Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear New Parents,

I'm sure by now you're feeling tired and happy, halfway between a fairytale and "ima-bout-to-lose-my-mind-from-sleep-deprivation." Is this how you pictured the newborn days? I personally thought I would float around in a flowing robe while the baby slept beneath blue birds and baby's breath. 
I swear I thought the first few weeks would include classical music and the most precious maternity/paternity leave as we bonded with our new baby. Instead, I got adult diapers, a shocking amount of hair loss, and cracked open a can of formula on day six.
Newborns are wonderful but the weeks and months following their arrival is usually the most exposing time where we see the ugly, selfish nature of our hearts. We snap at our spouse out of exhaustion. We question everything we thought we knew about having a baby. We struggle through disappointment and comparison and postpartum hormones.
Then we quickly slip away from relationships.
I used to think it was the life adjustment of the new baby that makes so many people withdrawal from community and friendships but it's more likely that we withdrawal because parenthood shows us our sin. Whether it's your first or your fifth, having a baby is a raw reminder that we are sinners. So we hide and miss church and avoid our community groups and text rather than call and curl into a corner of lonely comfort. Even the most accommodating invitations and environments are scary when we see our sin. 
God's very first response to the hiding, fearful Adam and Eve was, "Where are you?" The result of sin is always broken relationships. Is parenthood showing you the sin that lurks in your heart? Do you have a long list of reasons why you're justified to not return to community and relationships now that the baby is here? Not even the "perfect" church nursery, church service time, or city group setting will be enough when sin keeps us from relationships. Would you give your friends, the church, and your community the privilege of loving you in this new season?
So I'll gently leave you with this: "Where are you? You belong with us!"


Go vacuum your house. Whether you have one bedroom or four, tile or carpet, hardwood or laminate, vacuum. Study the corners and grout, the baseboard and transition pieces. Let your arms tire as the rhythm bores you; let the small of your back sweat for sign of a job well done.
You don't need a good vacuum, you don't have any excuse for square footage or child underfoot. What you have are arms that move and eyes that see what you have been given, that for which you are given tender care. Life treads here, life grows there, and wear and tear is a blessing and crumbs are signs of provision. If you're lucky, you'll end with fewer Lego pieces.
Most women I know are longing for a thankful heart and searching for ways to be hospitable. Thankfulness stretches like a muscle, back and forth, to practice the art of knowing what one has. Hospitality is using what we have when others have need, careful to remember that the true Portion satisfies beyond our pantry and makes the trending dishes seem like rusted antiques compared to knowing the riches that come from Christ's bounty.
The mark of a wise woman is this: she knows what she has and she knows what she needs. From this root of faithfulness and stewardship will grow a garden, even an orchard, of fruit beyond our wildest imagination. Tend to your chores and you will tend to your heart.