All mothers know getting a child to sleep is not always easy. It is a vulnerable time for both child and parent. There our sleepy heads want to be sung to, rocked, read to, and prayed over. All good and needed things for these little souls; however, the fact of the matter is, we get tired. I mean really tired. There is literally a mound of clean clothes needing to be folded on the bed before the dryer needs to be restarted again so that those clothes don’t wrinkle. The firstborn “taking a nap” has pulled out the dollhouse furniture and that mess and noise adds to the weariness. And then they utter the tempting plea, “Lay with meeeeee!”
This scenario is something that plays out often at our house. I’ve found that in our most vulnerable state, namely that we are needy ourselves for a bit of quiet time and rejuvenation, that there is no need to wish this time away like is often the case. Rather than begrudgingly trying to get the napping going so we can get our tasks accomplished (which by the way, the begrudging part really makes that quiet time kind of feel off kilter), what if we seized the moment. Swaying our baby boy really is so much sweeter when I look upon him and pray.
We do have time after all.
God hasn’t plagued us with needy children that usurp all of our time. He has given us souls to steward for his glory on this earth. He is reminding us that we are HIS needy children as well. So needy, in fact, that God called us unto himself for salvation while we were weak. So needy that God wants us to come to him and be reminded that he is always strong amidst all of our great weaknesses.
• “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
• “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
• “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
• “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
• “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
You see when I consider that in Jesus I find rest, in my weakness God is made glorious, that there is reward where prayer is persistent, and that the name of the Lord is my safe place – mothering becomes an honor.
God has provided mothers with so many occasions to commune with him in the presence of our children. Consider a toddler tantrum. What greater way to get through than to go to God before your child? Memorize scripture for these instances. I cling to Philippians 2:4-11, especially when car rides to the grocery store leave my toddler asking for milk and my baby crying because the sun is in his eyes. While pacing my son to sleep (yes that’s right I said pacing), God reminds me that He cares about all the “little” things that worry me. I pray for the impending task of weaning Owen. I pray for his teething or tendency to pull Norah’s hair. I ask God to help me in my impatience and unbelief that all of this is for my good. Have you considered the blissfulness of rocking your child to sleep? Keep your bible nearby. It will help with all of our excuses that we don’t have time to read. In it we will find food to nourish our hungry hearts and comfort from the One that has shown us grace upon grace that we may extend that to our babies.
I am sure all of our loads are so different and vary in strenuousness. Some husbands are gone for days or weeks at a time. Some mothers do this alone. Not to mention all of us are wired so differently. Whatever the case may be, God knows, and he is there through it all.
Moms, we are to be beggars. Embrace it.
Beggars for grace. Beggars for patience. Beggars for time. Beggars for joy on the bumpy road of mothering.
The one thing I want my children to see when they look back on my mothering is not how awesome I was at doing everything. Truthfully, that would not be reality. I would rather them see that all of my efforts, prayers, and time invested in their lives was due to the work of Another.
Charles Spurgeon says the following: “There, poor sinner, take my garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner’s stead, and you shall be rewarded for works that you did not do, but which I did for you.” (The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon, 36)
Now to let this sink in deep and live it out because there’s a rumor out there saying that this child-rearing business happens in the blink of an eye.