Do you ever feel guilty when people do nice things for you?
Or start comparing yourself to all those who have a harder life or circumstance?
And then the next second, when you’re trying to get the screaming baby to latch on and your toddler is yelling for your help from across the house, wonder why you have to be needed (and touched) all day, every day?
These past newborn days have been filled with grace and kindness. Cards coming in the mail. People from church bringing meals. My parents staying with us and cooking food, doing fix-it projects in the house and yard, and letting 2 1/2 year old Isaiah follow them around and “help.”
There have been text messages to let me know people have been praying. Calls to ask if I need anything at the store.
In the daytime fog that comes from each REM sleep cycle being interrupted by a famished newborn, trying to compose thank you notes doesn’t seem to be enough.
But then when we’ve just turned out the lights to go to sleep and the fussing starts, the ungrateful and self-pitying thoughts come rolling in.
Why couldn’t she schedule her gassy discomfort an hour ago, when we weren’t so tired?
Why does everyone around me have to be so needy?
The one sure thing about newborns is that they’re unpredictable, just like most of my other circumstances (including the ones that I’m living under the illusion that I control).
I often waver between guilt over the blessing in my life and frustration over the unexpected inconveniences of an overcharged internet bill and a little voice whining for a brownie for the 37th time that day.
It doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for joy.
I let my circumstances justify or condemn my feelings instead of just saying, “Ok, emotion. Here you are. Let’s go talk to Jesus about it and go from there.”
It’s easy to let my emotions force a false perception of reality into my mind—that this stage will never end, that other mothers have figured out how to do this parenting thing wonderfully, and that my thoughts will always feel this disconnected and boring.
One gift in navigating the emotional newborn journey has been reading Gloria Furman’s book, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations For Busy Moms.
She reminded me that every leaky diaper and temper tantrum happens under God’s sovereignty.
Every act of love and care points us to the greatest act of love: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross so that we can be in relationship with God, adopted as His daughters, and heirs of the most glorious eternal life to come.
Gloria shares that, “In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are–worship. In the daily (and nightly) work of mothering, we’re given dozens of invitations to worship God as he reminds us of the hope we have because of the gospel.” p. 18
We are nurturing life in the face of death in our sinful, fallen world.
When we allow ourselves to appreciate people’s acts of kindness, no strings attached, we can also delight in the undeserved gifts of grace and spiritual blessings God wants to lavish on us simply because we are His.
And when our thoughts are covered in the truth of the gospel, we are free to invite his presence into every chopped onion, Thomas the Train book, and nighttime cry, no matter how many dishes are still left in the sink.
When we feel that we’ve done little else than keeping a couple kids alive that day, we can rest in His greatest accomplishment of our salvation and daily power over the universe.
Will you invite Jesus’ presence into each messy day?
Will you let His accomplishment be enough today?