I cried the whole way home from the hospital.
Initially, my husband thought it was because of that horrendous cesarean. But no, I was crying because our son’s clothes were ridiculously big. I had chosen the wrong coming-home outfit.
With the help of a nurse, we placed our newborn into his brand-new car seat.
“This isn’t going to work. Do you have a different outfit for him to wear? I can’t fasten the buckle between his legs because of this gown.”
The snuggly pajamas were humongous on his newborn body. The sleeves and legs had to be rolled up several times to compensate for the extra length.
He couldn’t wear the delicate white gown with his initials monogrammed in soft blue. My heart was broken. The newborn gown is what new mama dreams are made of, not that goofy yellow number made for a Kindergartner.
We hadn’t even left the hospital and I had already failed at being the mom I had hoped I would be.
It all started with that unplanned C-section. From there it was a downward spiral of struggling to breastfeed, changing his diaper incorrectly after the circumcision, and wrapping him so tightly in so many blankets that the nurses insisted he go back to the nursery to regulate his body temperature.
Surprisingly, the nurses actually let us leave the hospital with our baby.
Amazingly, the Lord blessed us with two more babies in the following years.
So I struggled. I failed time and time again. I made more mistakes than I care to admit. I was inexperienced and obviously unqualified.
Motherhood proved to be overwhelming.
I did what any good Christian mama would do. I prayed hard and tried harder. What I didn’t know was that there’s more to motherhood than trying harder.
God was graciously waiting for me to acknowledge motherhood as my calling, my ministry. I assumed that God was only interested in helping people become preachers, missionaries, and the like. You know, super spiritual things. I didn’t think He wanted to help me become a better mom. I sure didn’t consider motherhood to be a holy office ordained by God.
But it is.
I had heard it before. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Not in a million years would I ever dream this would apply to motherhood. Well, it does. God calls unqualified women to be mothers every day. The secret to becoming a successful unqualified mom is to let the Lord do all the heavy lifting. This is His ministry, after all.
Yes, it may be our first inclination to try harder. But this is operating from our own strength. There is nothing spiritual about functioning in our own strength.
Super spiritual things happen when we quit trying to be the perfect mother and allow God to intervene on our behalf.
He softens our shortcomings and fills in the gaps. Mommy mistakes and mishaps are not quite as problematic when God’s grace is applied. Our inadequacies and failures are no longer highlighted when we’re looking at Him instead of ourselves. Our priorities shift and align with His priorities. The load is lightened.
There is more to motherhood than getting it all right and knowing all the answers. If we haven’t allowed the Lord to be our ultimate guide in the midst of this ministry, then we’ve gotten it all wrong. Thankfully, that’s a mistake mamas can avoid.