April 1, 2015

Dear Mama of Littles

Dear Mama of Littles,

Perhaps you've snuck into the bathroom with your phone and they haven't discovered you missing yet. Or maybe you're half-asleep on the couch, celebrating having survived another day of diaper explosions, nursing while cooking and simultaneously wrangling a toddler, or rushing from home to childcare to work to childcare to home again only to discover spit up has been plastered on you since early morning.
Mama, the season you're in is exhausting. And often numbingly routine. I promise that you won't have littles forever, so while you've got them, enjoy them. Those little chubby, dimpled hands holding yours and chunky legs on your lap won't always be so small and adorable or even fit in your lap at all. Though they take all the energy and brain cells and patience you can give (and more), give freely. Those littles are gifts.

Can I tell you something, Mama? In order to pour out your life, you must have life to give. This is why I'm writing you, because when I was Mama to littles, I mothered hard but often only with reward in mind: the end of the day, the occasional morning to sleep in, the dazed stroll around Target, the milestone when the baby finally slept through the night. My hope, I'm saying to you, was in false hopes, temporary hopes, lifeless hopes, hopes that were never guaranteed to give me anything.

I didn't recognize this until one Saturday my husband, seeing how depleted I was, sent me to the bookstore by myself to read. When I got there, I was immediately drawn in by a celebrity magazine--a guilty pleasure--and spent my entire time reading that magazine, and then another and another and another. When I got home, I felt more tired than before I'd left, because I had sought life from something that could not give it. I'd sought help in something that could not give it. This is the greatest temptation for a Mama of littles.

Mama, mothering littles strips and sanctifies. Let it. Let it show you your false hopes. Let it show you that you can only have true hope in things that are sure and steadfast.

This is why I'm writing to you, because I spent too many years as a Mama to littles holding out hope for the next reward, no matter how small it might be or how small the return. I didn't think of God as my only true hope, and because of this, I didn't spend time with Him.

One day while my boys were napping--a day when I actually picked up my Bible instead of napping too--I read Psalm 27:8 where David says, "When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'" Mama, do you see it? In the midst of life, however busy or mundane, David said God called him to His side. And David simply said, "OK." And therein lies a dynamic that, as a Mama to littles, I needed to see.

Because sometimes I woke up before my kids and felt God nudging me. Sometimes, picking up the toys in the living room just after my kids were in bed, I felt God nudging me. Sometimes I'd feel anger and impatience rising and I felt the Holy Spirit's conviction and offer of help. There were moments throughout my day when God nudged me and impressed on my heart: "Come spend time with Me" or "Ask me for help in this moment". Mama, I'd been saying no, I'd been seeking things I thought would refresh me and help me continue mothering but weren't. I'd been putting Him off. I just needed to say yes. Yes to the Helper who offers daily counsel, wisdom, truth, and grace, even and especially in the routines of mothering.

I needed to say yes, Mama, and you do too. Say yes when He's nudging you. Say yes when He calls you to His side. Say yes to Him rather than to the tv and all the lifeless choices that are draining you instead of giving to you. When you say yes to God's nudging, you are saying yes to help, to true hope, to true life, and to letting your Father lead you and take care of you. Isn't that exactly what every Mama to littles is craving?

He wants even now to draw you under His wings, just as you nurture your own littles.

Say yes, Mama.