Skip to main content

Holy Little Steps

My "quiet time" or ideal "God time" involves me and no one else. Preferably I have my iTunes playlist of instrumental music strumming or a quality Christian radio station, a candle lit and various books, Bible and journal strewn on my bed. In the days when I was apartment dwelling with just me and my cat, General Maximus, I spent a lot of time doing just this. And it became, in a sense, "how I found God" and in my mind, it's still how I must find Him, if I intend to at all.

Enter in late nights and nearly a year of interrupted and poor quality sleep, along with days spent trying to balance what I want to do and what I need to do and that has left the books, the Bible and the journal sorely lacking. Not to say I don't try to read or study, but it's not the same. I don't often get that long drawn out time... many times I sit down to get my focus where it needs to be and the baby cries or if he's awake, he's suddenly clawing at me and clamoring for attention. I am learning that God made me a mother and to be a mother that glorifies Him, it means I have to mother. I have to find ways to be me with God with baby.

It ain't easy.

But with all of that said, in the midst of motherhood and of watching my son grow, teaching him how words sound and toys work and which things in the house are off limits to his chubby little paws, I am finding God. I am seeing Him more clearly in some ways than I ever did in that one bedroom apartment with a cat named after a gladiator...

Exhibit A ~ Sleep Training & Night Waking
A month or so ago, we became convinced that we had to start training Joel to fall asleep on his own. He was painfully dependent on Mommy and would not go back to sleep without cuddles, multiple times a night. This was just not going to work long-term. The first time he cried for 45 minutes (with us going in to calm him every 10-15 minutes) before passing out and when he finally did, we were so proud. We were proud of him and proud of ourselves. And in just a day or so, he was going down for naps and bedtime without any fuss whatsoever! Impressive! And what it made me think of was difficulties in our lives and how we have to learn to deal. We have to readjust our expectations. We have to be retrained sometimes. As Joel's parent, sometimes I have to do what is best for him - change his diaper when he wants to stay in it all day, for instance, or aspirating his nose when he'd rather drown in snot, or in this case, learn to fall into a deep sleep that he desperately needs without my constant consoling. I'm still here, I'm still watching, but he has to learn some things sometime. We all do.

Because Joel had become so dependent on me rushing in to check on him and rock him back to sleep or hold him and sway back and forth until he could get back into a sleepy state, we had to exhibit some tough love, meaning: once you're in your crib, you stay in your crib. Joel likes to get up on his hands and knees and crawl around (i.e. run away from you) so there was a lot of pulling him back into place, laying him back down, saying, "No, no, it's sleepy time." patting him and walking out, only to hear immediate screams. But in no time at all he learned that he was okay and could fall back asleep on his own. Why? Maybe because he knows that if he really ever needs me, Mom is there. In my room hangs a picture with the verse, "The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will watch over your life." Every time I see that, I think of my Heavenly Father who never sleeps. I like to think that I'm a very doting young mother, but the truth is... I fall asleep. A lot. I wake up as soon as I hear my son's cry, but I still rest. I still nod off as soon as I can. Not so, God. When I get up in the middle of the night with Joel, sometimes I have the clarity and awareness to think of the fact that God is already awake, taking care of both of us. I like that. I like it a lot.

Exhibit B ~ Learning & Growth
Not only do I log all of my little man's accomplishments on a hand-dandy "Baby's 1st Year" wall calendar and baby book, but I file them tightly in my heart. That's because every time he does something new or right, my heart grows and I want to just sit there and cry: I am so proud of him. He's learned to eat "big boy foods" and can hold sippy cups and bottles with enormous confidence. He has stood, unassisted, for the splittest of seconds, before realizing he's not leaning on a piece of furniture or me.

Today, our proud moment was him stacking two large, pillow-like blocks on top of each other. He did it over and over again, so I knew it wasn't a fluke. Typically he flings blocks (and everything else) and is more into knocking down your tower than building one of his own (such a boy!): but today he chose to do something new. To do something totally big kid. I am proud of him when he eats well, proud of him when he stops when I tell him to stop, proud of him when he goes and gets his book when I ask him where it is, proud of him for learning to crawl into my lap to read stories, to "dance" to music, the list goes on. Some things he picks up on his own, but the majority are things that he has seen his Daddy and I do. He's learning by example to stack blocks and eat grapes. And so often when I sit there watching him mature before my eyes, my heart tightens and think: "Is this how God feels?"

When we finally "get it", do we do Him proud?

Exhibit C ~ Peek-a-Boo
Joel LOVES to play peek-a-boo. He thinks it's hysterical. I'll be trying to feed him and he'll throw his little arms up and over his eyes until all I can see is a toothy grin. I know this is my cue to say, "Where's Joel?!" He loves to "hide" from me when we're playing on the floor - to scuttle under the dining room table or set up a fort under the coffee table. Today we were playing his favorite game, which involves me chasing him around and around the outside of his exersaucer, while he giggles and tries to move fast enough to get away from Momma (he never wins!) Today he squealed and crawled as fast as he could under an end table and sat looking at me and I said, "I found you! You can't hide from me! I'll always find you!" And immediately I thought, "That's God. We can't ever hide deep enough or run fast or far enough. He will always, always find us." And as I pulled my grinning boy out from under the table by his chubby legs that make my heart melt, I just smiled. Because I've been pulled out of tight spaces and my own personal forts before. What a relief to be found.

