advent day 20: collaborating with the Father [guest post]
Today I'm sharing a post written by a sweet friend of mine, Kirsten Nickisch. Kirsten is a musician, a discipler, a writer, an auntie, new mama, and wife. She and her husband, David, are site coordinators at the Great Commission Bible Institute. I asked Kirsten a few weeks ago if she would consider contributing an advent blog, on the idea of experiencing God as a new mother. If God's given you this kind of gift (a child), you know that much of your walk with Him is edified and changed in crazy, delightful ways as you learn to parent. I knew Kirsten would have some powerful reflections on this new season of life and I'm excited to share with you her thoughts on this beautiful "collaboration"!
New things excite me now. I slept until 5:45 last night... My daughter burps like a champ after she eats... I now cherish the ceiling fan, as it is her greatest form of entertainment that allows me to get things done (like go to the bathroom and maybe even brush my teeth...ambitious, I know). Because of these things it is tempting to dub my child an “easy baby”. But I have come to the conclusion that there are no easy babies when you are just becoming a mom! Yes, I am a first time mom and the adjustments are many; adjustments to how life now is and how life now is not. There is a whole new world of skills to learn, techniques to hone, and a tiny little HUMAN to figure out what they need, when, and how. And not to mention The Hormones who were apparently the culprit for why I cried daily for a couple weeks without much prompting after giving birth.
And I’m realizing many of the adjustments are necessary because of my own expectations. I guess there was a way I thought being a mom was instantly going to feel. And like most things in life, the reality of it is so different than the theory of it. I had heard people talk about their “baby-moon” where you just bask in bliss 24/7 with your squishy little newborn, or they talk about that moment when you hold your child for the first time and everything just glows and you instantly become capable of divine love. You know... THAT moment. And while there are MANY moments of bliss and captivating love, I was caught off guard by the amount of moments of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated; moments where I found myself wondering where that picture perfect baby bliss was and why didn’t anyone tell me about THIS moment. And I think this is true no matter how “easy” your baby is.
I was a mother the moment I held that baby in my arms, but I think it has taken a little while to begin to feel like a mother. I am settling into this new role with each diaper I change, with each hour I spend feeding my daughter, and each nuzzle on her fuzzy little cheeks. The more I nurture her, the more nurturing I become. The reality of the situation is starting to settle into my spirit. I am a mom. This is real; harder than anything I imagined, but better and worth it in every way.
As I walk through this adjustment I am realizing that God’s greatest gifts aren’t just dropped in our laps. They are not picture perfect. They are messy collaborations (if you have experienced childbirth, then messy isn’t a hard concept to fathom). God plants a seed and there is much work to till and water and weed in order to receive the fullness of what He intends for us. There is no process that better portrays that than motherhood. Part of the gift is what is born in the heart of a mother... a deeper understanding of God’s self-giving love, a love that seeks the good of another without any expectation. The daily pouring out, the moments of desperation right along with the moments of bliss, are the gift of God as we are filled with His story that is better than our own we would tell.
This idea of collaboration has always been one of my favorite things about the Christmas story. God could have chosen to reveal Himself in any number of ways that would have shown the world His majesty and power. And yet He chose to plant a seed, to become an unborn child that needed it’s mother’s womb to grow. He chose to collaborate with a humble girl willing to let her life be used for His story. That is still the way that He works, searching for hearts that would let His story be told through them. He could accomplish it all on His own and show the world who He is in one glorious moment, but He is a story teller obsessed with developing characters that reflect His heart. He is a farmer who patiently allows the seed to pass through each necessary season before any sign of life is seen, or any fruit is ready to be enjoyed. He is the God who confined Himself to human skin in order to enter the mess and collaborate with us in order to accomplish redemption.
So in this season of adjustment, where everything is tender and new, I am endeavoring to cherish the moments I have, the desperate AND the blissful, for they are both God’s gift to me. They are His invitations to a deeper walk and a role in His story.