Dear New Mom
The children the Lord gives us are on loan. They are not your own. They belong to the Creator who fashions each limb, every hair, each tiny toe and finger. The God who builds and crafts each cell of our children is the God who will loan them to us for a season and is entrusting us with the care, love, protection, and training of their days.
I was very excited to have my first baby girl. I counted the days, enjoyed each little pregnancy milestone, decorated the nursery, and attempted to prepare myself for the big unknown of labor and delivery. I read MacArthur’s book on parenting, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, and pamphlets on nursing.
Here are some things that really took me by surprise that I did not glean from the books above:
I would not go to the bathroom alone for a good 6 years;
If my baby ever needed something, and fast, it was when I thought it was safe to run to previously named bathroom;
Showering would become a box on my To-Do List;
A full night’s sleep would be rare in the next 6 years;
Lunch would start to consist of PB&J scraps and cold macaroni;
I would become as excited as a little girl on Christmas with a new stroller;
I would be tempted to go to the grocery store just to interact with an adult midday;
On date nights with my husband I would struggle to discuss anything but the children;
I would learn to tune out the sound of crying, my own name, and loud shrieking;
It would take a suitcase, not a diaper bag, to actually carry around all the things needed for baby and myself; and
Parenting would require the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job: neither of which I possessed ahead of time.
Perhaps, though, I should share some Biblical WISDOM that I wish I’d known before I had children. There’s a great song by MercyMe called “Dear Younger Me.” Here are some of the lyrics:
“Dear Younger me, where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far,
then you could be, one step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running through my head,
I wonder how much different things would be,
dear younger me.
I cannot decide, do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
or do I go deep, and try to change,
the choices that you’ll make cuz they’re the choices that made me.”
That last line really hits the nail on the head. If I had not learned some of these lessons the hard way I would not be who I am today. God is crafting each day of your life to make you into the image of His Son, as well. In God’s great economy, though, He tells us to teach and admonish one another, to warn, encourage, and help one another. I had a few godly women around me when we started our family and I gleaned much, but there was also a lot I was not prepared for, struggled with, and had to be refined by. One of the things in life I love is how God will give you little gems along the way to grab onto. A conversation in the hallway, a sermon point, quiet time in His word, someone’s random comments on Facebook, or a song lyric. It will send your mind comparing and contrasting where your heart is in light of those words and you will seek change! Your heart will see God’s truth in a new light and it is beautiful and encouraging and exciting!
So I made a list of all the little and big things I would love to tell and indeed the list is long as well, but I am only going to hit on three main things. Three things I wish I’d applied earlier, pondered in my heart, and known the importance of.
The first bit of wisdom I have for moms-to-be or new mothers is to take advantage of the quiet moments in your home this year. When your baby is sleeping and you aren’t sleeping too, and you find time on your hands, use this precious time to work hard and to have extended time with the Lord.
Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Proverbs 31:15, 18, 27, 31-“lamp does not go out at night, rises while it is still night, she does not eat the bread of idleness and she receives the product of her hands, let her works praise her in the gates.”
The word is pretty clear in these verses that we are not to be idle. We are not promised tomorrow, so each day we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness! It may not seem like you have tons of time when you first bring your baby home, but compared to when you start bring home baby #2, 3, 4, etc, you actually have copious amounts of TIME.
Begin now to use your moments, hours, and days to working hard and growing in the Lord. There will be busy, noisy days ahead when baby doesn’t sleep all the time anymore and baby now babbles, talks, yells, runs, plays, makes messes, and is up late AND early! This quieter season is so precious and will soon be crowded in by noise and activity.
Practice now the habits of a faithful wife, mom, homemaker, and child of the King. Invest yourself in deeper daily study of the word while time is still plentiful. Delve into the reading of books on the “how and why” of Biblical parenting. Devote yourself to worship and prayer—if this habit forms now when you have more time, you will continue to thirst and pursue it when time is less and you will be eternally blessed.
Spurgeon said: “If by excessive labor, we die before reaching the average age of man, worn out in the Master’s service, then glory be to God, we shall have so much less of earth and so much more of Heaven.”
The second bit of wisdom I have is to fight against fear and the desire for control. We all come face to face with fears when it comes to our children, and there are doctrines of God we do not want to rage against when we can rest calmly in them. The doctrines of sovereignty, providence, and how “God works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28)
2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
1 John 4:18 “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
How does a woman of God conquer a fearful spirit?
When you fear your baby may be born imperfect;
When you’re scared because they aren’t eating or going to the bathroom enough;
When you leave your child with others to watch; or
When you hear all kinds of conflicting advice and you aren’t sure which decision for your child is best.