I think all the time how my love and devotion to our baby has to, somehow, dim in comparison to the love "that the Father has lavished on us". It's hard to comprehend such a thing, because I love him so much than I can express or ever write about. I know, too, that as natural as it feels to love Joel... as instant as my fierce devotion was to him from the second he entered this world and was put in my arms.... I know that I know how to love because I was first loved by God. And that's why I can't help but think, in all the milestones and the sleepless nights and the days when I want to lose patience and especially on the days that I do... that I know how to love, only because of what has been poured out on me.

And yes, sometimes I miss the ability to have consistent, long, absorbed quiet times with my Bible and journal and colored gel pens. But the thing that makes me smile is the thought of how I used to view my apartment as a sanctuary. It was just me and God (and General Maximus). But now... now that I am in this house, with this husband and this baby... I think, wow, if that was a sanctuary... then this is a temple. This is a temple with refining fires that burn night and day. This is a temple where we take pictures and where I journal and scrapbook memories as virtual altars of what God has done. Is doing.

As a single woman, eating entire pizzas by myself, or as a stay at home wife and mother, learning to leave the extra pizza for someone else, I am finding that I am not lost. Even though there are days when I may be all fogged over and unshowered, I am not lost. I am still here. I am still God's. I am still worshipping, learning and serving. It's not what it was and for that, I'm thankful. Because now,... now I have a child. Now I have a living, breathing opportunity to die to self. To love as God has loved me.

I have so much more to give... and to gain... than I ever, ever dreamed.


"We love because
He first loved us.
Whoever does not love...
whom they have seen,
cannot love God,
whom they have not seen."
~ 1 John 4:19-20

Comments

  1. This is so beautiful. THANK YOU for sharing what God is teaching you. :) I've had a lot of glimpses of God's tenderness for His children lately, and it's really moving. That aspect of God is so easy for me to forget about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Laura, I've been struggling with anxiety/depression or some combo of that with my return to work, long hours away from my son, financial issues, and the transition from single parent hood to a marriage (engagement). My fiance doesn't believe in God and this is something I have had an issue with. Your posts always calm me down and remind me that a)jobs come and go b)so do diapers c)as well as stress but God and faith are constant. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brens ~ Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I'm so glad that this little piece touched you. *hugs* Love you, friend.

    Kate ~ I'm so sorry to hear about your struggle with anxiety and depression; that has to be so tough! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate these days! Thank you so much for reading and it means so much to me that it spoke to you somehow. Hugs and prayers, old friend!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

{ I've Heard the Whisper ... }

Nobody likes to sit in the dark.
That’s what I tell him as I flip on the light so he can clearly see his granola bar, handful of Froot Loops and his Star Wars vitamins.
No one wants darkness.  It’s heavy and depressing.  Oppressing. It feels sneaky and devious. It can feel scary and hopeless.  It’s a wet blanket on the warm fire of a sun-filled day. It snuffs out all the hope and brilliance, ideas and dreams, that you had during the day. In the dark it all shifts. It all feels worn and tired, old and pointless; you feel lost in a forest of trees with eyes and faces and arms and you wonder why you ever thought you could find your way out or change the world.
The darkness can be such a storyteller of lies.
The darkness can be such a sanctuary for the Teller of all the lies. 
And the darkness can be banished... just. like. that.
“Let there be light.”

God proved in the very beginning, before elephants and man and oceans and babies... He proved first that beyond creating, beyond teaching leaves …

Tale as old as time: a different sort of review...

Is there any more beautiful notes than the first few tones of the dramatic prologue to Beauty and the Beast? When Disney released its animated version in 1991, my little ten year old heart was completely enraptured. Enchanted. I am never not moved by the overview of the roses, the squinting through brambles to see the castle aching and looming large against the sky.

Last night I swung by RedBox and picked up the newest version, since I'm like the only person on the planet who hasn't seen it, yet. I was ready for some uninterrupted girl time - just me and my mini Ben & Jerry's. I couldn't get the kids to bed fast enough (which is ironic, because I allowed them to stay up later than normal - the things we do as mothers that never make sense to anyone). I had my evening planned out and suddenly I had unending patience and energy. Funny how self-care works.

I settled deeper into my couch, held the ice cream close and got ready for an evening free of thinking and lists …

Your Love is Fierce...

I was so angry. So painfully, gut-wrenchingly, angry.
I didn’t know that’s what it was.
January was exhausting, sickly, draining. It clipped fast on the heels of December and holidays and before I knew it, what should have been a day to celebrate my beautiful niece, was a reminder that she wasn’t here. And I was a mess all day. Cried about everything. I had a purple heart on the calendar and I was destroyed.
I went to choir practice the following Wednesday. I usually always want to go. This week, I didn’t. I felt shattered and exposed and I knew that any song, every song, would set me off. I knew I needed to go, something deep in my spirit knew, but I was so apprehensive. One chorus. One bridge. One well-meaning repeat and I would be undone. I had been breaking and re-breaking in a thousand different ways since October. I was falling apart in every direction.
I had to leave during practice once that night. Went into the ladies room and sobbed so loud, before I could stop myself. My grief …