Friday, July 13, 2012

Mommy Lessons

If you have read Gary Smalley and John Trent's book called "The Treasure Tree," or have just heard in general about the "animal" personality types, then you know what it means to be a "Lion." That is me. Or you could call me "Choleric." Or break it down Myers-Briggs style and classify me as ESFJ. I am extroverted and Type A to the max. I take the lead and forge ahead. I'm responsible and full of initiative. I get things done. I take the vision of others and put feet to it. I am incredibly practical and have often run over the feelings of others to accomplish goals. There's another side to my personality as well, and that is the social "Otter" or "Sanguine" side, but this is not about that. God did a lot of smoothing out on that side of me predominantly before I was married.

 But this is definitely half of me. I'm all there, always there, and efficiently there. I used to think about those sensitive types, "Why don't they just get over it?" (For real, I did.) I mean, moodiness was illogical and useless. Efficiency and practicality, not mercy and beauty, mattered most.

 But once upon a time, or several (maybe several hundred) times, I asked God to make me like Jesus, no matter what it took, which is a silly prayer unless you don't mind being effectively broken all to pieces and then gently recreated.

 And so, the Lord decided to make me a mother. Being who I am, I "knew" that I would be a good mom. I'm the person who you can always count on to get everything done, right? I was going to be an awesome mom. A better-than-soccer mom. But I didn't count on pregnancy making me so sick. Or taking so long to recover from delivery. Or not being able to discern why my baby was crying. Or a baby whose gassy tummy made him inconsolable. Or God laying a new business in my lap 6 weeks before my son was born. Or postpartum hormones attacking my body like a cloud of doom. None of that was supposed to happen. But God planned it just perfectly.

 Lying on my back for the first 6 months of pregnancy taught me very effectively that my identity is NOT in what I accomplish, and that God doesn't expect mile-long to-do lists accomplished, but rather simple obedience to what he calls you to do, even if that means lying in bed.

 Taking so long to recover from delivery taught me to slow down and enjoy my little man from the very beginning. I had time to just sit or lie with him and couldn't rush to do the dishes because my body couldn't do it. It reminded me to savor every moment and not wish for the next stage as I had spent so much of my life doing.

 Not understanding Charles's cries taught me to stop stressing about fixing him and worrying about making him happy. If we weren't on schedule in my time frame, why did it matter? I learned to let go of my agenda and love my baby with mercy, meeting his needs rather than trying to plaster a schedule onto them.

 Dealing with his gassiness taught me patience. The first time I got angry with him really hurt my husband and it sunk in how sinful and selfish it was to want my sleep or my quiet evenings over consoling my poor baby. I started letting go of agitation and acceptance began slipping into its place.

 Working my business has taught me service like almost nothing on earth ever has. I'm serving my husband and my son while building this business. I'm serving others by introducing them to this amazing company and the benefits it has to offer. If my mindset changes from service to business I worry and fear and become overwhelmed. But when I trust, and humble myself before the Lord, He shows me exactly which steps to take and he blesses each act of obedience. And instead of accomplishing the maximum work possible, I'm making the small amount of work I'm doing an act of worship and obedience.

 And suffering from postpartum depression has taught me dependence. God's truth is the only thing holding me up most days. And in order to do anything of worth, I must ask him for his direction and follow where he leads. He leads me through. This is one Lion who is becoming more like Jesus, just by becoming a mom. Who knew?

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