After giving birth, I learned there is a medical term for babies who fail to thrive outside the womb…Failure to Thrive. I was actually worried for a few days after Jude was born that we might be facing just this. Jude would sleep for HOURS and had a learning curve (like most babies) with nursing. I quickly saw that Jude would thrive just fine…but this term stuck in my mind.
Becoming a mother, from birth until now, has been the most difficult as well as one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. However, it has also brought up some VERY real feelings of anxiety and fear. I started to have anxiety about things big and small…going home from the birth center, what to make for dinner, had every thing in my house been disinfected??, the color of Jude’s poop (yes, seriously), the thought of traveling with him, and on and on. As my anxiety grew (because anxiety feeds on anxiety amiright?), I became more and more harsh with Ross, I became more and more depressed, and I became more and more self-focused. In that belly-gazing place, I had no eyes for the beauty and joy happening around me as Jude got to know the world around him and it got to know him.
It was (and still is at times) in this place of deep anxiety, that I began to learn the joy of deep surrender. I got to a point where anxiety was eating away at my joy so much that I was the one who was failing to thrive.
It was here that I realized that I didn’t want to be this kind of mom, or even this kind of person. I didn’t want to be someone who was always looking over her shoulder for the next bad thing to happen, or someone who lived in her personal world of worries.
I want to be a mom, and a woman, who loves deep and wide, who looks forward to tomorrow, who laughs easily, who sees the world around her, who gets her hands dirty with the things she loves, and who brings her children along for all of it. I want to be a woman of faith.
While pregnancy was its own kind of surrender, I am learning on this side of things how to simply live in today. To live in joy. And you know what? It’s FUN. It is FUN to choose to live in joy and walk straight out of our places of fear. It is!
I nearly forgot my birthday this year with all this crazy being a mom stuff. I turned 31 a few days ago. This is the year of freedom. This is the year of choosing to walk away from fear and out of shame. Because Jesus is more than enough. Always. And I will always be enough when I am in Him. I just LOVE how the Message Bible puts Colossians 1:11-14
As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Some days I am still trudging through this New-Mom Land. Let’s be honest, a lot of days I am. But I am learning. And I am thankful. I am deeply thankful for this experience of learning how to be a mom. Because I don’t know if I ever would have understood this kind of surrender apart from it.