I’ve got SUCH a special treat for you today, friends! My dear, sweet friend Jordan – whom I’ve known since high school – is sharing a bit of her story here on the blog! Jordan and I became close friends in college and she was my matron of honor at my wedding! I admire her for her gentle spirit, her desire to serve the Lord in all she does, and most recently, her beautiful mother heart! Jordan and her husband welcomed their first baby girl in September. Since I’m not a mother yet, I asked Jordan to share some of her thoughts on Just Bee!
Hope For Midnight Mamas
When my sweet little bundle of a daughter arrived, my whole world changed. Looking into her precious dark eyes, I fell in love. In the earliest days, she was so easily content to snuggle down into my arms and snooze the day away, and I happily obliged her. I was equally as tired – bringing her into the world had been hard work! And then, 2am happened. It turns out that babies like to eat around the clock – who knew!? Okay, we all knew, but the adjustment was a big one. There were nights I would hear her call out, and all I could do was quietly whimper as I dragged myself out of bed to feed my darling little infant. As one who really loves a good nights’ sleep, I struggled. This was a season of tears and anxiety, wondering when I would finally get some rest.
And yet, as difficult as it was, seasons like these are exactly when the Lord is busy at work in my heart – shaping and sanctifying, chipping away at the “old man,” and making something new. My daughter (blissfully) sleeps through the night at this point, and looking back, I have a much clearer perspective of what God was doing in me during those days. Can I share a bit of what He taught me?
Cherish your children – they grow up quickly. As I said before, I used to find myself in tears when I would hear cries coming from the cradle in the middle of night. The exhaustion was just too much for me. However, when I finally wound up in the rocking chair in my daughter’s room with her nestled contentedly in my arms, the warmth and joy of the moment comforted me. These days, I find myself close to tears when I consider that, by-and-large, those tender moments in the middle of the night are gone. We will have many more sweet times to come, but that particular stage has passed. So, even when you’re exhausted, remember to adjust your perspective. Soon, that little baby will be grown up. Treasure these moments in your heart.
Motherhood is a ministry. I spent a lot of time meditating on an old quote of Elisabeth Elliot:
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
The Lord called me to this work, and His work is not always easy. It does, however, bring blessing. He entrusted me with a little human, a tiny bearer of His image. What greater privilege than to get to provide for her, nurture her, and love her? He sees the late nights. He empathizes with exhaustion. He delights in faithful, humble service.
The Lord hears our cries and responds in love. There was a span of a few days when my daughter thought it would be a great idea to, after enjoying her midnight meal, stay up for a party! And I was invited! Doesn’t that sound fun!? No. No, it does not. After being fed, burped, changed, and snuggled, she would cry as soon as she was put down. As you can imagine, it was distressing. She needed the sleep, and so did I. So, finally, I would swaddle her up, lay her down, and walk away. And then, I would sit up and listen. There is nothing more heart wrenching than listening to your child cry, even when you know that you are doing what is best for them. It caused me physical pain. Sometimes, I cried with her. At last, she would putter out and drift off to sleep, and in the morning, I would greet her for another happy day.
This experience made me think about God’s goodness and nearness. How often to I cry and carry on about my circumstances? How often do I feel like God is far away from me? But, like a mama sitting on the floor outside of her crying baby’s room, He listens. He hears. He does what’s best for us, even when it’s not particularly what we want. How good is the Lord!
Let thankfulness change your perspective. A dear friend of mine recently shared with me that thankfulness is what helped her to get up in the night for each of her children. It is so easy to take for granted a baby healthy enough to cry out when he needs something. So many of us have faced the difficulties of miscarriage, inability to conceive, and sick children. A baby that is hungry, that can cry for you, is a gift. This simple reminder drove me to endurance in the middle of the night that I never thought possible. The middle of the night is a gift.
Be content in your present circumstances. Have you ever noticed that there is no such thing as “enough?” It really doesn’t matter the context, our sinful hearts tend to perpetually drive us to discontentment. We have great difficulty giving thanks to God for more than a few minutes at a time. My pastor recently gave a sermon about living contentedly, and he made the point that we ought to be content with what we have, because otherwise, we won’t be content if we ever receive more. I used to groan a little when the baby would cry at 4am. One morning, I caught myself, and realized how silly I was being. I had just slept for 6 hours straight! Rather than complaining, I ought to be thanking God. So I did. I realized that, if I couldn’t be content with 6 hours of sleep, 7, 8, or 9 hours wouldn’t seem enough either. Rejoice in the Lord’s sovereign, gracious provision. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:12-13).
Moms, what have you learned in your seasons of sleeplessness? Or other precious, sometimes-difficult moments? How has God shown you His truths during these times?