Winnie turned one year old two weeks ago. (How in the world is that possible?!? Wasn’t I just in the hospital recovering from pushing her out of my vagina?) Just thinking about her first birthday has made me a sentimental, emotional, weepy mess. I’ve spent a good amount of time reflecting on our first year together.
This year, I experienced some of the greatest joys and triumphs of my life. Holding that little baby on my chest for the first time, watching Chris be an incredible dad, and celebrating every milestone reached in Winnie’s life are just a few of those joys and triumphs. Winnie and I have successfully made it a full year of breastfeeding, which is quite a feat. As a family we have navigated a new job for Chris, a cross-country move, and buying our first home. For all of which I am incredibly grateful.
If I’m being real, this year was also the hardest year of my life. The road to postpartum recovery was a difficult one for me. I had infected stitches (not surprising when you have 14 of them…) from my 3rd degree tears. A week after we came home from the hospital I passed out in the shower from passing a blood clot the size of a golf ball. A couple of months later I had my first ever anxiety attack that would be followed by two more this year. I had a UTI that was so bad that it spread to my kidneys and caused kidney stones to form in my left kidney (two of which I have passed – ouchie!).
As hard as all of those health issues were, the hardest part of being a mom has been coming to the realization that I am not enough for Winnie. Let me explain.
Winnie is a depraved, broken, human being who desperately needs the love of Christ. It feels so counter-intuitive to say something like that, but it is the truth. No matter how good of a parent I am, it will never be enough for her.
Try as hard as I might, no amount of discipline, correction, and structure can change her heart. Real, destiny-altering, heart change comes through intimacy with God. I cannot offer her the grace, mercy, and salvation that a relationship with the Father can.
Accepting this truth, presented to me through a parenting devotional by Paul Tripp, was incredibly difficult for me because it ultimately means that I am not in control of Winnie’s life. Her life is in the hands of the One who created her and knows her the most intimately.
But once I accepted this truth I felt an immense sense of relief from a burden I was never meant to carry.
Now, I am not saying that I don’t have to be a good parent to Winnie. Quite the opposite. As parents we are given a huge responsibility to set an example for our children of what it looks like to live in relationship with Christ. Every day we have the chance to reflect God’s grace, mercy, discipline, and kindness to our children. Every day we have to opportunity to cover our children with prayer and surrender their lives back to God.
I am not enough for my child and that is why God sent His only son to die for us. God paid the ultimate price for you, for me, and for our children because none of us could pay that price.
This year has been the hardest of my life but I have never more deeply understood the weight of God’s grace and mercy. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
References: Paul Tripp, Parenting Truth, Bible App, Crossway