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Being a new mother is perhaps the most blessed and the most tiring thing I have ever done in my life. Four times, the season of a new baby has come to our home, each one incredibly wonderful and extraordinary. Each time I find myself praying aloud, "Lord, help me. Teach me how to love this baby well."
While I wrote these prayers during the first four months with Anna Grace, I also drew from experiences with our other babies. Taylor was our first, and we prayed desperate first-baby prayers and tender awe-struck prayers over her. Grayson was next. We gave thanks for his life because of a difficult birth. We prayed for extra stamina when he didn't sleep through the night for fourteen months. And we prayed for his health when he had seizures that scared us senseless. Then came William - wild and wonderful William. We didn't know that our angel baby would turn into an adorable, extra-curious two-year-old who requires constant prayer for protection. As I write these words, I am wondering, What is William doing? The house has been unusually quiet for all of fifteen seconds, and I am worried.
It is a privilege to share my prayers with you. As you pray through your own season of new mothering, may our tender God hold you tight and love you long. If you will cry out to Him, He will be faithful to come and abide. He will be your portion and your strength. He will be your delight and your rest. The child you hold in your arms proves again His great love for you.
Press on, my sister... pray in all things... and kiss that baby for me.
A Mother's Intuition - pgs 144-145
In my pre-baby days, I feared that I possessed no mothering instincts. I never baby-sat as a teenager. Other people's babies held no attraction for me. I even remember keeping my infant nephew for a few days before the birth of our first baby. The practice will do me good, I thought. But oh, the joy I felt when his parents came to take him home. And I wondered if I would be an awful mother. Would I even love my baby?
Thankfully, You knew what You were doing. Intuition and mothering and adoration immediately overwhelmed me when the nurse placed my child in my arms for the first time. Even in the hospital, I could tell when the nurse was bringing my baby, simply by her cry.
Along the way, I sometimes doubt my instincts. Instead, I listen to everyone else's advice or opinion. Yet You repeatedly reaffirm my God-given insight, instinct, and understanding.
This morning, I met a veteran-mother friend for breakfast. When the baby started to fuss, I said, "I just fed her, but I think she might still be hungry." My friend firmly instructed, "Don't give in to her. If you just fed her, she's not hungry."
I hesitated. I waited a few minutes. I tired to distract her. Finally, I did what my heart told me to do. I fed her. She ate like a champ and fell fast asleep. My friend meekly recanted, "Well, you are her mother. I guess you know what she needs."
Thank You for the gift of intuition. Thank You for whispering her needs to me. In the name of Jesus,
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
~ Isaiah 58:11
Our Circle of Friends - pgs 70-71
LORD OF MY HEART,
Thank you for our circle of friends. They stood with us through pregnancy and delivery. They helped us pray this baby safely here. They mourn our loss of sleep with us. They rejoice with us in each new accomplishment. They hold us up. They make the hard days bearable and the good days brighter. We are better parents and better people because we have great friends.
Meals, cards, telephone calls, gifts, and flowers - our friends give so much of themselves. Yet the blessings just keep coming. With our extended family far away, our friends have stepped in and loved us with a "family love". Our neighbor sends us "extra" soup and cookies and produce from the farmer's market. Two sweet women come and sit with the baby while I go in the next room and write. One family came over to keep our children, then extravagantly paid for our date-night. We cherish these gifts of time and treasure.
Lord, let me always possess a grateful heart. Help me recall how awesome it feels to have supper delivered - free. I don't want to forget how wonderful it is to be ordered out of the house with my husband for the night. Let me give to others with the abundance I receive. I am inspired to love lavishly because of the generous love of my friends.
I know that each friend is a gift of Your grace. You hug us through their arms. You love us through their lives. Thank You for loving our family through an incredible circle of friends. In the power of Your love, I pray.
A friend loves at all times.
~ Proverbs 17:17
The Gift - pgs 12-13
OH, WONDERFUL LORD,
Today we brought home our gift. Awesome. Breathtaking. Stunning. Surely, she is the most amazing gift I have ever known. It is love at first sight, and I am consumed with pride. I am totally at peace. Finally, the one I have prayed for has safely arrived and come home.
The whole day has been dreamlike. A tiny new outfit just for the ride home. A proud daddy with a complicated car seat. Video and pictures and good-byes to the nurses. A car full of balloons and flowers and new baby things. Her first breath outside, the first breeze through her hair, her first ride in a mini-van. Our joy in introducing her to the whole family.
Now there is a new life in our home. Someone lies in the cradle, sleeping as if she has always been here. She breaths and squirms like she's done it for years. We find great delight in just watching her sleep. Blankets and cloth diapers now scatter the house. Dirty baby clothes already need washing. This sleeping little bundle has quickly established her place in our home and our hearts.
Thank You, God, for answering our prayers. Thank You for this homecoming. Thank You for the gift of our child. I can look into the eyes of our gift and see my own reflection. I am so humbled. I never could have dreamed what this day would be like. I am a mother; she is my child; and we are home.
I bless You, God. I am happy and full of Your favor. Truly, You are an awesome God. In Jesus' name,
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward.
~ Psalm 127:3