As I reflect on these past few months, the evidence of God’s grace in my life leaves me in awe. I do not deserve it, but I’m thankful for it.
Since the moment I came out of my momma’s womb, I’ve wanted to be a mom. I was the weirdo girl who played with baby dolls through middle school (I didn’t have many friends… Let’s not even talk about my huge glasses and green corduroy Winnie the Pooh overalls…printed turtle necks–just stop it). Every time I’d come home from college I would make sure my American Girl and Bitty Baby had on seasonally appropriate outerwear. Anytime a baby was in the room, I was immediately drawn to him or her. Naturally, these experiences meant I was completely totally absolutely ready to be a mommy. After all, baby dolls are EXACTLY LIKE real human babies, right? (Can you hear the sarcasm resounding?)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you’re ever really prepared to be a mom. However, I hadn’t the slightest clue what I would experience! Baby dolls can be thrown around if you so desire, their diapers can be changed without any wipes or danger of getting sprayed right in the face, and they don’t make a noise without an on or off button to nip it in the bud.
Needless to say, motherhood came as a shock to me. I’m not very far into it and still have a plethora of things to learn, but the Lord has taught me some great lessons thus far. The first time I had a rude realization of my selfishness was when Tyler and I got married. Suddenly I had a husband to take care of and someone I had to compromise with. Yuck. I formerly thought of myself as a giving and caring gal – someone very easy to get along with – until it happened. We said “I do,” I joined him in South Carolina, and reality hit. I wanted my way in most aspects of our relationship. No…we won’t buy 2% milk. I drink skim. No…we don’t leave the toilet seat up…ever. Unless you’re asking for a swirly (just kidding). No…I will not throw the throw pillows out the window…They’re pretty! No…My ideas are better than yours. Always (and soon I became a leaky drippy faucet in Tyler’s ears). My husband should be among the saints for putting up with me.
After a couple years of marriage, I knew I still had some selfishness left in me, but Tyler and I have learned to serve one another…we aren’t perfect at it, but we’re ever improving. Then we had Liam. Out of nowhere, I got my second kick-me-in-the-britches smack of reality over my selfishness. I didn’t want to get out of bed every 2-3 hours to feed him. I didn’t want to carry him around the house bouncing, bouncing, bouncing so he would stop fighting his nap and sleep. I didn’t want to stay cooped up in my house for a whole month or two. I didn’t want to deal with the blowout diapers. I didn’t want to seclude myself from game night to breast feed. I didn’t want to change my whole life around. I I I I I. Me me me me me. Wow. Andi-SNAP. OUT. OF. IT. Sleep deprivation (and that horrid thing called selfishness) certainly brought out the worst in me.
There I was at a crossroads in my misery. I could either continue being selfish (and miserable) or I could be thankful and in a Christ-like manner serve my child. After all, he needs me. One is extremely easier than the other but causes a lot more heartache. The Lord spoke clearly to me in my moment of decision…”Andi I unselfishly gave my life so we could have a relationship. So my Father, God would be glorified. I want you to give of yourself for your family.”
I knew I needed to pray for an unselfish heart (and continue to need to) because it certainly doesn’t come naturally. Those selfish thoughts seem almost taboo, as they are avoided in conversations about our children. But if we’re real, we’ve all been there. It’s especially hard to come to grips with when you hope to be nothing but elated because of your new bundle of joy. It’s almost as if everyone’s living in Instagram-land where life is perfect and full of smiles. A land where nobody fights the urge to take the last bit of moose tracks, even though you know it would make your husband’s day to get it (my momma always said…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach). A place where your baby does nothing but coo and laugh and tell you how beautiful you are… While feeding you grapes… And fanning you with palm branches…
Let’s be real. This happens way more often than my Instagram lets on…
Back to my crossroads… I could choose misery or delight. I could continue in depression or pray for an unselfish, thankful heart. I could focus on what I was missing out on while being all about me or revel in the beautiful moments I was experiencing with my family.
I cannot do this on my own. The good Lord knows how weak I am. Every single day before my feet hit the ground and Satan has a foothold, I must pray. Christ meets me in my weakness and fills me with strength I could never muster on my own. Some days are harder than others, but I’m striving to take each moment and find something to be thankful for. Each day I want to thank God for another one with my sweet family. I’m praying for an unselfish, thankful heart.
Do you ever experience selfishness like I do? Are there days when you just want to lay in bed and let everybody fend for themselves? Have you felt the internal battle of wanting to be joyful because your baby was just born and extreme heartache because everything is different and you just want to take care of ONLY yourself one more time? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
I love what Paul says in Galatians 5:13-14… It seems so fitting.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
This challenges me daily. I continually have to pray about my attitude and heart when it comes to serving my family. When you have those days, remember you’re not alone and keep in constant conversation with the Lord. He will meet you where you’re at… expect Him to!