Friday, June 30, 2017

Lessons in Motherhood: Trust

There have been many challenges in being a new mom (like trying to find time and energy to write this post) and with those challenges many spiritual lessons. The three main ones are entrusting Justus to the Lord, dying to myself, and embracing this new calling (while at the same time counting my other ambitions as loss).

In this post I want to focus on the first one: entrusting Justus to the Lord. This is one that the Lord has been challenging me with before Justus was even born and was further heightened when he was admitted back into the hospital at two weeks old.

As recounted in an earlier post, Daniel and I lost our first baby to a miscarriage. So, although we were trying not to be ruled by fear, we were apprehensive the first few months of our second pregnancy until we were able to hear Justus's heartbeat. I found myself fighting fear off and on throughout the rest of the pregnancy: when was the last time I felt him move? What if he has a genetic abnormality? Questions like that came and went, but the Lord helped me to commit them to Him and reminded me that He was the one sustaining my baby, not me (although I was the primary means of that sustaining). Then little Justus was born, perfectly healthy. I was reminded of how fretting leads to nothing but emotional turmoil and spiritual doubt.

Two weeks later, we found ourselves back at the hospital with Justus as he had developed an infection in his umbilical cord stump (you can read about that here). Again, I was faced with the decision of whether or not I would entrust this sweet baby to the Lord. I still couldn't sustain him; only the Lord could do that (even though I was still a means of sustaining him). The Lord created Justus and knows him intimately (Psalm 139). But would I trust Him?

I am learning this is the theme of parenthood. There are always things to worry about concerning our children. Justus, for instance, just learned how to roll over onto his tummy and likes to sleep face down. As new parents, we find this terrifying. I hardly slept the first night and checked on him more than I would like to admit. I was gripped by fear (of SIDS) and had to confront that fear with the truth of God's Word if I was ever going to rest (and be sane). So I went to a familiar passage in Philippians 4:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (v. 6-7)
I prayed these words to God and tried to obey them. I thanked God for Justus and told Him that I entrusted him to His care. I recounted my fears and repented of my anxiety. And then, as a practical way of showing that I trusted Him, I did not check on Justus as much as I would have liked. When I wanted to do so, I told God that I trusted Him and knew He was taking care of Justus. And you know what? Those verses came true. God gave me peace, the strength to trust Him, and helped me to sleep (which I very much needed).

This doesn't mean I won't struggle with this anymore; I will. This is a lesson that I will continually learn and grow in, but hopefully I will find things less fearful as time moves on and find God more trustworthy. That, after all, is what it looks like to walk in faith and grow in Jesus: "progess, not perfection" (Pastor Rob, Renaissance Church).

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