Advice for a new mother

In the hope of offering something worthwhile to the hardest working people on the planet, I’ve concluded the best thing I could do is . . . shut-up and let someone speak who actually knows what they’re talking about.

Another Mother’s Day is behind us and millions of moms across the land find themselves back at the grind. Then again, for some moms (i.e. new, single, and/or military) the grind didn’t abate at all on Mother’s Day–or Sunday as they call it. But I digress.

In the hope of offering something worthwhile to the hardest working people on the planet, I’ve concluded the best thing I could do is . . . shut-up and let someone speak who actually knows what they’re talking about. Therefore, I eagerly give the platform to a squad leader who is already on her way to a highly decorated career. Currently in her fifteenth year of active duty, my wife had this to share with two of her sisters-in-law who have recently been assigned their own commission.

Time is strange.  According to Einstein, the closer a body moves to the speed of light, the slower time moves, which theoretically allows for time travel into the future.  As a mother I have experienced the miraculous way that days (and minutes and hours) seem to last an eternity while the years fly by.  I think that is because as a mom, you are moving near light speed all day, everyday, so time sometimes sssslllllloooooowwwwwssss to a crawl; but because you are moving so fast, you look back and years are gone. I am still in the thick of child rearing but our baby years are over and since I have  some time to think again, here are some things that I have learned along the way.

  1. God’s power has already granted to you everything pertaining to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3).  I cling to His power because as much as I want to live a holy life before my husband and children, it is impossible without this.  The sanctification process that God ushers in through his gift of children requires a desperate and humble dependence upon God’s power-which you already have.  That means in Christ you have the power to be patient, generous with your time, kind, gentle, selfless even when the demands of motherhood seem endless.
  2. The relationship between parent and child mirrors the relationship between you and God.  I am thankful for all of my “mirrors” who have revealed and even magnified so many flaws.  As I continue to teach and train my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so the Lord uses this same teaching in my own life to train me.  Christ-likeness is a goal for everyone, not just the children (II Peter 1:3-11).
  3. Something’s gotta give!  In spite of what you see on…you name it–Pinterest, Facebook , your neighborhood–no one has it all together.  I have found that something always has to give.  So the house is super clean but we are all a tense mess because I have been barking at the kids all day, or the yard is looking spotless but the laundry is piled to the ceiling, or we completed a lot of school work and had a good home cooked meal, but I have no energy for my husband.  Since something has to give, make sure it is something with no spiritual or emotional significance.  A messy space is ok; expect it and learn to accept it. Use your time to build and maintain relationships with the Lord and your family (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
  4. Put down the parenting books.  You have real life references in all of us!  No one corners the market on wisdom in child-rearing.  Find someone who is doing well the thing you need help with  and seek advice from that person.  Your mom is a great example of how to give someone your attention.  It always amazes me when she stops whatever she is doing and turns to face the billion grubby, grabby, begging grandchildren and calmly and cheerfully listens to all of their stories and answers all of their questions. Very instructive.  We are always glad to help however we can (Titus 2:3-5).
  5. PRAY!! PRAY!! PRAY!!  Do not believe the hype that you wont have time to pray. Everyone has time to pray–you must obey and do it.  Pray for your husband, yourself, your children, your church, church leadership, country, country leadership, Christians around the world, the future–then rest in God (James 5:16, Eph 6:18).
  6. Make time and save energy for your husband.  Children need and demand so much of both!!  It can be depressing for a husband (and a marriage) when the focus is too much on the children. Love him. Cherish him. Encourage him.  As you both grow in Christ-likeness, it will be impossible for you to get too far apart (Song of Sol 6:3a).
  7. Learn to love your children.  That seems like a given and with some children it is really very easy.  But with others, and in very difficult times it’s not so simple.  You have to learn to love as Christ loves-knowing our flaws and working to fix them but loving us because we are His image bearers and because He has a covenant with us.  Accept that some children will be like you, easy for you to understand and relate to, some will be very different and more of a challenge to get along with.  Each one is a gift, each one is a mirror, each one is a new soul to train for Christ (John 13:34).

This is not an exhaustive list, of course; just a few of the things that God has taught me along the way.  Remember that while you and your husband are just beginning a new path, you are not alone.  God is with you always and WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU!   -Chris


Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

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