Maybe I’ve always been this way or maybe this is a trait that motherhood is bringing out in me but I seem to worry a lot these days. At first, I thought it was me being my contemplative self but then I realized that it’s just flat out worry.
Am I loving Laila Grace well? Am I not loving Laila Grace well? How will this thing or that thing impact her in the future? Am I too picky? Should I love her less intensely?
Seriously. The other night I was wondering how or if I can love Laila Grace less. Because, I mean it can’t be healthy. Loving another person this much. So, I asked my level-headed husband. His response, “You can’t love her too much. So you just go ahead and give her all the love you have. Don’t hold back.”
But the problem with this is that I carry a burden of my love. I’m always on high alert for well…everything. This person gives me an uneasy feeling and Laila Grace never smiles at them…what does that mean? When I’m around this person, I find myself complaining much more than normal. What does that mean?
So much thinking. So many things. All of the time. It’s exhausting. Besides the fact the motherhood itself is exhausting. Yep, I said it.
It’s been a burden. I don’t want to worry but I do it so much. I know it’s not beneficial to worry but I do it so much. Which is why I think I convinced myself that I was just being really contemplative. You know, because that’s wayyyyy cooler.
But, you see, God has a way of making things plain for me when I’m too stubborn to listen the first, second or even the third time. I like to rationalize my sin by saying that it’s “just a part of my personality” that I’ve come to deal with and accept but sometimes, it’s just flat out sin that needs to be dealt with.
I received a message from a friend. Like a legitimate Facebook message. I think we actually could be really good friends if we talked more but I don’t stay in contact. She’s a really special person. She has a really big heart. Most missionaries do, though. Anyway, she sent me a message regarding a dream that she had. The basic gist of the dream is that I was trying to “carry” Laila Grace on my own. In my trying to carry the baby all by myself, I almost drop her. Whoa! To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was shocked because I cannot imagine myself dropping my baby girl. I cannot. But I was also shocked because the dream portrayed exactly how I was feeling. Exactly. But I hadn’t told anyone.
I’ve been trying to do this in my own might. I’m not meant to do it that way. I’m not built to do it that way. I realize that now.
When Laila Grace was born I wrote about her being a way for me to learn about grace. “To both accept it and give it freely.” This grace thing ain’t easy! Something freely given to ALL of us by our loving God is really hard to accept. At least for me it is. And it’s super hard to give it.
Case and point, I don’t feel comfortable with hardly anyone taking care of the baby if either Wes or myself aren’t around. (There are two exceptions but I have yet to leave Elle with anyone.) I’m so hardcore about protecting my girl that I quit my dream job so that I could be her sole caretaker! That’s some dedication! I mean because who can do a better job of taking care of Elle than me?!
I came across this blog post from Kelly Needham. You may not have heard of her, but she is the wife of my favorite musician of all time: Jimmy Needham. Kelly wrote a series on biblical womanhood. (I know, gag me.) This topic has been a bone of contention with me and my Christian faith… I’m not gonna lie about that. Up until a few years ago, I thought the Bible was telling women that we needed to be weak and placid. Those are not things that I can identify with and they’re not characteristics that I want to identify with so it was hard for me to wrap my brain around the “perfect” Proverbs 31 woman. Like, I couldn’t stand her. Setting all of those expectations that I couldn’t even begin to attain. Anyway, the last two posts in Kelly’s series dealt with children and their place and role in life.
The point that stuck out most to me was “be God-centered, not kid-centered.” Kelly reveals, “a requirement to be a Christian is to love God so much that your love for even your children looks like hate in comparison.” Whoa. I know. It sounds harsh but the reality is, I somehow placed Laila Grace in an elevated position. Funny thing (or not-so-funny thing) is that before the baby was born, I did the same thing to Wes. I held him up in too high of a position. The position that only God should hold. Since I had her in an elevated position, it caused an imbalance in my life. Hence, the burden. God should come before my family but in being obedient to God and loving God, I will love my husband and my daughter thoroughly.
I can’t love Laila Grace or Wes too much but I need to love God more. It’s interesting that I’m learning about God’s intense love for me through the intensity of love that I have for my baby girl. I don’t think it’s supposed to work this way (I feel like because of my life experiences, God has to work backwards: I think most people learn about how God loves from their parents. It’s easy for other people to think about God, the Father and understand this concept because of their own fathers. This train of thought is complicated for me. I try not to think about God as my father…) but God will use whatever He can to get my attention. In this case, He’s using my girl.
Ever since I became Laila Grace’s mama -like ever since she was in my womb- I have been consumed with this intense love for her. I will do anything to protect her. I will do anything to keep her safe. I will do anything to help her grow. I will say “no” when it’s something that she wants but that she shouldn’t have because I love her her that much. I’ll love her daddy. I’ll say it and I’ll show it. I’ll love God. I’ll say it and I’ll show it. I’ll even make hard decisions that she may not like but it’ll because of love not because of a deficiency of love.
My friend went on to say in the FB message that “God is giving me the grace to relinquish the inner burden that I have been carrying for Laila Grace over to Him…” And I can see that happening. And I can feel it. I can call it grace.
I’m glad that Wes talked some sense into me. I don’t think that I could love Laila Grace less even if I consciously tried but I am coming to love God, Jesus, more and more as my role of mama unfolds before me.