I Am a New Mom
I am a new mom. No, I’m not a first time mom, but I am a new mom.
When I had my first child, I decided she was a low down, manipulative, selfish brat. If you can imagine, at 3 weeks old, she cried when she wanted to eat! The nerve. OK, perhaps I’m being a little dramatic but the truth is, I was way too hard on my first child. She was born during my PG (pre-Grace) days so because I hadn’t yet accepted God’s grace in my life, I had none to give her. I’m thankful she was actually a pretty easy baby overall, and I’m trusting God will keep any bad baby memories far from her recollection.
Besides reading Tim Kimmel’s book, Grace Based Parenting, God has used our church to really shape our understanding of grace. One thing we hear often from the pulpit is that we are more sinful than we ever could imagine or admit to anyone, and God is more gracious than we could ever hope or imagine. This thought reminds me that I am not as awesome, or selfless, or generous as I thought. And the more I learn how inadequate I am, the more I see of God’s holiness. It causes me to fall in love with the Christ who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is the Gospel.
As a parent, I need the Gospel more than ever. I recently had our third child and while the initial transition wasn’t too bad (hello happy hormones!) we hit a wall around the 3rd week. My husband was in the midst of semester finals, and because he works for a large delivery company, he had to be at work earlier and earlier as the Christmas season causes an increase in shipments. I was on single Mom duty more hours than I wanted to count. I found myself spending much of each day saying things like “Stop that!” or “Quit that!” “Don’t scream at your sister.” “Stop telling your brother what to do.”
“NO” seemed to be all I was capable of saying. By the end of the week, I was about ready to pull my hair out when my dear mother volunteered to take the 2 older children for the weekend. Hallelujah. Although I love my children, I knew a break from them was just what I needed. The first morning without them, I spent some time asking God for a way to be more Gospel centered and grace filled with my children. I hated that I had been focusing on their outward behavior all week, while spending no time on their heart, all the while having one ugly heart of my own. I had been reading Philippians in small bits and pieces on my iPod while I fed my baby in the mornings and God reminded me of Phil. 1:27 which says “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . .” God reminded me to simply live my life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. So although I have little to no time to study the Bible or pray, I try and ask God each day for the strength to parent my children in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. When I’m acting out of impatience or when I’m only reacting to their outward behavior, I’m not taking care of their hearts. It’s the worst thing I could do as their mother.
So now I am a new Mom. I’m working hard to be a Gospel-centered Mom. For me that means I preach the Gospel to myself as much as possible. When I pray with my daughter after I discipline her, I also pray for myself because I know I’m prone to disobey too. It means that I have grace with my kids, and grace with myself, because we all need it!
Written by Julie Masson