Yes, it’s true. Sometimes a soft bed is not enough. Sometimes my newborn just needs me.
I’ve been pacing, bouncing, rocking and humming, all to try and get my seven-week-old daughter, our third child, settled down in her bassinet for her morning nap. Her tummy is full. Usually, she falls asleep no problem. But today, she just won’t settle. Maybe for five minutes. But then she realizes I’m not there, and the crying begins again. For whatever reason, right now, she needs my warmth and the curve of my body. She needs my presence, and she needs it unreservedly.
That shower I was about to take? Postponed.
That laundry I was about to start? It will have to wait.
The to-do list for the day? Revised.
These few moments to myself with both hands-free? Surrendered to the more pressing need of a tiny body tucked into mine.
And in this moment, I have two choices. I can sit here feeling sorry for myself, fretting over the fact things didn’t go as I had planned, finding reasons to feel trapped, or, I can embrace the need in front of me, accept the reshaping of my day, and even enjoy these extra minutes of snuggling.
Like so much of motherhood’s calling, I have a choice: to resist the demands love places on me, or offer my willing “yes” to love’s transformation.
Almost all of the good that has grown out of my imperfect mothering has come as a result of the times I said “yes.”
Yes to the cries. Yes to changing diapers. Yes to changing plans.
Yes to one more chapter. Yes to one more hug.
Yes to sleepless nights. Yes to slowing down.
Yes to taking time. Yes to making room.
Yes to washing dishes, wiping noses, and walking the extra mile.
And not the begrudging “OK” of getting it over with, but in trying to echo the spirit of another mother – “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Mary’s journey of motherhood began with her willing “yes” and her trusting submission to God’s plan. She is a timeless model for moms everywhere.
I know how often I fall short. How many times have I struggled against God’s plan for me in motherhood, not understanding how it was in the very laying down of my own life that I would find it again, refreshed and renewed?
It is true that my journey will involve some discomfort, and possible some very real pain, as did Mary’s. But there is also a great treasure to be found as I open myself to the life of God. Life has a way of being inconvenient, unpredictable, and all-consuming, especially in the form of young children!
But Mary’s “yes” led to new life beyond what she could have imagined.
And I am learning that God has so much to give me when I offer myself freely for the sake of my children. I am learning that the sooner I embrace the demands of a particular season, the sooner I come to actually love them. The more I give, the more I receive. This is the difficult, beautiful truth.
“Resistance is futile!” So my daughter seems to be telling me this morning. But rest – rest is found in gathering the burden into my arms and close to God’s heart, where it becomes a blessing and a gift. In opening my arms, I find myself embraced.
And so I whisper “yes,” and with it a prayer.
A prayer because I am still learning how to do this, and I am in need of mercy.
A prayer that this “yes” will lead to many others and that love will form me into the shape my children need.
A prayer that I will find my delight each day in what God lays before me.
I whisper “yes” to the warmth of her small self, to the miraculous rise and fall of her breath, to this unexpected hour of intimacy.
Sitting here now, she doesn’t care that I’m still in my pajamas. She has me. She has my “yes.” And that will be enough.
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