My friend Kristen is expecting her first baby the week of Christmas - a daughter! I'm excited for her for so many reasons. I was asked to share a devotional thought at her baby shower yesterday, which was an honor, and this is what I shared. I think I've linked up to this first part before, which is a post written by Rachel Jankovic on the Desiring God blog... I tried to make it clear where her writing ends, and where the scripture verse and my own thoughts begin.
You are already an awesome mom, and your daughter will be so blessed to be raised by you. You have my prayers and loving support along the way.
Lots of love,
Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)
By Rachel Jankovic, originally posted HERE on July 14, 2011
A Rock-Bottom Job?
It's Not a Hobby
Run to the Cross
The Question Is How
Hands Full of Good Things
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
My own thoughts:
"Kristen - We're all here today to celebrate your daughter that is about to be born, but also to celebrate and encourage you. What you are about to experience is, in my mind, the most incredible thing that will bring you so much more joy and fulfillment than you could have ever imagined it would. There is no comparison. As cliche as it sounds, you will look at your daughter the day she is born (and every day afterwards) and be so filled with love you'll think "My heart is going to explode".
There is a difficult side to motherhood that we don't talk about as much - and like the devotional mentioned, it is the laying down of our own lives. Motherhood is painful. Sometimes shockingly so. Like anything else in life, we have hopes and dreams even before the baby is born for the way things will go, for what they will do and who they will be. Every day that any of us is a mother, we are learning how to lay down our lives. Thankfully, pregnancy prepares us somewhat for this - we give ourselves completely to our baby through our body as it grows in size and changes for the sake of keeping our baby protected and nourished. It's a beautiful, wonderful process but it is also uncomfortable and at times, downright painful. And there's nothing you can do about it. I remember clearly during each of my pregnancies feeling a sense of panic - I could not get comfortable in bed or I could not catch my breath and I suddenly wanted the baby OUT! NOW! The more I fought against the pregnancy in those moments, the worse off I was.
We all have the natural inclination to fight against anything that causes us pain or discomfort. But can I encourage you today to prepare yourself to respond in humble submission? I have found that it is less painful. When I lay my expectations down, my own hopes and dreams and desires, I am able to embrace what I have been given and the way things actually are. It enables me to live in the present with my children - to love and appreciate everything about them as wonderful works of God's own hands.
Your daughter might not look the way you imagined she would look (when Robbie was born the first thing out of my mouth when I saw him was, "He doesn't look like my son! I MEAN, I LOVE HIM!".) She may not have the same abilities and gifts that God gave to you or to Eric, for that matter. God's plan for her life might be unrecognizable to you, and might take a shape that makes you uncomfortable. I would challenge you now to lay everything at His feet, the altar of sacrifice that you will return to often as you raise her.
Becoming a mother is truly the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. It has drawn me closer to the Lord than I thought was possible. Even the most terrifying moments that I have walked through because I am a mom - like putting my firstborn into the hands of a surgeon when he was 3 weeks old, or holding my daughter as she had a seizure and after choking, turned blue and went limp in my arms - these are moments that I know were planned out by God before the creation of the world, intended to draw me closer to himself and make me more like him. In the same way, every day you are about to experience as a mom has been ordained by God and is familiar to Him. Allow that to bring you peace and comfort when things are difficult, painful, or disappointing. And I pray that it always deepens your love for the Lord, your joy in Him, and gives you reason to hope.
We cannot wait to meet your daughter and pray every blessing down on your family!"