I gave this devotional at the baby shower thrown me for my second daughter Rosalie, who is due July 9th.
I know this isn’t usually done by the mother whom the shower is being thrown for, but I just felt like God wanted me to share. I have such gratitude for all of the ladies from church – and my mom – for holding yet another shower for me. Only our church gives showers for number two or three or twelve! They are a generous group of women and they really speak to my heart with your generosity and celebration of my second daughter. So, first and foremost, I wanted to express my gratefulness and thanks to all of them.
Matthew 10:42 says, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
And they have done much more than give me a cup of cold water – although, in the heat lately, being this large, that’s a wonderful gift indeed!
They are being like Christ to me. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only Son.” This is a way to show godly love. I pray that they reap a reward, as it is promised in 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
And I am not just thankful for baby gifts, but for the prayers and words of advice from all of them as well. Many of them wrote cards with advice on them at my last shower, many of them tell me helpful things on Sundays, and more of them write encouraging wisdom to me on Facebook. This means the most to me.
I am no expert WHATSOEVER – I’ve only been a mom for almost sixteen months – but these are things I’ve gleaned from what God and they have taught me. I felt like I wanted to lead this devotional to show them what I have learned from the Lord and from them.
• Sacrifice: Obviously you know you go into motherhood expecting to sacrifice. We can all figure that our bodies will become something strange for nine months, and labor will be painful. We know we give of ourselves to nurse our children for around a year, and, in the meantime we get no sleep. If we choose to homeschool, we know that’s a huge sacrifice. But I just had no clue how much more God would ask me to sacrifice. I didn’t know I’d have to give up dairy, I didn’t know we’d spend so much money on specialty foods for her and me, and I had no idea I would get sick SO OFTEN! And, like I said, she’s only 15 ½ months old – I have a ton more sacrificing to come. Especially with two children. However, I am aware that many of the ladies at church have even more children than that. I see them sacrificing their time and energy over and over again for them, teaching them (all of the homeschool moms), providing for them, cooking, throwing them parties (My mom!), getting little sleep, spending money on their children and not themselves, and fighting family-wide illness. It doesn’t escape my notice when they do all of this with cheerful, selfless hearts. And so many of them do. I’ve learned that no sacrificing I can ever do will compare with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I don’t have to suffer torture and an excruciating death, as well as my Father turning his back on me because I carry the sins of the world on myself. God has taught me, this year and a half, that nothing I do for my children is as great as what He has done for me. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
• And nothing I do is perfect! I’ve learned that I sin frequently with little “Squeaker” (Rachael), my oldest daughter. And I will with Rosalie, who is due soon. But I’ve learned to confess now. Just because she doesn’t understand a lot of what I say, doesn’t mean I don’t give her a proper apology and tell her I was wrong to get frustrated with her, will she forgive me? By doing this so early, I can get into a good habit of forcing my pride to die! This I’ve learned from my mom, who always kept a pure and clear conscience before us. She was an amazing example of this. No one is too young to be apologized to for sin. Even if Rachael was the one whining and throwing a fit and misbehaving and being selfish, any sin of mine is still sin. By confessing to her starting now, she will grow up seeing a good example like I saw with my parents, that they were serious about sin, as well as a contrite heart. James 5:16a says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
• You can never again sleep in! But what special times those mornings are with Squeaker. And with the Lord together. SO many of the church ladies have been superb examples of mothers who lead their children in devotions, teaching them young how to read the Bible, spend time with the Lord, and pray. So many of their kids already love Jesus, pray with such childlike faith, and know Bible stories by heart. I was inspired to begin singing hymns with Rachael and teaching her the Name of Jesus, and praying with her every night. Their testimony on this has been wonderful. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16b Nothing is more important than her heart – not even her fun little outfits that I can’t resist buying some times, or making sure her hair and accessories look perfect. 😛
• Because it’s not about me. I suffered some post-partum depression after Squeaker (Ginny G. knows!), after finding out I had a hyper-allergic baby who had such bad colic that she would cry for four hours at a time, and with what changes a baby brings to marriage, even though I was trying to put that marriage first. My baby wasn’t exactly enjoyable at that time, and I felt horrible for not “enjoying” her. However, Ginny G. from church taught me, through God’s Word, that I should be enjoying Christ. If my focus was on praising all He had done in my life, then I would not be discouraged and focused on me and my happiness and what I wanted.
Verses that meant the most to me during that time:
“Now I praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all Hs ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” Daniel 4:37
“A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” John 3:27
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:10-13
“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6
Why has he done this?
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” Isaiah 43:4a
• Give them grace. Instead of focusing on works they have done and telling them they are good, Tammy S. and some other women encouraged me to read Elyse Fitzpatrick’s “Give Them Grace,” which I am in the middle of and strongly urge all of you to read if you haven’t. Sharing the gospel, showing your children when they are young that they are sinners, and constantly preaching Jesus’ death and resurrection to them, is something I’ve been able to start in our home already, and want to continue to do so. John 8:31-32, “So Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What a way to not raise a child who thinks she is saved based on her works and church attendance, but does not see herself a sinner in need of repentance! I am so thankful for the teaching and sharing I get at church and amongst the women that help me in planning how to instruct my daughters! I have seen some of their children graduate this year and their mother’s excitement for them (Maybe some worry!) because they know they have a foundation for their faith. That is testament to how God has worked through these women in their kids’
• And lastly, those of you who are not yet mothers, you serve a powerful and mighty God who loves you and lives inside of you and has given you the Holy Spirit to be able to handle something like motherhood some day. And He has given you an amazing group of women at this church! I pray you are able to follow His advice He gives through His Word and all of them some day when it’s your turn. I pray *I* am faithful to do so! I pray that none of us stumble as mothers, but continue to daily, in alertness and holy fear, continue with our armor on in the Word and fellowship with believers so that we don’t start believing lies about ourselves or our children, or become selfish or disobedient parents. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
PLEASE tell me if you see me erring in this way. Keep me accountable. After Rosalie’s birth, I would ask that you follow up and make sure I’m not getting depressed through sleep deprivation and a very active toddler! Keep pointing me to God’s Word. I hope to be worthy of the generosity bestowed on me today. I am so thankful for all I’ve been taught already!