Friday, March 4, 2016

The Fears of My Mama Heart

Lord, make our daughters like Sarah and Rebecca
Like Rachel and like Leah, who built the house of Israel
Lord, make our daughters like Sarah and Rebecca
Like Rachel and like Leah, who built the house of Israel
Oh Lord, we pray

I was listening to the playlist of music I curated for when I'm in labor earlier and this song jumped out at me. (No, I'm not in labor yet. I won't be live-blogging that. I just wanted to listen to good Christian music and that fit the bill.) I first heard this song at Houghton College during a concert by John Waller himself. At the time, the song struck me because I longed to be like these great women of the Bible myself, to be a woman after G-d's own heart, to be someone others could look at and say that I took after Sarah and Rebecca. These days, this song holds a different meaning to me.

My daughter is almost done with the time she'll spend growing inside me. Any time between now and Easter, I could go into labor and she could make her entrance. As uncomfortable as I'm getting and as ready as I am to have my body back to myself, I wonder if I'm ready to step into motherhood in this way. Yes, I'm already her mother but the minute she's in my arms, our dynamic changes. Taking care of her right now is almost a passive action. I don't have to put much thought into feeding her or comforting her. I don't have to change diapers or put her to sleep. Those things just happen on their own right now. But someday soon, she'll be not only her own being but she'll have her own needs on her own schedule and I won't be able to tend them quite as easily. My little girl will make her demands known in a very different way and as the day draws nearer, I wonder if I'm prepared.

Will I be able to distinguish between the signs for "I'm hungry" and "I'm wet"? Will I be able to comfort her and rock her to sleep as easily on the outside as I can now? I already know she's a Daddy's girl. Does that mean I'm doomed to a day of fussing and crying until we get home at night and he can hold her? As her sole source of food for the next several months and main source for the next year, will I be able to handle it? Will I get touched out? Will I have enough milk? Will I recognize whether she has a good latch and be able to correct it if not? Or will I be so overwhelmed that I'll want to give up long before it's best for her?

And once she's older, will I be able to teach her what she needs to know? To set the best example for her? Will my daughter grow to be like Sarah and Rebecca, like Rachel and like Leah? Will she look up to me as a godly woman, a good example? Will she see the influence of these women in my life? Or will she see G-d as a part of my life but not the center? Will she see my flaws, my shortcomings, my ineptitude before she sees my love for the Creator? What will she think is the central part of my life? Will it be my faith? Or my family? Or myself?

My daughter already has her own personality, her own thoughts and ideas and opinions. She already has preferences for what foods she likes (spicy foods and cupcakes seem to be a favorite, chicken not so much). She's not even born yet and she's fully formed. Yes, the events of her life will shape her and mold her. I don't mean to say she's the same person now that she will be even a year from now. But the blueprint is there. As she grows, either the workmanship can be shoddy and can result in crooked walls and crumbling foundation or it can be solid and she can grow into the person G-d intends for her to be. And a good chunk of which way that goes depends on the examples set for her and the ways in which her father and I raise her.

What a huge responsibility! I think the weight of what we've signed up for is starting to sink in as it becomes more and more real that this little one is an independent person and will very soon occupy her own space in this world. I love my daughter and I would do this again in a heartbeat just to have her. I do not regret this pregnancy or the timing of it. I know that this was when she was meant to make her way into our lives and I could not be more overjoyed. That does not mean I'm not allowed to be apprehensive or overwhelmed. My daughter means everything to me and I want to do what's right by her. It's only natural that I would see the monumental size of this task and balk just a bit. To raise her to take after these great women, I feel inadequate. To show her what it means to be a godly woman, to love the L-rd with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and with all your strength is a huge calling. There are so many, many things I want her to learn. I guess I need to start learning some of them myself and pray that she'll see my struggles to be like Hannah and Ruth and Mary, to be the mother she deserves and the woman I know G-d wants me to be, and that she'll realize her mommy may not be perfect. And I may stumble and fall time and time again. But I will always pick myself back up and I will always try again and I will always, through it all, love her and her father and I will strive to put G-d at the center of our home and our lives and my own heart.

L-rd, make me a woman after Your heart. Make me a mother like Hannah. Help me devote my life and my child to Your cause. For this child, I have prayed, G-d, and I turn her life over to You. Guide me in the best ways to raise her and love her and care for her. Give me patience as I await her arrival and as I figure out how to be her mama in a more active way. Grant me humility to ask for help when I need it and just enough sleep to get through my days. G-d, bless my daughter. Let her grow into the woman You have planned for her to be and keep her in Your ways. I ask only that You'd let me witness Your work and I thank You for the privilege of having a part in this miracle. Amen.