I love me some sleep, friends. I’m seriously a champion sleeper inner. Or I was. Until August 7, 2011.
My first sunrise as a mama.
Finishing my first shift of middle of the night motherhood.
I can close my eyes and remember that hospital bed, my son in my arms. Gazing down at him after I finished nursing, still so new at it, clumsy yet certain in my task. Cradling him in my arms and staring out the window, lost in my thoughts, in prayer. Breathing deep, drinking in this heavy, important air, sitting in my drafty hospital gown on the brink of this new life.
I remember the slats of the standard hospital issue mini blinds framing the sky’s pastel yellow and orange and pink as it ever so slowly crept into pale blue.
And as each moment crept by, I remember the prayers I whispered in harmony with the million kisses showered on my son and trailing droplets of tears, of joy, of fear, of pain, of worry. The thickness of emotion, the weight of this important moment.
Please let him be a good man
Please, Lord, let him love You
Please let him be happy
Please let him be loved
Please, God, protect him from me and all my imperfections
Please let him be kind
Please let him be funny and sweet
Please let him be him
Thank you for him
Just like this
Thank you for him like this
This perfect, perfect boy
Please just keep him perfect
Don’t let me screw this up
Let him stay perfect
Perfect as he is right now
No blemish, no hurt, no sin, no pain
I’m scared I’ll eff him up
Keep him perfect
But in those first sunrise prayers, that first night of middle of the night motherhood, I wish I had stopped talking. And just listened. I prayed the same prayer for years, but never listened.
We don’t start out perfect. We’re never perfect. Never in this life.
I carried so much weight, such a heavy load, terrified that no matter what I did, I was ruining the perfect baby God gave me.
I didn’t listen to God whisper. “He’s a sinner. You are a sinner raising a sinner.” I didn’t know the freedom in that. The freedom that mother and newborn both need God’s grace to be whole, to be perfect in Christ.
I still worry. I’m still scared. Terrified actually. I still cry out at the end of a hard day of motherhood, Please protect them from me. Don’t let me screw this up. Don’t let me eff them up.
But I try to remember to thank Him for grace. To remember I’m a sinner raising sinners. To ask him first to fill in the gaps and make us all whole in Christ. To give Him that task instead of carrying it on my feeble shoulders.
Never do my children seem more vulnerable and me more inept than in the middle of the night.
Never do I need more reminding of our mutual need for Him than when I’m alone in the dark.
What did you pray over your newborn? Were you ever scared of ruining your child? How does God’s grace and power comfort you and calm those fears?
This post is part of the “31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood” series.