18 October 2011

How Standing at the Crib Rail is Like Standing in a Pew

When I stand at the lowered crib rail, I rest my hands on it and it is the same posture I assume at church on Sundays. I don't think this is a coincidence.

Motherhood is hard. It's so rewarding...I love Baby J so much...but this is hard. It's truly a crucible. I'm only 6.5 months into it (at least with Baby J on the outside), and I'm already astounded at the power this child has over me and the ways his presence in my life reveal hidden sins.

Crucible. noun. 1. a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures. 2. Metall. a hollow area at the bottom of a furnace in which the metal collects. 3. a severe, searching test or trial.

I spent an hour last night sitting with Baby while he cried. He wanted to nurse. He was angry-crying because he wanted something I had and wouldn't give it to him. I kept encouraging him that he could do it, that he had his paci and his lovey, that he was cozy and warm...that he was capable of soothing himself and I would stay with him while he did...but oh, it was hard.

Frequently I remind myself that it's about the 'long game:' that I ultimately want him to become a healthy, capable, self-confident, un-co-dependent adult male. This is not about me! It's about Baby! So many times I pray that any particular decision I have to make would be the right one. I don't want to be motivated by the desire to win the battle, to prove that I am right, to show that I am bigger/stronger/smarter/more powerful than this tiny human. That's bullying. I want it to be about him.

But last night...right after I had been praying about some kind of guidance, my husband and I had words (NOT an argument, just words) about the crying (oh, the crying) and my letting Baby cry it out...There's that moment, where you're at a crossroads that seems so intense and important. ("should I let him cry? what if he's really actually hungry? should I pick him up? what should I do?"), and here's came my dear husband to talk and discuss what was going on. (Nothing like 3am and interrupted sleep to help you get to the meat of a debate! Maybe they should have presidential debates at 3am while babies cry for food/love/warmth/coolness/diaper changes/whatever! THAT is an idea!) So my husband comes in and we discuss what to do...I still didn't think I should pick him up and feed him because then my hour's worth of work would all be wasted and I'd lose this battle!

Hm. That was a real sign that something deeper was at work here. Was it really about Baby or about me?

So I gave him some pain meds, because he seems to be uncomfortable with his teething these days as well. About 10 minutes after that, he calmed down and fell asleep.

Then husband and I retired to our bedroom and I leaned over my side of the bed, held my head in my hands, and prayed. I didn't want to kneel (so far down! so close to the flat, comfy floor!) and I didn't want to get in bed (so comfy, not good for praying) but I couldn't stand anymore, so I leant over the bed with my head in my hands: half-comfy, half-standing. I prayed--because I learned in that crucible something about myself:

As much as I want to be about the business of the Lord--discipling His children, caring for this home he's given me--it's still about me. I make it about me. That's idolatry. You know what else? Telling myself it's about my son, working to help him become a strong, Godly adult...that can become an idol as well. It makes me at heart no better than the Toddlers and Tiaras moms I so quickly judge.

May it not be about me, or about Baby, or about my marriage, or anything else--only, ever, always about Christ and his glory. Standing at the crib-rail-pew, this was impressed upon me. May I truly learn it.

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