Oftentimes I am tempted to compare and contrast in a way that leaves me feeling lame about myself, my mothering, housekeeping and such. I think "Oh you should be doing more. Where is your creativity? Where is the supermom (like the one that raised you) lurking? Lameface." This negative thinking is a downward spiral that leave in its wake only discouragement and impatience.
Tired, unhappy baby with a stuffy nose wakes up again and wails for an hour. Impatience and discouragement. Wake up in the morning with a house to clean and the baby is still sick and I can't seem to get to anything. Impatience and discouragement.
I read about Bowen and Stellan who were born with heart issues. I cried as I followed their stories (Stellan is now 1, but Bowen is still in the NICU) and was amazed by the miraculous healing power of our God. I was floored by the amount of faith that their parents displayed and was moved beyond words with empathy for their situations. I realized that I did not have that kind of faith. I looked in myself trying to find strength like they have and the resilient trust that brought them through so much and found trembling knees. I questioned that if, in their same situation, could I unwaveringly hold to the hand of my baby's Creator? Could I face day after day as the unknown future stared me in the face? I found that I could not. Discouragement.
Then, a Reality Check with Two conclusions.
I had gotten myself into a bad place. Days are often challenging and isolated. Left to my own company, instead of looking Up, I found my eyes looking inward. I sought in myself something that would NEVER be there. It could never be there. It was not in me. The strength, creativity, faith, patience and love that I was looking for were all traits that I could never possess... alone.
It struck me one morning how these amazing women were exactly like me. They were afraid, worn out, impatient and discouraged. But they knew where to look. It was God, and God alone, that gave the faith, patience, creativity, strength and inspiration. He was that "super something" inside of these women. I was expecting myself to be something I could only be by the grace and power of Christ. I had become so focused on self and my abilities that I had lost sight of the One Who made me. I had become discouraged when I had lost sight of my Savior and started looking at my waves. I needed to stop looking in, and start looking Up.
I am so blessed it is ridiculous. I had a relatively easy pregnancy with no bumps or concerns. I had an easy (ish) delivery of a healthy baby girl who breathed with developed lungs from day one. Her heart was strong and her new little body was in my arms almost the very moment that she entered this world. Mothers so often have difficult high risk pregnancies full of uncertainty and fear. Their newborns are not theirs to hold the moment they can. Babies every day are immediately rushed to intensive care, where they must stay for many weeks. Parents have to watch their children suffer every day, with no way to help them. They have to trust others to fight for their child's life and wait for the outcome of multiple surgeries. Sometimes it is a few months later that they find themselves facing cancer or some other unexpected tragedy. They have to watch their newborn babies cry in an incubator, hooked up to innumerable tubes and endure the pain of not being able to hold them as they cry. I can not begin to imagine.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to better understand just how blessed I am. There is no room for frustration when I have to get up and comfort my crying baby. The biggest thing I have to watch her struggle with is a head cold. I can hold her as she cries. I can comfort her when she needs me. I know she will be ok. Until last month, it really did not penetrate just how huge that is.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Lord.