
You see, the Christian life doesn't look like the perfect, quiet baby or a Pinterest kitchen with a menu board detailing supper and the children all scrubbed clean and lined up in a row. It doesn't look like "be seen and not heard." It looks, and sounds, like God's beautiful raw sinful people clamoring for forgiveness.
You are doing well, sweet mama. Don't be discouraged. Rather, consider this photo of our Lulu Tree mamas who gathered in the midst of fighting Typhoid and malaria to worship God in the slum of Katwe. They refused to let an epidemic stand in the way of their weekly fellowship.
This is the Christian life. Gathering to worship in the midst of pain and mess and fussy babies. Finding God in the midst of our To Do lists. Letting the Spirit re-write our To Do Lists in bright Crayola. And daring to declare thanks for every good and perfect thing which disguises itself as difficult, all for the glory of God.
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