Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Listen




What do you think is the most important thing for a new mom to have? A Target gift card, a Costco life time membership, the super nanny as your personal assistant?

Well that was the question burning in my mind as I brought home my first little bundle of joy.

I had just given up a good career to be a full time mommy, I was a new at this, worried about doing right…by God, by my husband, by my children

I had no family nearby, my husband was working by day, schooling in the evening, and studying late into the night.

I was staying home with a sense of conviction that God had called me to do so, but had no idea how to do it

Did I mention we had very little money, and I had few friends in a similar life stage.

What did I turn to? Well first, I determined to use the best product ever devised for each stage of baby development.  When that didn’t work out, I turned to Books (books on perfect parenting, the right technique for sleep, the perfect way to raise a child in Christ), blogs, groups (Christian groups, secular groups, groups that charged and groups that were free).

All the while, I fell into a state of anxiety, comparing my lot to those with easier ones. Mothers whose skills were far superior to mine, had mother in laws in town, money to hire babysitters, husbands home to help with dishes, themed bedding to match themed baby rooms (we didn’t even have an extra room for baby)…

And in desperation, I began to pray, to have a daily quiet time like my life depended on it, to begging the Lord to help me complete the good work of raising my children that I felt he had called me to do. 

God reminded me of this amazing missionary.  Perhaps you have heard of Mary Slessor?  She was this incredible tiny woman who at 27 and single, moved from Scotland to present day Nigeria and successfully led thousands of Africans to Christ, established churches and schools, rescued orphans, and did it all alone, deep in the interiors of a foreign land.  What was her key ingredient?  Well here it is, pause and see:

She spoke to God as though he existed,
listened for his answer,
and then did exactly as he instructed her.

There is a moment when she needs to build a shelter for herself, and she does not yet speak the local language, and there are no other Europeans to ask to help, so she says to God: “God, I need to you teach me how to build a house” and he did, he told her what kind of whitewash to use and how to combine it with local mud and rock and pretty soon she had a beautiful house that stood for years, home to her and her many adopted children.

…God was showing me how tangibly present he could be, if I would only trust him, lean on him… and him alone…

Isaiah in chapter 40:9-11, addressing the downcast people, says to them
“Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,  and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him.  He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Did you catch that? 

He gently leads those who have young.

His desire is not to abandon you to your own strength, using you few resource to drum up a successful raising of your children.  He doesn’t wait for me to mess up and then grade me.  He isn’t hoping we will worry, fear, and fret our way through motherhood.

He is our shepherd, and we know his voice, and are tended by him.  He gathers us into his arms, he carries us close to his heart, and when we have little lambs, little children under our care, he gently, gently lead us.

So I began to look for God’s voice, to try to recognize it, and to follow his gentle leadership.  I trusted his heart that cares so much about my every little concern.  I prayed over how to cook a meal, an hour before meal time.  I prayed about how to shop, before I left the car in the parking lot.  I prayed for patience when my two colicky children hit hour 5 of non stop crying and I was all alone.  I listened for his voice, I looked for my shepherd, and I found his gentle hand…leading me, guiding me, giving me ideas on what to cook that night, helping me avoid poor purchases at the grocery, teaching me to sing hymns of hope and toil while my children suffered with discomfort.

And he is here for you too. come to him, let him be your counselor,  know his presence in each little moment of your day

I began to rest in God, I began to quietly trust him, not books, not blogs, not perfect parenting techniques, not beautifully made strollers, but him.  And so, it has become my daily mothering experience, and I hope you will find it to be yours as well, that as you cry for help, like it says in Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

5 comments:

Lindsey said...

Love this, MR. What a wonderful reminder to trust God and his calling, and to lean on him instead of others! So thankful for your leadership, friendship and encouragement especially in this area of life. Love you, friend!

Holly Karas said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Melissa said...

I like reading your blog! I'm not a Mom yet, but it is still so helpful in my own life!!! :) Great stuff!

Allie said...

I love this! I loved it the first time you wrote it, and I love it still!

Kara said...

Thank you for this...
Mary Slessor's story in amazing. I read her biography last year and it has a huge impact.