Twins' Day Eve: Entering A "Season of Fasting" (AKA New Motherhood)
- 2013 Oct 24
36 weeks and 6 days
It's officially Twins' Day Eve!
I'm still full of fear and excitement as we await the arrival of our girls tomorrow morning. We've had quite a week over here. All of us have been sick, no one has slept through the night for most of the last 7 days, and it seems like a giant waste. I mean, if I'm going to miss out on sleep for the next several months anyway, let's consolidate all our sleep deprivation for after the twins arrive, right?
Oh well. Well-rested or not, here they come! Two beautiful, perfect little curveballs this life has thrown my way.
I've gathered together all my old friends: diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, sleep sacks, burp cloths, hand sanitizers, air fresheners, swings, bouncy chairs, and, of course, all those tiny little baby clothes.
We learned a few things from round one with Crazy Toddler.
* Daddy needs a tall changing table or he will throw his back out, so we've height tested changing stations for optimum back support.
* Snapping newborn jammies closed in the wee hours while your baby cries is in the cold night air will drive even the most patient person clinically insane. Only zip up sleepers and night gowns for us!
* We're all stocked up on healthy food, comfort food, sweet and salty snacks, and even some vitamins and supplements to fuel our delirium.
Yep. We've been organizing, preparing, purchasing, sorting, all for the arrival of our two little babes as we hunker down for the battlefield of sleep-deprived-newborn-parenting that lay before us.
Along with all these physical preparations, I have a keen awareness this time around of the spiritual strengthening that needs to take place.
We are studying the book of Matthew in BSF this year, and we just finished reading about Jesus' temptation in Matthew 4. I couldn't help but see the connection between His 40 day struggle and the first 40 days of parenting.
The first few days, months, years of motherhood can be very much like Jesus' 40 days in the desert.
Alone, wandering, hungry, thirsty, dirty, tempted to satiate our desires vs. trust and obey.
"The tempter came to Him and said 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'"
Psst. Hey! Weary mama. Listen to your longings. Dwell on them. Idolize them. Aren't you one of God's children? He doesn't want you to go without!
Focus on the day that you will no longer go without your greatest desires. When you will no longer go without sleep, showers, pedicures, stylish clothes, leisurely lunches.
Or better yet! Don't just idolize these things or idolize some future date when you can "have it all" again, but grab them all now! Satiate your personal, physical desires! Turn the "stones" of early motherhood into the "bread" you dream about.
"Jesus answered him, 'It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God.'"
Today is my last day as a mother of one. While my Crazy Toddler is busy at "school," I'm indulging in some of my favorite things. Sipping a latte in a cozy cafe all by myself, a giant pumpkin frozen yogurt, a pedicure with a friend. This relaxing and rejuvenating time will help fuel me in the exhausting days to come.
(This momen of zen provided by Panera...)
I also know I will find fuel in the presence of my children. In their sweet smiles and soft skin. In the tender touch and countless cuddles newborns can bring. In the sweet moments spent with two tiny little girlies.
But I cannot live by this "bread" alone.
I want my motivation in motherhood to be different this time. I want my own "test in the wilderness" of newborn (and toddler) motherhood to be a time when I practice living not just on "bread alone" but more importantly on "every word that comes from God."
This motherhood gig can be a powerful season of fasting and growth, if I let it. A season where my hunger for the creature comforts of life can either consume me or remind me to trust and obey. Where I can train myself to turn to God and strengthen my relationship with Him rather than find solace in a solitary latte.
A powerful spiritual season where I can say:
This mama does not live by....
hot showers OR
iced lattes OR
adult conversations OR
new shoes OR
clean clothes OR
tidy home OR
time for hobbies OR
[fill in the blank]
on every word that comes from God.
Don't get me wrong. We all need an occasional shower, and I love me my large non-fat lattes.
I mean, even Jesus only fasted for 40 days!
Please here me. None of these things are sinful. The desire for them is not from the devil. God knows our physical needs and emotional desires. After Jesus' temptation, He didn't say, "Suck it up!" He sent angels to attend Him. Let me tell you, I have found "angels" attending to me in the slow sipping from a Starbucks cup.
The point is: I don't want to fuel up on these things alone.
I'm tired of my first response in desperate motherhood moments being, "I just need ...." time alone, a hot shower, a pedicure, or something else momentary, temporary. I'm frustrated with how rarely I think, "I need more of the Spirit."
I want to first, and primarily, be fueled for new motherhood with every word that comes from God.
I can't live on frozen yogurt and cute clothes alone. They definitely serve a purpose in my life, and I can't deny they are mood lifting (especially coffee -flavored frozen yogurt with dark chocolate chips and almonds on top, am I right?). But I believe it is actually possible to survive, to parent effectively, even joyfully, without them for a period of time.
As Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, we too are accompanied by the Spirit, into this wilderness of motherhood. We can lean on the same Spirit that empowered Christ, fully human & fully capable of the same sins and desires we struggle with, to trust and obey. To trust the God that led Him into the wilderness and to obey Him during this fast.
I am so thankful for two more wonderful children, for being entrusted with two more of God's miracles. But I also can't rely on my love for my children to be my motivator, to be my source of strength.
I have found that many of us struggle with mothering littles because we rely on the wrong things for the power to persevere. We either live for moments where we can fill up on personal fulfillment (our lattes and Zumba classes and craft nights and book clubs) orwe rely on our love for our children to propel us forward.
The problem is none of these things have any actual power.
My delicious latte is providing me with a temporary caffeine high and emotional comfort, but it can't change my heart and soul. It can't impact my motivations and make me a new creation.
My delicious children may be adorable and wonderful and miraculous. They are blessings, and the greatest gifts I will ever be given. But my love for them, my gratitude is not enough to overcome my frustration at their sin nature, at their basic human need to cry and demand that their needs be met at midnight, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and every hour in between.
The comfort found lattes and the love found in my newborns' eyes won't provide me the power to persevere.
Tomorrow I'll be a baby (babies) mama once again, and my focus in the following days, week and months is to find power and perseverance in the Spirit. The One who hovered over the darkness in the beginning. The One who has made me a New Creation. And perhaps with these brand new babes, I'll emerge a brand new Child of God myself. No longer living by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.
What do you think? Love to hear from you in the comments!