My vision of what my life as a stay-at-home mom would look like does not match my reality.
I had envisioned myself as a mom who would have fun with her toddler while keeping the house clean, feeling put-together, and generally being awesome at this job. While my reality includes many of these aspects, I can safely say my first year of motherhood was something like a train-wreck.
I could not have known how much of a toll the lack of sleep would have on me, physically and mentally. I could not have imagined the overwhelming feeling of responsibility that felt destabilizing for the first six months. I was not prepared to see the “free time” of my days and nights suddenly become non-existent.
I found myself walking on what felt like a completely new path in life. A path where much of my identity had changed, where my daily life was drastically altered and where a good part of my heart now lay outside of me in the form of a tiny, vulnerable new baby.
I had not known true anxiety until I held my little baby boy as he screamed for hours, where it seemed no amount of comfort, care, milk, changing, rocking, burping, singing, praying or crying (on my part) would calm him.
This was my storm.
Jesus was with me in the boat though, and I experienced his comfort when I was at the end of my rope. As the storm raged on, I was forced to respond to the “fear not” and ask myself, “Do I know who He is?” A good friend told me to picture Jesus as the third parent and treat Him as such.
As I would lay my little Desi down to sleep and feel a wave of anxiety begin to sweep over me, I prayed and left Desi in Jesus’ care. He would sit there in the room with Desi and watch over him as he slept so I could sleep too. Allowing Jesus to be our third parent was a tremendous help.
As the months crawled along and my precious little guy grew, my confidence grew with him. My sense of freedom and my old self began to return. I realized it was possible for life to feel manageable again.
By the time Desi was eight months old, I joined a moms Bible study with ladies who were involved with The Navigators in Calgary and some other moms from their church. We all had boys born within six months of each other.
It was the first time since Desi was born that I was able to meaningfully engage in scripture and prayer on a regular basis with others. It was like a drink of cool water. Around this time, Heather Barrett came to visit me as well.
Heather was one of the women who invested in me while I was in Ottawa working with The Navigators. She is one of my closest friends, someone who has come with me to God’s throne when I have needed to receive forgiveness, healing, joy and a greater sense of His love for me. She has walked with me through some of the most important parts of my life and has modelled what it means to be a woman of God and a godly mother. She disciples me.
I started longing to build relationships like the one I have with Heather with people in Calgary too. I have been here for four years now and I’ve developed friendships with people I care about and want to know better on a deeper level.
As the storm was clearing, I began to see what God had for me on the horizon.
Being a stay-at-home mom has its challenges, but it also has some tremendous benefits. Of course, one of the biggest is raising your kid and playing with them all day. But there is also the freedom to meet up with other moms! These social times together are not only enjoyable for me, but also necessary in preserving my sanity. Through these times, God has brought all kinds of new moms into my life. Every week now I look forward to booking “play dates” with these amazing women.
One of these was a young woman who was part of our weekly Bible study. I could see through our time together at the study that she was hearing wonderful things from God. Jesus seemed to really be speaking to her about her worth and how much He loves her. This is a topic near and dear to my heart and I wanted to get to know her and hear more about this journey she was on.
When she said yes to my invitation to begin meeting one-on-one every week, I was beaming with excitement and could not wait to start. We chose to meet on Thursday mornings at 9:00 until our kids’ nap time. Our plan for these times was to read the Bible together, memorize scripture and push each other to become better disciples of Jesus.
Our first few meetings consisted of getting to know each other’s story and then spending some time in scripture and picking a memory verse. This time together was great, but I started to see the challenges of meeting together like this with two needy toddlers at our feet.
My lesson in discipleship as a mom was only beginning.
I tried to look at the situation as optimistically as possible. Weren’t these sweet little boys part of our discipleship journey too? Wasn’t it good they were hearing scripture even if they were stealing toys from each other and hitting each other over the head? None of this brought me any comfort. In fact, I was feeling mostly frustrated by the constant interruptions, having to get up every two minutes to discipline, feed or comfort our little ones. It was hard to keep a train of thought going, let alone a conversation.
This is where I must apologize, especially to any new moms who are reading this and hoping for some sort of an answer at the end. I have no answer. All I know is that it is good for us to continue meeting, even if all we get is a nibble of scripture, a moment of understanding or an interrupted prayer for one another.
I am determined to believe these little moments matter and that Jesus is in the midst of our chaos, enjoying our children and our sloppy parenting. I know He will speak to us in the small moments of peace within the chaos, and slowly we’ll start to see the Kingdom above our small world of sippy cups, milk spills, toy-covered carpets and cuddles. These boys are part of the Kingdom and there is a bigger Kingdom advancing as we continue to meet together.
Soon this time of chaos will grow quieter and more organized… until we have more babies, that is. And on that note, Baby Wahl #2 is due in January! My learning is going to go through another growth curve, possibly another time of “storm,” but I know who I am now.
I am, and always will be, a daughter of the King. I am a much-loved friend of Jesus. He is helping me become less selfish and more like Him through learning to be a mom. Hopefully, I will forge friendships in this season of life that will continue to build the Kingdom and help more moms realize their worth in Jesus and see their calling as a mom as something wonderful and powerful, even in the little messes and struggles of the day-to-day.