Jones’s first week home — the most difficult week of my life to date. I called my high school friend, whose baby was a bit older, and cried on the phone: “This is worse than labor! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do! I’m paralyzed with fear over every decision!” In my newly-post-partum mind, it couldn’t get any worse: every muscle in my body was sore, as if I’d just finished a marathon with absolutely no preparation; there were stitches holding together a tear in an extremely delicate place (and it HURT, let me tell you); baby and I were trying to figure out this breastfeeding thing, which was waaaay more difficult than I’d assumed; I was suffering from a bout of mastitis (think infection with flu-like symptoms); and I was sleep-deprived. Not to mention the crying baby — ohhh, the crying baby! The human being who would depend upon me for life and everything else — and the very present lack of a hospital nursery. Fear overtook me. I looked down the long, stretching road of parenthood and thought, “Why does anyone ever have more than one?”
Those problems have been replaced by a new set, which is the never-ending plight of motherhood. If it’s not teething, it’s sleep habits. If it’s not sleep habits, its separation anxiety. If it’s not separation anxiety, it’s potty-training. If it’s not potty-training, it’s puberty. And so on, and so forth. I read books on motherhood pre-Jones, and thought to myself that remembering “The Big Picture” whilst changing diapers or doing dishes didn’t seem that difficult. I’d write it on a sticky note and post it by the sink. There I would see it, and — viola! — no problems. I’ve come to find that it simply is not that simple. In fact, the times when I walk in fear and frustration far outweigh the brief interludes my life has with “The Big Picture.”
“The Big Picture” — that no book will equip me for marriage and motherhood better than the Bible; that no parenting philosophy comes free from fear or frustration — each has it’s own personalized set, and if you switch philosophies, you merely trade one set of issues for another; that babyhood is perhaps the briefest and most quickly traveled-through period of a child’s life (this includes sleeplessness, frequent feedings, lack of mobility, and (once mobile) mobility); that Jesus Christ died to redeem my soul from death; that the truth of the Gospel is the most important thing I could teach my child; that being united as husband and wife in desires for parenting is extremely important; that fear belongs in my life only as it relates to fearing the LORD; that I cannot be a perfect parent; that my life is not meant to be comfortable and free from suffering; that suffering makes me more like Jesus; that it is good for me to give of myself and to serve sacrificially; that children are always a blessing from God — ALWAYS; that the LORD is more gracious and merciful than I could ever dream up, and He is not angry with my shortcomings as I imagine He is.
Getting glimpses into this picture makes me eager for the day when I will no longer have to fight myself to remember the important stuff.
“Oh! that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face. Clothed then in bloodwashed linen, how I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace. Come, my Lord, no longer tarry! Take my ransomed soul away! Send Thine angels now to carry me to realms of endless day.”