Something different happened tonight when I went to put Weston to bed. Instead of feeding him with my eyes on the clock, and putting him right to bed, I held him. And held him. And rocked him. And just looked at his face. The outline. His sweet nose. His wide-open, fast asleep mouth. His tiny ears. Thinking about how just 12 months ago, this little life did not exist. And God formed him from absolutely nothing. And grew him in my womb. And brought him safely into this world and into our lives. For the first time in a long time, I just cried and cried and prayed with thanksgiving to the Lord. Why is it so easy to take this for granted? Psalm 139 was singing in my heart. He knit Weston together. His works ARE indeed wonderful, my soul knows it well- and can see it with my own eyes in this tiny work of His creation.
I feel like this was a culmination of a few things that I have read and a few conversations I have had with some dear sisters in the Lord. When Weston was just a few weeks old, a sister encouraged me (in my endless questions about baby schedules/feeding/sleeping/you get the point) to remember to enjoy my child as the gift that he is from God. Routine and a framework are definitely helpful and beneficial and necessary for the whole family, but if I take that framework and stress about it so much that I fail to just take in the moments to hold my sweet boy, I have a sense that I am going to regret it. I have also heard from moms with multiple children that you don't get nearly the snuggle time with your next kids as you did with your first. Things just understandably get busier. And babies just grow up quickly. Life just goes fast. James had it right. A vapor...
I LOVE checking things off a list. I always have. Can't go a day without my planner and a trusty to-do list! And although I think there's definite value to organization and planning, these qualities gone ary can often set me up to be consumed with the next thing to do, the next thing to cross off and accomplish. I'm on the computer and Weston needs my attention and I am agitated because he's interrupting my productivity. Wow! Really, Ashley? Now I am not advocating a child-centered home, and I believe there are times when it is good for him to fuss a little and get a delay in mom's attention. But as a general rule of my heart, I am constantly challenged to die to myself and my to-do list in order to love my family first (don't ask Nathan how I am doing on this one). I realize there's a definite possibility for me that one day soon I could look around and probably see trophies of productivity, but not have near the amount of trophies of precious memories or teaching moments with my kids. This sounds good on paper (or a blog), but is the area in which I feel most weak. In these moments, my mind often lands on my favorite theologian, Sara Groves, and this particular song. "Love to me is when you put down that one more thing and say I've got something better to do..."
Then there was this article that I saw today the 6th time I logged onto Facebook (can we say addiction??). So helpful.. Now that I am home, I do feel the pressure (mostly from myself) to have it all put together. To have the most creative home or meals or kid. Honestly, my mind has been occupied by the extra 30 pounds I am carrying and how unattractive I feel right now- I can't do my hair right, my fashion sense stinks, I'm so out of shape, blah blah blah. But the reality is that Nathan and Weston love me. And the even truer reality is that the Creator God, Ruler and Reigner of this Universe, went to the ends of the earth to rescue my sinful heart from the punishment I deserved by sending His SPOTLESS Son to die in my place. In the span of eternity, does my concern with my image really deserve the place I am giving it in my heart? Absolutely not. God's glory alone deserves that place. Is Weston going to look back in 20 years and complain that Mom wasn't cuter or skinnier or more crafty? Yeah right. My hearts desire and prayer to God is that he would be able to look back and say that Mom (in all her flaws) did what she could to show him the beauty of Jesus Christ. With or without Pinterest or sandwiches cut in the shapes of animals. ***caveat here: I don't think Pinterest is bad! Lots of cute ideas. My HEART is what twists it!
And then I spent some time tonight listening again, to Sara Groves, talk about her newest album, "Invisible Empires" here. Frenetic lifestyle- that's me. Value in slowing down to take it in. Later she talked about one of her songs "Precious Again" and I love the lyrics:
New tender mercies and infinite graces woven like thread in the cloths of my day. Deep wells of glory behind common faces. Where is the wonder? .... Press mud with holy fingers. Light the ineffable. Fused in the ordinary. There is the wonder.
And that takes me back to this article I read earlier this week. It truly is in the mundane tasks of life, our everyday relationships, that the Lord has so much to teach us about Himself and His calling on our lives. In our Colossians Bible study at church we have been talking over and over again about how there is no extra spiritual revelation to seek after. God has revealed everything He needs to about Himself in His Word and through His Son. We seek to know more of Christ! And He is gracious to weave opportunities for that learning throughout the everyday things in my life. Trouble cleaning up the same mess after Nathan leaves for work in the morning? Frustrated that Weston wakes up early from his nap again and interrupts MY time? Look to Christ who gave up his very life for people who didn't deserve it. I am not good at this. I just complain and get frustrated.
I feel like this is a mumbled mess of my heart, and I feel like I still have a lot welled up inside. And know there are probably still a million things wrong with my thinking and living. But so thankful that God promises to refine me, and that my standing before Him doesn't even rest in my ability to get it all right, or to savor all the moments. Or to always put others first. Or to always act like Jesus. Because I know I won't always. My standing before Him rests in what He's done for me in Jesus on the cross. And its with that confidence and that peace that I can draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in my time of need (Heb. 4:16); that I can come to Him with these things on my heart and ask Him to change me and continue to make me into the wife and mother He would have me become, for my good and for the fame of JESUS!
Just some reflections from a new mom...