I feel very fortunate to be entering the season of motherhood with many friends and sisters in Christ who are also expecting/new moms. When Matt and I got married, I only had one close friend who was also married, and she lives FAR, so we don’t get to visit and chat and share. Getting married is wonderful, but it is also a huge adjustment, and even though I didn’t really confide in anyone about how I was going crazy, it could have been helpful to have someone around who was adapting to a similar change. Now that I do have more married friends, it is so nice to commiserate about even just the little things.
All this to say that I know I’m blessed to not be hurtling toward motherhood all alone.
And all that is just a preamble to the point I’m really getting at, which is how much there is to learn through parenthood! Saturday I spent time with a mom-friend and we were talking about how spiritual development is not so different from physical development. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul talks about treating his readers as “infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.”
The most recent baby book I’ve read emphasizes the idea of treating newborns as if they need a fourth trimester but were born after only three so they still fit through a pelvis. The point is that human babies are not born ready for the world like so many other mammals and spend the first 3-4 months adjusting to life outside the womb where the sights and sounds are so different, where they are no longer held and nourished 24/7, before they begin to really act like babies, learning to play and interact and what not. My friend heard a church planter from China compare new converts to Christianity to newborn infants who need constant support and sustenance. New believers need to keep hearing the Gospel, this church planter said, not be rushed on to deeper theology or doctrine. There is a lot of adjust to, living for Jesus, and its not fair to expect all things to happen at once.
That concept totally makes sense when you look at a baby, or a toddler, or a preteen, because different levels of development justify different levels of capability. Nobody expects a 5 year old to throw a ball as hard as 10 year old, or for either of those kids to throw as hard as a 25 year old; a 3 year old having a meltdown in a store when she wants a toy is par for the course, but a 40 year old acting the same way is……… not.
It’s interesting for me to think about my own spiritual development in those terms, not as an all-or-nothing, pass/fail scenario, but as a process that I can work with or resist. Even failures can take on a new light because just trying can be a huge milestone.
One of my other mom-friends is expecting her second child, and she texted me this morning that [for many reasons] it was a really rough day but she had to pull it together for her daughter. We live on opposite ends of a big city, so all I could really do was say a prayer asking God to help her do what she has to, but God answered, and it blew me away a little bit with its simplicity: “Just as she is there for her daughter, I am there for her. I am not tired or sick or sore, and I have all the love a mother has plus more, so she (and you, Alyssa) can just ask for what she needs. You’re both my daughters.”