I have blogged and talked about my struggle with Lucia when she was first born. My struggle to transition to three kiddos. My struggle to get out of the fog that enveloped me after I had her. I can always discount those feelings, tell myself that this or that extenuating circumstance is the reason I felt that way. But, really, I think I figured out what the problem is: I don't really like newborns. Like, at all. I don't.
I know a lot of people think they're soft and cuddly and squishy and cute (yes, they are all of those things, I know). BUT --- and this is a huge BUT -- they give me a lot of anxiety. They give me a lot of grief. I don't know what to do with them. I don't know how to function with a creature that I can't predict her next move. I don't know how to go about my day if I'm not able to anticipate anything. I just don't work well like that. I don't.
I work well with a routine. I work well when I tell myself a plan for the day and I [attempt to] execute it. That's just how I tick. It doesn't mean it's a bad or negative thing that I'm that way, I'm just fully realizing it right now.
I'm not a bad mother for wanting some sort of routine. I'm not a better mother than those who fly by the seat of their pants. I'm just different. And I tick differently than you tick. But hey, we're all ticking through life.
Sometimes I envy those who seem to do life so well with spontaneity and have a carefree spirit. But, mostly, I just want to get through the day. So I struggle through the newborn stage and the stages that I find most difficult, and I pray hard and work hard and try to release the anxiety to just get through the dang day in one, whole piece.
I struggle through the newborn stage where they don't sleep or smile at me and I just feel like the hand that keeps on giving to receive nothing in return, I struggle through the 11-18 months stage where they want badly to communicate, but they just can't. I struggle through the 3 year old stage where the battle of wills is strong. I struggle through the 4 year old stage where they're older but not quite old enough. I struggle through these. Not through tears, although, at times, there are plenty of those, but through an attempted spirit of grace and love. Sure, there are smiles through gritted teeth at the grocery store where I literally want to pull my hair out.
But mostly, it's grace that touches my shoulders and envelopes my anxious spirit. It is grace that whispers through the wind to remind me that I'm not alone. It is grace that works through a kind friend who surprises me with a coffee in the middle of a hard, hard day. It is grace that moves through my mother who is there at precisely the time that I need her.
It is grace that moves through you when you thought you were at the end of your rope, but then it just keeps going. It is grace that shows you an endless supply of patience and love. It is grace that holds you sobbing in the corner when the rope actually did seem to end. It's nothing else but grace.
I haven't got much -- I'm not great at many things -- and I am envious of those around me who seem to have it better off than I do. But I've got this: grace. And you've got it, too. It's there. It's here. It's breathing and alive and enveloping you and warming you. It's grace, sister.
I'm thankful for the hard days where I am left raw to feel the fullness of that outpour. It is healing my wounds, healing my heart, cleaning up the pieces that were sick or hardened. I am being made new. And you've got it , too.
So, whatever phase it is that you don't like - maybe it's when they start crawling or when they start walking or when they start talking back or when they start eating solids or whatever phase it is -- it will pass. It will end. The next phase will come, sometimes not soon enough. And that grace that poured on you during those hard and frustrating days, you have plenty of it to pass on to the next friend, to the next phase, to your spouse, to yourself.
It is grace when you hit the wall. It is grace when you mess up. It is grace when you yell at your children. It is grace holding your hand when these things spill out. It's grace holding you together when you're a mess on the floor. It is grace. And you've got it. You've got it, too.
In between tweeting, reading books to my daughters, and [not] burning mac n cheese, I am the Founder + Creative Director of Blessed is She women's ministry + community.