Adjusting to Life with a Newborn…Again

I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in three months.  I know that it is going to be any night now, yet every early morning I am awakened by her sweet snuffles and cries for milk.  I feel like I am on the brink of total exhaustion and my brain is mush.  I haven’t written much lately because I am not sure whether I can put coherent thoughts together.

I have done this before, eight times!  You would think that I would have it down.  Yet somehow it is all new, with this new little, bitty, pretty one.

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I don’t know much for sure, except that there is nothing like motherhood to reveal your weaknesses.  Motherhood is able to bring even the most confident woman to the realization that she knows almost nothing at all.  But what a gift that revelation is!

To meet this new person that I have felt wiggling inside of me is pure magic!


Her skin is soft as silk.



Her eyes are big blueberries.

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Her lashes are so long and curly, just like a little girl’s lashes should be.


She sleeps a bit more than the boys did, and her cry is softer.  She begins to smile and I see that she has dimples around her mouth like I do, and a big dimple in her cheek like Daddy does.

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She seems very peaceful, thank you Jesus!  But the next week she is awake for hours at a time and doesn’t seem to want to sleep, oh no!  By the next week she has settled into a predictable three hour feeding pattern.  But the next week after that is totally different!  Finally I think I have her figured out; she will sleep until 5am and pretty soon be sleeping the entire night!  Yes!! I can get my life back!  I can regain my energy, plan my day, exercise, and fit back into my normal clothes again.

But then I find myself sitting in the chair again at 3am, nursing the little bundle in the dark.  I am so tired.  My eyelids are heavy.  So…hard…to…stay…awake.  My head sinks to my chest.  WAIT!  My head snaps back up.  My eyes are open.  I must…stay…awake!  I have fallen asleep in this chair night after night and now my neck has a kink in it and my back is sore.  I must feed her quickly and get back into bed!  I must be strong!

Little Bitty One is totally unaware of my concern.  She nurses lazily and takes almost an hour.  I hear the very first bird song at 3:45am.  Why are those crazy birds awake so early?  The sun won’t be up for hours.  How I wish I didn’t know when the first bird starts singing.  How I wish I was sound asleep, blissfully unaware of the secret life of birds!

I guess I could be enjoying this quiet time when no one else is awake.  I suppose I could spend this time praying.  Alright God, here goes.  God, please help me to not fall asleep in this chair.  Please, please, please let Annalise sleep through the night tomorrow night!  I feel like I can’t do this one more night!  Please, please, please let her get into a predictable schedule.  Then I can start getting up before the rest of the children.  I can start to have a quiet time each morning. Then I can start to pursue you more, God.

Suddenly it hits me.  God’s grace is for me RIGHT NOW!  Not at some point in the future, but right now.  It is always RIGHT NOW.

Joseph Garlington shared this definition of grace – “God’s enabling presence that empowers us to accomplish our created purpose.”  God’s presence is with me right now, in the middle of the night.  His voice is whispering words of love and truth right now to my sleepy brain.  He is wooing my worried heart.  If I spend every moment thanking Him instead of wishing for something else, I can bring His presence closer.  I can cultivate my awareness of Him and accept His power to do what He wants me to do…RIGHT NOW.

And what could possibly be a better time?  His power is perfected in weakness, and I am so weak.  He says that His grace is sufficient for me in times like these.  Not just enough to survive.  No, this is an overflowing, abundant grace that is more than enough for me…RIGHT NOW!

Nursing this baby 6 to 8 times a day for an hour each time means I can’t accomplish very much.  Trying to figure out how to do my normal grocery shopping and errands and therapy appointments each week in the two hours between each feeding makes my brain hurt.  Thinking about having to give up my afternoon nap just to get important things done sends me into a panic!  No, I don’t have much time to check off items on my to-do list.  But I do have plenty of time to sit and nurse, admire my Pretty One and snuggle.


Time to pray and read and think.

As I think back over my life, I can see some things very clearly.  I see that most things I have attempted to accomplish I have done because I felt like I SHOULD.   Because I would feel guilty if I didn’t.  Because I wouldn’t be as good of a mother as someone else.  I did those things out of my own strength, my own ability, my own effort.  And I failed at most of them.

I think about Solomon’s words in Ecc 3:14, “Everything God does will endure forever.  Nothing can be added to it and nothing taken away from it.”

I think about Jesus’ words in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  Nothing of eternal significance that will endure that is.  I have done a lot of things!  I have spent a lot of energy and time and have gotten grumpy and stressed out to do a lot of things.  But those things WILL NOT ENDURE.

Now that I am in a position where I feel like I can’t get anything done, it dawns on me.  That is the point!  That is what God is trying to teach me…RIGHT NOW!  His grace is sufficient and when I rest in Him, He is accomplishing things through me that are significant beyond my imagination.  Like growing this little girl, one feeding at a time.

