Dear New Mama,
I see you. Rocking that fresh little babe snug in your arms. Those pillowy cheeks begging for every one of your kisses. Tears fill your eyes, bridging the gap between your lack of words to describe the well of newfound love inside of you.
I’m standing just a few years out with another new little one of my own. I don't propose to have all the answers, but if I had the chance to sit down with you, there's something I’d love to tell you. You’re hearing lots of messages right now, but I want to share one that doesn’t make the list of clichés. It's this:
Don’t miss out on sanctification.
Right now, you look at me with pride. The love pulsing through your veins for this child bears a certain strength you think can outweigh any challenge. And it's true that there is nothing like a mother's love, but it will be tested. Stretched and deepened and if you're willing, purified with the fire that is motherhood.
Hard days are upon you. You’ll witness sides of yourself you never knew existed as you wade the waters of keeping another human alive. You'll see times on the clock only college students prefer. You'll give until you think you can give no more, and the tears of your child will sound again.
What you put your trust in will be exposed. Where you look for resources will be uncovered. The idols of your heart for comfort, ease, control, and preference for self will make themselves known. Your weakness will be palpable, and what you do with all of this matters.
Mama, don't resist the Spirit's work of sanctification.
Your vulnerability to temptation intensifies with the pressures of sustaining another life. The ground you walk on will be hot; where will you run? When you break, what will the pieces be made of?
The messages of this world will try to comfort you, but they’re only little once and this too shall pass have no power to deliver you from a hardened heart.
Your ideal circumstances will always hold out on their promises. Your eyes on the other side of this season will make you lifeless in this one. Your hope in anything other than God Himself will put you to shame.
But Mama, the Spirit has been given to you.
At every turn, you’re sowing seeds that will bear fruit in due time. Whether the fruit you reap is rotten or full of goodness depends on the location—the flesh or the Spirit—you choose to sow in this season.
Mama, sow to the Spirit. When you take God at His Word, you'll gain a sure footing while the earth crumbles beneath your crying child. As he wails and screams as if his life depended on it, you'll feel a war underneath your skin. The flesh will ache to join in the chaos, promising relief from the burden of his needs and instead, burdening you more with the aftershock of your sin. The Spirit fights to give you self-control and patience, compelling you to remain steadfast under trial.
The flesh feels a personal attack when sleep or alone time is interrupted. Indulging the flesh produces heavy sighs, bitter smiles, and sarcastic remarks that taint your child's spirit at her early waking. Instead, the Spirit bids you learn to trust that the Lord knows when she lies down and when she wakes. Let Him give you eyes to see your children less and less as an imposition to your will being done and more as an agenda from God Himself to see His will done in your life.
As you lay down your life like never before, you'll be tempted to hold with clenched fists those things that you believe will give you life. The Spirit beckons you to trust that your welfare is in the care of Another, even amidst what feels hard, unfair, or impossible. The flesh wants to be seen and demands praise, acknowledgment, and reward. Sowing to the Spirit chooses the reward in secret that the Father gives and walks in step with God's ways of dying to see life produced.
Closer than the babe on your chest is the Spirit of the living God dwelling inside of you, Mama. Our God has accomplished redemption through Jesus Christ, making the unthinkable possible—making sinners clean by His own blood and fit to contain the Holy Spirit. Resurrection power resides within you, to see that you grow in holiness and in fellowship with Jesus through His Word and through every experience you encounter. He longs to lead you, comfort you, help you, strengthen you, and produce the fruit of life and peace in and through you. The Spirit burns to give you eyes for the unseen, for it's there you'll see that God is at work to humble you so that you may have more of Him.
Let every moment humble you, Mama, because humility is the richest seedbed for all good fruit.
The road before you is long, and they say it gets easier. Maybe it does; I'm still early on the journey. But I do know what you'll desperately want to get easier—access to the throne of grace. Sowing to the flesh makes you sluggish, keeping you distant in your hardness of heart and weightiness of shame. Sowing to the Spirit keeps you light, quick to repent, quick to admit need, fit to run the race that demands an endurance like you've never known before.
Trust me, Mama, surrender to the sanctifying work of the Spirit in this season. I've just begun to reap a harvest, and the taste of His fruit is heavenly.
grace & peace,
*The Spirit has been given to those who've repented of their sins and flung themselves on the mercy of God to deliver them by the grace He's lavished through the perfect life, substitutionary death, and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ.