2. Narrative of A Mother

Our Son is Born...

"Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I was rather impatient for this "gift" from the Lord. I am deeply grateful for a happy childhood, which certainly contributed to my own desire for children. We were far from perfect but home was a safe place with discipline, love, order, and peace. When it was my turn to be the wife and mother I had very few fears. It's astonishing, but it's true! I was a nineteen-year-old bride, carefree and trusting and excited about the future. Within a year of marriage I wanted a baby.

* * * * *

Several years later, when it was confirmed that I really was carrying our first baby, I got a little emotional. I kept a pregnancy journal and here is an excerpt...

I laughed, then cried, then laughed again. And I praised and thanked the Lord. The joy was almost more than I could hold... It was a long wait till Dale came home... we rejoiced together. The next few days were quite blissful because I didn't get sick right away. I must admit, I kinda wished I would be at least a little sick to prove I actually was pregnant. :( Believe me, I'll never wish that again...I learned real fast what morning sickness was and wondered if it would ever end.

Notice how I had to wait until Dale came home from work to tell him the news. No cell phones, no instant messaging. It all seems foreign to today's connected-all-the-time and I-cannot-wait-that-long style of living. But I do believe we were less stressed and rushed without all the instant communication.

As I read through my account of (and feel like I'm reliving) that first pregnancy I can't help but notice a few things. I honestly don't remember being quite so sick. Between food smelling and tasting gross then coming back up, plus feeling nauseated almost all day, it sounds most unpleasant. Besides that, I was pretty worried about weight gain, a subject that pops up pretty frequently in my writings. Despite the morning/all day sickness, I seemed to think there was an overconsumption of food. I'm living proof that some moms forget the worst parts, but I can't deny the facts documented in my journal!

Have you ever read something you wrote twenty years ago? It's a peculiar sensation. I am cringing inwardly one minute, laughing the next, startled at how childish it sounds, then coming across a passage that has my heart aching to return to that moment for the sheer joy it evokes. The latter sentiment was a result of reading my description of the seconds immediately after our son was born.

This was my little boy and I could scarcely contain my delight. Upon seeing him for the first time I was hit with a surging wave of emotion, that profoundly overwhelming impulse to Protect My Child at all cost. I had never experienced anything like it. Having given birth to a tiny, helpless baby, I developed a fierce and sudden obligation to take care of him. I believe that is an undying instinct. I had become a mother.

Why do some mothers lack the protective instinct, that desire to protect and love their children? I believe it's a natural impulse, but it is clearly missing in some cases. I speak from my own experience and observation, not as an expert. When a human being begins to reject truth, goodness, natural instinct, and ultimately, the God Who created him or her, those natural affections are damaged and destroyed over time. A woman is not naturally hostile to her own child. But pain, chaos, abuse, neglect, and a host of evils may lead her to refuse to follow what she knows to be right, and choose to go her own way.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to every need humankind has ever faced. Unbelievers may be morally good, and kind to their children, but there is no substitute for the power of God to set us free to live in true holiness.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; 
for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, 
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 
Romans 1:16 

On the other hand, a systematic denial of the life and power of Christ will lead to a shattered and miserable soul...

"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient...
without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection..."
Romans 1:28, 31 

I am not a good mother in my own strength or wisdom, but I have surrendered myself and the rest of my life to doing and being what my Heavenly Father asks of me and gives me the grace to fulfill. Because of His salvation and ongoing work of purification within my heart, I trust Him to give me grace to love, protect, and train our children.

Seeing my husband and son together for the first time, brought a sense of fulfillment and obligation and love like I'd never known before. I was now embarked on a journey called motherhood and delighted beyond description.

Our son was a beautiful child with lots of dark hair and a darling little face. He slept so much the first month or two I remember calling my mom and asking if it's alright to sit and hold him for the sheer pleasure of it even if he doesn't need fed or changed or quieted, because one of my greatest fears was having my baby grow into a spoiled, coddled youngster who demanded attention. He must not think all of life revolved around him. There is a solid truth in that. It is a principle that has nearly been lost in modern society. But I was, perhaps, a bit overly worried on that point!

Taking care of my baby was so much fun it seemed like play. Those first months were a pleasant interlude, settling into my new role as a mom yet not up against the full force of frustrations, doubts, and fears that were still to come.

* * * * *

Now for a bit of a window into my soul as a young mother. I was raised in a Christian home, which was an excellent training ground for starting a family. I had heard the great sermons, sat under amazing inspiration, knew the answers to the basic (and not so basic) questions on motherhood and child-training. But the greatest ideas and strongest opinions usually spring from an untested source, right? That was me! I was not so much vocal about it as I was self-assured. I knew better than to talk and act experienced but I still held my firm views on how it should be done.

All that stored-up education has the potential to unravel awfully fast when you have your own child. Especially if your little one does not quite fit the normal-child criteria. For us, that happened with our first child. But we were new at this, and hopeful, determined to get things moving forward, by force if need be. Sometimes I think the best tool for humbling a person is having a baby! You discover how little you actually know and how unable you are to guide everything about them toward the goal you have set up.

It is a crash-course in humility and servanthood, right along with catapulting you into a fascinating and exhilarating life you never knew existed.


...to be continued

Comments

  1. What a delight to read this Karyn. You describe this journey about as accurate as I've read... Anne

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne, that is encouragement indeed!

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