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My friends placed him into my arms, and I held their tiny miracle, taking in every bit of his precious face, in awe of how perfectly and wonderfully he was made. I tried to remember what it was like when I held my own not-so-tiny-anymore baby six and a half years ago. The memories came back in a blur, but the feeling of being overwhelmed with a new life came back clearer than anything else -- the loneliness of navigating motherhood without family or help, the desperation and inadequacy I felt trying to figure out my baby’s cries, the numbing depression that settled into my gut and came out in hidden tears and fake smiles. Joy was there, interspersed between the hard, but they were more like fireworks bursting and fizzling out instead of a glowing ember.
I fiercely loved my baby, but I had no idea what it meant to mother her. I didn’t have anyone who could show me the way. My mother lived in another country, most of my peers didn’t have children, and the mothers around me were further down the road with kids in elementary school. They would tell me that time flies and to enjoy my baby because they grow up so quickly, but how could I enjoy her when she’d cry and I couldn’t understand what she needed? When it seemed like nothing I did worked? Their words felt irrelevant to me. Instead of giving me hope, they made me feel hopeless.
I wished for someone to come alongside me, someone who had gone down this road before, someone who understood the pain and wonder of new motherhood and to pray with me and for me.
I hold my friends’ baby, and prayers begin to rise in me. As I remember them in the coming days and weeks, I pray for them as someone who’s been there before. Maybe this prayer is for you too:
You understand what it’s like to enter a new world. In Jesus, You Yourself became a baby, helpless and vulnerable, and You navigated this place as human and God in one form. You went from stage to stage in this life, growing and stretching, and somehow, beyond what we can fathom, You became familiar with dying to self, as fully God but also fully man, so we could be made new.
I pray that as they are being shaped in the fires of new parenthood, they would see Jesus walking the way ahead of them, that they would see how each trial reveals their own humanity and how much they need to depend on You. I pray they would have Christ in mind when they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that they are being made more like Him as this season requires them to sacrifice themselves daily -- their sleep, their strength, their routines, their minds, their bodies.
When they’re overwhelmed by their inadequacies, I pray You’d remind them You’re with them in it all. You’re there when they can’t understand what their baby’s cries mean. You’re there with each diaper change, with each feeding. You’re there when no one else sees the tears that are shed, and it seems impossible to keep going. You’re there in the all-consuming love they’ll feel as they watch their baby sleep.
God, You are the ultimate parent, whose perfect love shows us how to love our own children, so teach them how to love like You do, how to parent like You do. Give them Your heart, Your help, Your strength. Give them grace and sanity to make it through another day.
Thank you for the privilege and joy of being parents and for being our perfect Father.
In Christ’s name we pray,
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB