Today is the second day in a 31 day writing challenge. The topic for my series is about learning to embrace in motherhood the waves that throw us against Jesus, our Rock. Sometimes we face big waves; sometimes we experience small waves. They are all meant to accomplish something glorious in our lives. Before I expound on these truths more specifically, I want to tell a little bit of my story so you can have context for what I will share later about God’s dealings with me and how he has sharpened what I functionally believe about Him, His world and His Word.
When I first became a mom, I was really thankful for how easy the transition was. My little girl was not high maintenance, she soon started sleeping longer stretches through the night and my husband was super helpful with her.
But when my daughter Maia was about 5 months the Lord allowed a deep season of trial in motherhood. Many factors came together that caused a perfect storm. My body started to reset hormone-wise. I also got an infection and had to go through two rounds of antibiotics. This in turn affected my milk supply, and I had to start supplementing and eventually weaning my baby girl. I didn’t know then that weaning could mess with your hormones. I was exhausted from not sleeping well for weeks. On top of that, a dear friend of mine suffered the loss of her son, who was 7 weeks old and I walked very closely with her during those first months. I felt very vulnerable as I stared at the brokenness of this world.
At first I didn’t realize just how fearful I had grown since having Maia. As her 5 month mark approached, I realized that more and more fearful thoughts were knocking at my door and I had let them come in and stay a while. Fear has an urgent, demanding voice. I felt like I (or my baby) was constantly in danger. A part of me knew those fears were irrational, but they seemed to speak so truthfully. I let fear define reality for me.
Slowly, life at home with a baby seemed overwhelming to me. I was very tempted to feel I couldn’t cope with the responsibilities the Lord had for me. There were moments when I felt the ruthlessness of the devil against my soul. I was tempted to believe many lies: “I am alone, God has forsaken me, sleep is my refuge, I cannot do anything more.” I grew increasingly afraid that motherhood would be the end of me, that I just wouldn’t survive it or I would be found unfit to care for my baby. Those were dark months.
In His grace, my Lord didn’t leave me there. He was so kind and full of tender love toward me. He gave me a husband who held me as I clung to him crying, terrified of what I was capable of imagining myself doing. My sweet man sang truths from God’s word to me, prayed with me and for me.
God opened the eyes of my heart to discern where I was listening to lies. He gave me faith to see Jesus fighting for me and lifting up my head (Psalm 3). Christ breathed hope into me time and time again by providing through my church and extended family through loving friendships, counseling and practical help.
From despair to hope
During that time, reading Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd Jones, God opened my eyes to see Christ was ruling this storm. He wouldn’t let this struggle destroy me. He was in the storm and whenever He commanded it, it would stop. Instead of fearing I would be overcome by this trial, my prayer then became, “Lord, help me to endure till you bring me out of here.”
The Lord was merciful to help me realize that I was going through a fight against post partum depression, and that there was a huge physical component to my struggle. Understanding why, in part, I was experiencing such a storm was comforting to me.
And one day, just like that, the struggle was gone. The Lord lifted up the clouds and gave relief as soon as my hormonal cycle was completely regular. And while a huge wave of thankfulness swept over me, I was left very aware of how vulnerable I am.
I couldn’t believe I had listened to my fears so much, that I had let my feelings rule over my faith. I shouldn’t have been surprised at my weakness. But I was. And for weeks, probably even months, I was still afraid. I was letting the weakness of my faith define me. “What if some day I lose my hold on Christ? I made it this time, but what about a next time?”
The Lord spoke to me once again through His word. I was not to have faith in my faith. I hadn’t made it. It was Christ who gripped me throughout that time. His unchanging character and faithfulness was the ground for my hope in future grace. The beauty of my faith is not in the strength of it but in its object.
Christ’s kindness led me to a place where I could see that I was weak… but that realization was meant to fuel my joy not my fear. I could rejoice “in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5: 2). My security was not that I was able to keep my hold on Jesus but that He would not- indeed, could not- let go of me. Christ’s righteousness is what defines me. My fixed hope is His commitment to present me blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy (Jude 24-25).
I hope you can see why I kiss the wave that threw me against my Savior. He truly is a firm foundation for the needy, weak soul. What a faithful and gentle Deliverer, Mediator and King we have!
If I were to leave it here my story wouldn’t be quite complete. I mentioned in my last blog post that we need theology not only for the big trials that Christ allows (like a battle against postpartum depression) but also for the daily laying our lives that we do as moms and for the suffering that we experience as part of this fallen world. In my next post I hope to share what are some of the ways I experience that daily kind of suffering and what the Lord has been teaching me through it all.