(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)
I was just thinking about those first two letters (here and here) that I wrote to you, Claire, and I wanted to add something.
Yes, those early days were rough and tough and trying. But lest you (or anyone else) gets the idea that I blame you for them, I want to assure you that I do not.
When I was pregnant with you (even before I ever got pregnant with you, in fact), I prayed that having you would sanctify me. I prayed that raising a child would chisel out the hard parts of my heart that would otherwise remain hidden, that it would draw out the rotten parts and bring healing and holiness to the deepest recesses of my soul. I so wanted that that when I drew up my Goals for Motherhood (which you can read about here), I included:
"Let motherhood sanctify me and submit myself to its purification process."
In fact, that was the goal that was at the very tip-top of that list.
And so it must be recognized that God took me up wholly and more than I’d ever anticipated on that prayer. I truly believe that those (these?) hard days are actually from Him. Not as punishment (because I was a difficult baby, too, