Wow, first post in a long time! If you read Ben's post you'll find out what kept us so busy: We had a baby! He's the cutest in the world (I'm biased, I know) and we just love him to death. As much as we love him though, the whole process has been really hard; the pregnancy was hard, labor and deliver was full of random surprises that the nurses had "never heard of before", and recovery has been an ongoing nightmare! Maybe I'll start a mommy blog where I share the birth story for anyone who wants to know, it was quite the drama.
And that doesn't even begin to touch the difficulty of being a new mom. As much as I knew it would be hard, no amount of books or advice could have prepared me for how hard it really is. There are days I feel like I need divine help to get through the next 5 minutes, let alone the next growth spurt, wonder week leap, or monthly check up.
At the same time though, I'm surprised at how quickly I've been able to adjust to what I think is "hard", and just when I step up and feel like I've got it under control, it gets harder. Luke changes his sleeping pattern, his eating pattern, or decides that he won't be content unless he's being held while standing up, rocking, and singing to him. There are times that I feel as soon as I get my feet under me, things get harder again. It's not all bad though, because the older he gets, the cuter his smiles and giggles and gurgles and coos are, and they make it all okay in an instant.
But there are also those times when things get harder right when I say "I just can't do it anymore!". Maybe I didn't feel like I had a handle on things at all, but things got harder just the same. This has been my experience with my postpartum recovery (all of which is TMI to post details on here), and unfortunately life doesn't stop when I have problems. Luke doesn't stop needing me for everything just because I'm in physical pain. Ben doesn't stop needing me to be a good wife just because I'm exhausted. The bills don't stop needing to be paid, the house doesn't stop needing to be cleaned, and I don't stop needing sleep. Sometimes it just feels too overwhelming.
At times like that I've found myself asking "Why, when I'm already having a hard time, did God give me more on my plate to deal with?". Sometimes I even go to Him in prayer and say "I just can't do it anymore!" and soon thereafter my load gets just a little heavier.
But I've learned that this is how we grow. This is how we become more like Christ, or more like the person He knows we can be. We are a lot like children, who believe something new is so hard, but as we practice, we adjust to how hard it is until it is no longer a problem for us. That doesn't mean that the problem goes away or that the burden gets lighter, it means we have changed to be stronger than the burden.
I've learned this as I watch Luke learning to do basic things like eat, hold up his head, and roll over. I can tell these things are hard for him and some of them (especially being put on his tummy so he can practice rolling over and lifting his head) he absolutely hates. As he squirms and cries and complains in discomfort, I imagine him thinking "This is so hard! I don't want to do it anymore! It would be so much easier if mommy just held me all the time!" And he's right, it would be easier, but then he would never develop into the baby and then toddler and then young boy and then eventually man that I know he can become.
The tasks that seem so daunting to him now will be easy in the future, but not because gravity has lessened its pull, making lifting his head or rolling over easier; it will become easier because his muscles will get stronger. And just when he figures out rolling over and lifting his head, his job will get harder because then he'll have to learn to start crawling, and then standing, and then walking.
Just because I'm 25 years older than him doesn't mean I'm any different. God sees someone much more capable in me than I currently am and He wants to help that amazing me develop, one burden at a time. The purpose of my burdens isn't to punish me or to make me miserable, they are to make me stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is always my choice to decide how I'm going to react to those burdens: I can complain and whine and I won't gain much strength, or I can turn to God to find out how I should deal with the burden and then embrace what I have to do.
I know that whatever trial or pain you're going through right now, it will make you stronger. Maybe it's a burden that someone else put upon you through unkindness, or maybe it's a burden you have acquired through disobedience to one of God's commandments. Maybe it's a burden that God gave you just because He loves you and wants you to grow. No matter what the burden is, when you go to God and ask for His help, that burden will make you stronger. It will prepare you for the future. It will help you develop into the kind of person God knows you can become.
I want to finish by saying that I absolutely LOVE being a mommy; no matter how hard it is, my baby is worth it. He's teaching me so much, and being his mother is helping me to understand God's purpose for me and feel closer to Christ in ways that I wouldn't feel if I didn't have the experience of being Luke's mommy. I know that when I feel like I just can't do it anymore, it's because God is letting me get stronger, and I will need that strength later! I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to give me hard things that help me to grow.