Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Love and Grace

The clock blinked 2:00am (or maybe 3:00am, those first few nights at home all blended together with late night feedings and little sleep) and the TV let off the only light in the living room. The little man was nestled up against my chest, finally asleep after a feeding and a clean diaper. It was our first night home after several days in the hospital.

I watched his chest rise and fall with each little breath; he slept so peacefully and comfortably in my arms, as if he knew that was where he belonged.  I was amazed by how instantly my heart could fill with love for someone and how quickly the mothering instinct kicked into high gear. I knew that I would do anything for this little boy sleeping in my arms. I also knew that I was terrified, fearing that I had no idea how to be a mom.

This baby who had captured my heart so completely was depending on me and I felt very ill-prepared for the task set before me. What if I fed him too much or not enough? Did I dress him warm enough or to the point that he was he overheated? What if I didn't wake up when he needed me in the middle of the night? Was it okay that I gave him a pacifier or was I already creating a bad habit in him?

There were also the bigger fears of how did I know how to be everything that he needed me to be? What if I wasn't going to be a good enough mom? What if I messed up at times; would I ruin him?

I celebrated my seventh Mother's Day on Sunday, now the mom to two and a little more experienced. Those initial worries of how much to feed, how to dress them, sleeping habits, etc. have become distant memories and I feel more comfortable in my role as mom.  However, the larger fears can still rear their ugly head at times.

As I watch them both grow, my desire is to help them become confident, joy-filled, compassionate people who love and serve the Lord and others. But as my youngest throws a tantrum or my son struggles with bullies, I can find myself worried that I won't know how to do this job correctly.

One of the most important things I'm learning so far though, is how far reaching love and grace can be.  There is no denying that I love these two more than life itself and that love has the power to drive out fear. And when there is love there is also grace. I want my little ones to know that when they do make the inevitable mistakes, there are open arms waiting to tell them to try again and that they are always deeply loved, no matter what.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers
over a multitude of sins."
~1 Peter 4:8

I also need to offer myself grace because I do mess up as a mom sometimes. I lose my patience, don't always feed them the healthy meal, let them stay up too late or don't implement the correct punishment to fit the crime.  And I will continue to make mistakes because I am not perfect and never will be. So I will try again each new morning, attempting to do the best I can and refusing to listen to the fears telling me I am not cut out for this job.