“When they’re little, children step on your toes,
but when they grow up, they step on your heart.” (Vivianne Saxe) For the past 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of watching Bethany Joy grow up, marry the son of dear friends, and become pregnant, due very close to the time my daughter-in-law’s baby (Samuel) was due. So, I felt especially privileged to be invited to give a devotional at her baby shower last night. Perhaps the most fun way to recap my thoughts is by sharing some pictures and quotes from this happy occasion. “JOY” comes from putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.
It may sound trite today, but it’s still true. Jesus First…Try to find even 5 minutes a day to read a chapter of Scripture, because that will provide spiritual sustenance, wisdom & balance (Matthew 4:4). Prayer and communion with God are essential for continuing spiritual health, because ultimately “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Others: One of the less obvious challenges is the importance of continuing to meet our husbands’ needs, which is very hard when we’re constantly drained from being overtired and over-handled, but our husbands really need us!
“I never knew I’d lose my wife when our baby came.” Your children: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalm 127:3. Children are an inheritance and a reward to treasure. Lucky thing babies are so cute, because they’re a ton of work!!) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17. Children are good and perfect gifts from God who help us mature.) “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Dr. Wilcox, Maui TED Talk;
he shows through research that this is medically true, not just folklore!) However, don’t forget that “Yourself” is an essential part of the equation too! “Nobody warned me about chronic sleep deprivation!” Sleep and food are critically important to energy and good humor.
“I don’t think I had a hot Thanksgiving dinner for 10 years.”Part of self-care is continuing to enjoy fun times with friends… and continuing to grow in supportive relationships with other mothers. “When you can’t take the next step, stand on the feet of Jesus. He’ll lift your leg and move it forward.” (Laura. Yea for friends who care and share!) “You can pick kids up, but you’ll never be able to put them down again.”
(Vivianne Saxe, reflecting on a mother’s lifelong love & concern for her children.) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”(Proverbs 22:6, according to an old Jewish rabbi, this means that even if the child chooses to be a prodigal, if you’ve trained him well, he’ll never be without the knowledge of right and wrong deep, down in his heart.) Abiding joy in motherhood comes from trusting in God’s goodness and believing “In his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5. If not in this life, then in the dawn of eternity.)
(If you find any picture of yourself among these and feel that it’s embassassingly unflattering, please email me and I’ll take it out! I think you’re all lovely, but I also realize that we tend to be much more critical of our own appearance than that of others! I’ve had a few pictures of me posted on facebook that make me cringe, so just let me know! Thanks. 🙂 )