As any mom—and I’d even wager any babysitter—knows, taking care of a baby isn’t for the faint of heart. It is rough and tough business that hit me like a ton of bricks when I had my first baby. I had no idea a person as small as she could sleep so little and still manage to cry as much as she did. At times, I even joined in with my daughter in her crying spells when nothing else was working.
Those early weeks were nothing less than brutal, leaving me weak, weary and brittle, on edge of breaking.
When my daughter was two-months-old, our church threw a baby shower for the latest round of new or soon-to-be-expecting moms in the congregation. I was among them and toward the end of the luncheon, each of us were supposed to share how our journey was going, whether it was pregnancy or parenthood, and some prayer requests.
Early on, I’d committed myself to try not to complain about my daughter. I wanted to be honest about how hard things were going but I didn’t want to whine about it or make her out to be a foe. So when it came to my turn, I started off positively enough and asked for prayer for me to submit myself to this process of parenthood and learning self-sacrifice, which is what I felt the Lord was urging from me at the time.
And as I asked for that simple prayer, I couldn’t help it but the tears came. They came, they poured. Even though I’d spent plenty of time crying on my own at home, I hadn’t cried in public before. So when the chance came, the tears flowed and I couldn’t stop them until I shared the truth.
With them streaming down my cheeks, I couldn’t deny how very hard things were as a new mom. Raw with honesty, I shared through those tears how hard it was being a new mom. And through those tears, I began to see God work.
When I was done, other moms in the room came up to me, tears in their own eyes and told me they knew exactly how I felt. Other women who were pregnant with their first told me that they appreciated my honesty because it provided them a much-needed reality check that things might not be all as the commercials portray with a newborn.
But the biggest blessing that came from those tears became evident when I went home. Because once I admitted my hardship in the midst of so many other women and asked, so sincerely, so desperately for prayers, things actually started getting better: My daughter started to fight her sleep less, even going to sleep on her own. She began crying less. It was nothing short of a miracle.
It’s something I’ve seen over and over again in my life: God’s grace flourishes in our vulnerability. When I’m willing to let my guard down and admit my weakness, admit my need, admit my struggles before my fellow man, it is then that I oftentimes see God at work the most. Like James 5:16 says, I think there’s power in confession, whether it’s confessing your sins like that verse says or even confessing the truth about our circumstances and our needs, like I did that afternoon in the chapel of our church when I let the tears fall before a couple dozen women.
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." John 12:24
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twenty-something woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."