Someday my life might get easier.  Someday I might have it down and be able to coast effortlessly through the day.  Maybe.  So I must make the most of this season…this wonderful and difficult season.  Because this season of weakness is how God is showing me His amazing grace.



I Grow People. What’s Your Superpower?


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When I am pregnant, I tend to feel useless. It is when I feel the most discouraged about what I can’t do and what I am not accomplishing.  Not feeling as well as usual, needing extra sleep, and facing physical limitations hinder my ability to do the things I think I should do.

My house isn’t very clean.

My boys grow shaggy manes of hair before I get around to giving haircuts.

I haven’t visited my neighbor since Christmas.  She has trouble getting out of the house, and I look across the street and pray for her and wish I had the time and energy to walk over there and chat.

I am not very involved at church.  It has been months since I’ve been to a prayer meeting.

I haven’t made a meal for a new mom in so long I can’t remember.  Has it been years?

I haven’t fed the homeless.

I haven’t been on a mission trip.  I haven’t shown my children the wonders and sorrows of a world beyond our borders.

I haven’t baked cupcakes for my children’s classes at school…ever.

I am not close to writing my first book.

I don’t take walks nor do Pilates.

What I have been doing is a lot of is eating and sleeping.  Just recently I was considering how my present life would stack up in the light of eternity.  All I could think about was what I hadn’t done –preached or healed or preformed miracles.

A friend at church was confiding in me how discouraged she had been lately.  Partly in an effort to make her feel better and show her that she wasn’t alone in this sentiment, I shared my thoughts on my lack of important, spiritual works.  Despite her own state of disappointment, she opened her mouth and out poured a beautiful stream of words from the Holy Spirit.  I say that it was the Holy Spirit because it hit me right in the heart, convicted me, and lifted me up out of my doldrums all at the same time.  She spoke so quickly and so beautifully that I couldn’t remember it all, but here is an awkward paraphrase.

“I am discouraged about what ministry we can’t do right now…but then I realize that I AM doing it RIGHT NOW, pouring into my family.  What else is there?  You bring life wherever you go…and THANK YOU! I wouldn’t have 5 children right now if it wasn’t for that conversation I had with you when you said that you didn’t want to miss anything; you wanted everything God had for you.  That is a powerful message of life.  You walk into a room and you bring double life without even doing anything.  You keep going and keep carrying new life even though it is hard and you’ve had struggles.  You live a message of life and that is so counter cultural and I LOVE IT!”

I was immediately convicted for despising the importance of where God has me right now – carrying new life!  I grow people!

Girl people and boy people.

Light haired people and brunette people.

Even red-haired people!

Blue eyed people and brown-eyed people.

People who are talented artists and people who are good at math.

People with undetermined potential and people with childlike faith!

Growing people is so amazing and miraculous, it is like a superpower!  It is hard work growing people.  It takes a lot of eating and a lot of sleeping.

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It takes giving up exclusive rights to my own body.  And it takes giving up many, many tasks.  It turns out that no task can be as important as a person.   God gives me all the time and energy for everything He wants me to do.  The things that I don’t have the time or energy for just don’t matter right now.

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I am just a mom who loves babies.  I am just a woman  whose heart’s cry to God is, “I want to accept every child you have for me!  I don’t want to turn a single one away!”

And my friend was telling me that I had changed her life!  She was telling me that I bring life every place I go, just by being me!

Perhaps growing people is not your superpower right now.  Perhaps your superpower is something more like:

Baking a beautiful cake

Smiling your lovely smile

Adopting the child that no one else loves

Writing encouraging notes

Taking care of the sick or dying

Shoveling sidewalks

Running a business

If you don’t think you have a superpower, think again.  God gives superpowers to everyone!  Just ask Him what yours is, and He will show you.  Most likely it is something that just comes naturally to you.  You don’t think much about it, but in a life given over to God, your superpower is changing atmospheres.  Use that superpower to love Him and love people, and there is no limit to the impact it could have.  Keep throwing out your little seeds.  Don’t worry about the condition of the soil it may find or the rain that may or may not come.  It is God who will make it grow!  It is God who takes the smallest of seeds and grows a huge Sequoia tree.

I look at all of my eight children; my toddler, my young ones, my pre-teens, and my teens.   I can’t believe that I grew all of them!  I feel my unborn baby kicking and flipping and I am in awe!  I can’t believe God has given me another person to grow!  It feels like a miracle!

So for now I am going to be eating A LOT and sleeping A LOT for the kingdom of God, because there is nothing more important I can do.  You keep practicing your superpower, and together we will change the world!