Well, God says we are GIVEN at Salvation and through His word: His power, His love and His wisdom. All things pertaining to life and godliness are found in His good book.
1. Love: Perfect love casts out fear. What is this love? Love for God, love that trusts all His words are true. Love that is patient and not anxious, love that is kind and seeks to bless others. The kind of love that casts out fear is love that endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. You can always trust that God loves your baby so much more than you do. Let this truth guide you. Not a single bad thing will happen to your baby that God does not allow for your good and for His glory. Not a single hair will fall from your child’s head that God has not counted. Trust in the words from Jesus about God’s care for birds and flowers to help make fears fly away as you trust Him with each breath of your child.
2. You also have God’s sustaining power in the life of your child, and though you may feel you are your child’s protector, provider, and prayer warrior; God is ultimately the only one in control of them.
As they get older and you recognize you cannot control your child’s heart, decisions and emotions, you will realize more clearly how it is God who is in control of your child 100%, and you are called simply to be a faithful caretaker of His sweet gift to you. Recognize God’s eternal immutable power and entrust your child to their Creator.
3. A sound mind is wisdom, my friends. God has given you His wisdom to lead, guide, train, and shepherd your child in all of life’s decisions. You need not fear making a wrong decision if you know the word of God, you have considered godly counsel, and have then stepped out in faith. Fight fear with minds steeped in God’s truth. Make wise decisions to keep your child safe from known harm, and trust God in the areas you have no control over. Give your child the best in discipline, schooling, privileges, and friendships, based on chapter and verse and you will be wise. If there is no chapter and verse, and together you and your husband aren’t sure, seek wise council.
If you will fear anything, fear God. Stand in awe of His omnipotent hand and gentle care. Fear displeasing Him and not the worries of this world.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. How blessed in the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:5-7, 13
Lastly, I offer to you the truth that we are to die to self. Lord willing, in your family growing up, you were trained in ways to serve others. But often we barely know what that really looks like. Then we get married, our concern is to be for our spouse, and we get a great big dose of learning what dying to self looks like as we seek to submit and make compromises together and support our husbands.
Well, parenting, at least for me and many I speak with, is one of the biggest areas in which we must die to self. In Matthew 16:24 “Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
There are so many sweet ways that you won’t mind doing this at all. When you fall in love with that new little soul after they are born. When you kiss your child’s sweet head and count their little toes you won’t imagine it will ever be hard to serve them.
But one day soon, your flesh will cry out against the sacrifices of motherhood. You will come face to face with what you want versus what baby wants and you will struggle to pick up that cross. You will give your all to your baby all day and your husband will come home and you will struggle to pick up that cross to serve him, too. You will be tempted on Sunday morning to not do the work it takes to get up early enough-to get everything done-to get to church on time-and you will struggle to pick up that cross.
But joyful hopes of motherhood don’t lie crushed under those trying moments, sisters. This is where God’s power shines again. We don’t die to self in our own power! We die to self with His Spirit energizing us to obey Him! There is great reward in striving.
These are the moments where solid foundations of true character are built. Through laying down our wills for His in the trenches of motherhood, we sacrifice our selfishness and our self-love. It is really such a joy to lay these in the fire! For the return of sacrificing those is joy in trial, true love, peacefulness with mankind, patience with those who try us, kindness and compassion towards all, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.
Forgetting ourselves for the sake of others is true reward. Becoming more like Christ is what your heart sings to do when it is indwelled by the Holy Spirit! This is what the mystery of our great salvation and the amazing power of Jesus Christ creates in these clay vessels:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)
We are not our own at all, and nothing reminds us more of this than being a mother. This is such a sweet gift of God to us. The joy of watching young souls grow and mature and blossom. Little souls that look a lot like us or a lot like their dad! We die to self by sacrificing us for the next generation. For being willing to give them all they need, including both pleasure and discipline. We die to self for our children from the beginning of pregnancy until the day we die and the sooner we learn this lesson and submit to this character of Christ, the sooner He can be honored and we will do nobly. Here are just a few stanzas of a wonderful poem by Bill Britton but they remind us of the particular call of motherhood:
“When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ; That is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did; That is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God; That is dying to self.”
So, my dear sisters, if I am to give you a few things to ponder before the Lord blesses you with children or you are a new mother, they are these: Redeem the time to start good habits at home and in your heart with God, put off the fearful inclinations of the female heart and cling to God’s promises and seek to die to self. Purpose to start working on these and submit your heart to ALL that God wants to shape you to be. The older you will rejoice in all the lessons you will learn along the way, but wisdom can be gleaned and applied without actual failure. I will end with 1 Timothy 4:6-10:
“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”