Posted by: rhenderson8110 | December 17, 2014

A Mother’s Love

Okay so it’s a little embarrassing that I didn’t even remember my password to get into my blog to write today… but truly I have been busy. Busy with my life’s greatest and most challenging work! The birth of our daughter Olivia Juliette has brought the most complex, wonderful, and surprising emotions and experiences. Today, as I dip my feet back into the blogging waters, I wanted to explore just one. This is the one that is on my heart today. This is the one I believe my Father has been slowly and methodically trying to emblazon on my heart and into my habits.

How do I love someone who is constantly in need? How can I love someone who is ever requiring me to give of my self, my time and my energy? Literally at times it is her or me; her needs are met OR mine are. How do I choose to love when that choice frequently requires another sacrifice on my part? The struggle is real. Vividly real at 3:30AM in a dark bedroom when I’m slumped over on my pillow nursing Olivia again (or is it still?) while my husband sleeps peacefully beside us. Vibrantly real at 2 in the afternoon as I drag myself away from a pile of dishes to pick her up for the fourth time in 45 minutes to gently bounce her back to sleep. Shockingly real when I finally get her to sleep, jump in the shower and then power wash/shampoo/condition in less than 5 minutes because she inevitably wakes up grumpy and starving (or so it would seem) the minute I step foot inside the shower. It’s real. And it’s hard.

So I’m learning about what true love looks like in real life. I came across this definition of biblical love from Voddie Baucham (a great expert on biblical family teaching) a while ago. I wrote it in my bible next to the love chapter. But I need it posted just about everywhere in our house right about now. Biblical love: An act of the will, accompanied by emotion, that leads to action on behalf of it’s object. When I pictured our sweet daughter I thought it would all come pretty naturally. I mean I knew (and rightly so) that she would be beautiful and that I would be over the moon enamored with her. That’s still true. What I didn’t know is how much of a mother’s love is an act of the will. I don’t always feel like loving her or doing what is best for her. It’s a deliberate choice; I will myself to get up and feed her at night. I will myself to change another diaper. I will myself to sing to her and greet her with a smile in the morning even when I didn’t sleep all night. A perfect picture of this agape love is Christ in the garden of Gethsemane just before He was crucified for all of us. He is sweating drops of blood and praying to God the Father, ‘Not My will but Yours be done Father.’ Christ didn’t feel like dying for us; it was an act of the will. And it led to action on behalf of His beloved. At first I felt like a bad mother when I wasn’t bubbling over with warm and fuzzy feelings for my daughter when she needed something else from me. But you know what- it’s okay not to feel love towards each other all the time. It’s often an act of the will first… and then I’ve found that the emotions follow.

So here I am in the midst of a great and vast learning experience. The past 2 1/2 months have felt like one big, deep, straining stretch. I can literally feel myself being stretched thin. I can feel my selfishness being squeezed out of me. I can feel new patience budding inside of me- like a seed bursts it’s way through rich soil. And just like a physical stretch it hurts at first but once you commit to it, sink into it and stay for a while it feels so satisfying and cleansing. And when I find myself being stretched I have found that just like I do when I exercise- it’s best to take a few deep breaths, slow down and sink myself into it. Be right there in the stretch- not wishing it away, not jumping out of it when it gets uncomfortable, not frustrated because of my lack of flexibility. Just be in it- right there and breathe. And the promising part? I’m already growing from it. I can tell because when I start to get upset or frustrated or list all the reasons I need sleep I catch myself. And I will myself to pick her up, close my eyes, rock her gently and pray. I pray for patience. I pray for self control. And I pray for a little more grace to help me get through just one more act of love. And boy is there a reward! Wow do I love Olivia. I mean in ways and on levels I never knew existed! And the awesome thing is that when she does nap for 2 long hours at a time I find myself peering into her swing wishing she would wake up so I can see those beautiful glittery eyes. I can’t wait to enjoy that gummy smile that lights up her whole face and inevitably washes over mine. What an awesome privilege and honor it is to be a mother. We are all called to learn how to love each other. What a blessing it is to be able to learn it from being a Momma!

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