What would you tell yourself as a new mother if you knew then what you know now?
Congratulations! You are a now a mother. Your baby girl is busy growing inside of you and you are busy reading books written by those who’ve done this before. Great job doing your homework! There are a few things, however, you won’t find in those books. A few things you’re going to need to know.
Well, one thing really.
And this is it — you can’t do this alone.
I’m not talking about needing a mentor, your girlfriends or even your husband — though some of those books aptly address all three. I’m talking about something else or rather, Someone else. I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.
No matter how many good parenting books you read or how many good parents you talk to — you’re going to need to lean in to hear His voice for yourself.
When you’re up for those midnight feedings — He’s the only One who will be there to whisper, “This sacrifice is worth it. Keep going.” When you doubt whether or not you should have left your job, He will stay you when irrelevance closes in like a prison. When your toddler pushes you over the edge and all you want to do is lock yourself in a closet with a chocolate bar, He will strengthen your arms for one more embrace. And for all the days when you blow it big — and you will — He will nudge you towards repentance and beautiful reconciliation. When teen angst turns your baby into a stranger, He will show you how to love her best. He will whisper again, “This sacrifice is worth it. Keep going.”
Trust me, those parenting tips and techniques will not cut it. Those parents you think have it all together probably won’t be around for instant advice when you need it most. Even your husband may be buried in work when a desperate situation hits. You’re going to need the power, wisdom, and presence of the Lord to do this.
He will help you. He will gird you for the fight.
Yes, I said fight.
As much as parenting is about kissing owies, nurturing tender emotions, providing daily needs and in general, loving well — it is also about fighting fiercely. Some days I wish it weren’t so. But it is.
The enemy will come for you. You will feel his breath at your back and hear his lies in your ear. Arm yourself with the truth. When he says, “You don’t have what it takes to parent this child,” tell him God says you can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13). When he compares you to that other mom you think has it all together, tell him you are committing your way to the Lord — not someone else’s — and God will act on your behalf (Psalm 37:5).
The enemy will come for your little one too. His lies will be just as vicious. He will tell you that the issues your child struggles with are too big, will never change and that the situation is hopeless. Don’t believe it. There is not one struggle you or your child will ever face that is beyond the mighty hand of God. Remember, His arm is not too short to save, nor his ear too hard of hearing as the deceiver wants you to believe (Psalm 59:1).
The best news of all — your Defender will be with you every step of the way. You are part of His mighty army. You have joined the ranks of women who nurture, protect and defend and do so in Jesus’ name. Many have gone before you and many will come behind you. You will become a formidable, compassionate kingdom warrior — quite possibly one you may not even recognize years from now.
Oh and that little one you’re carrying has a call of God on her life. It will give you great joy to see the wondrous things God poured into making her. Year after year, you will grow together and watch with amazement at how He weaves the good, the bad, and the ugly together in beauty.
No, you’re not likely to find much of this in, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and that’s okay. God is writing His own story in you, your child, your family, and this generation. And it is beautiful.
Now, put down those books and remember — you are more than a conqueror.
P.S. Go ahead and hide a chocolate bar somewhere in the closet. You’re gonna need it!