A Blessing for New Moms

My son is ten weeks old. We’re rounding out the fourth trimester with our fourth baby, and I’m having all the feelings. I feel honored to be his mother. I feel grateful for another sweet baby to love. When he smiles at me – or as of two days ago, laughs at me – I love him so much I feel my heart cracking open inside my chest. But can I be honest? I also feel overwhelmed and overstimulated and exhausted. Deep-seated, bone-deep exhaustion.

Right now, as I write, I’m embodying all of the new mom cliches. My hair is unwashed. My house looks like someone ransacked it. There are all kinds of mysterious stains on my shirt. I really should drink more water. I really should leave the house, even just to step into the yard. I really should sleep. God, I need to sleep. I haven’t slept more than three consecutive hours in ten weeks.

I’m having all the feelings. Love, connection, overwhelmed, exhaustion. Can I be even more honest?  I’m having all the feelings toward God. Deep gratitude, yes, but in all honesty, a bit of resentment too.

God, you made us to need connection and meaningful relationships. I haven’t seen my friends in weeks. Forget my friends, I haven’t so much as high-fived my husband in days.

God, you’ve given me gifts to serve my church and community, and those are on the back burner right now. Or, are they withering away? I used to be funny. I used to have important things to say.

God, you made us to need rest. You’ve called us to Sabbath. Your word says you give sleep to those you love. So, why is sleep so hard to come by?  It feels like you’re withholding from me.

Before I get too deep into a pity-party, let me share the word the Lord whispered to me the other day. As I was lamenting my messy house, messy hair, messy shirt, sleep-deprived reality, God simply said:

This is a season of pruning.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)

Although it feels like God is withholding, he’s not. He’s pruning.

He’s cutting away my comforts and untangling the parts of me that turn to other places to find purpose or meaning. He’s shearing off false layers of stability, and identity until all that’s left is Jesus. This feels like a painful season. If I had it my way, I’d rather have a shower, a good night’s sleep, and some free time. But if God says this is a season of pruning, then that means an even greater season of fruitfulness is coming.

If you’re a new mom like me, let’s hang together. Let’s pray honestly, and often, even when our prayers sound unfiltered and raw. God is close by, he is constant, even when it feels like our whole world has been upended. This is a blessed season, I promise, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

To that end, let me offer a blessing for us, sweet mama.

Blessed are we, when tiny hands grasp our fingers, when tiny cries fill our homes. Blessed are we in the midnight feedings, and the diaper changes. Blessed are we when we welcome a precious little one into our homes, our lives, and hearts for when we welcome a little child, we welcome the Lord Jesus himself.

Blessed are we, with tired eyes and sore backs. Blessed are we as we bounce, and shush, and pace endless, endless circles, for we are offered endless opportunities to die to self.

Blessed are we, as our identities and bodies change, as our schedules and surroundings change. Blessed are we when the ground under our feet is seemingly shaken, and upended, for we will find ourselves standing on Christ, our firm foundation.

Blessed are the prayers we pray for our babies. Blessed are the words spoken to God in faith and desperation, for they are seeds sown in the Kingdom’s soil. Blessed are the tears we cry, for they water those seeds. With God’s help, they will bear a harvest for generations.

Blessed are we in the pruning. Blessed are we as our familiar comforts are cut away, when we’re left clinging to nothing but Christ, for Christ will always be enough.

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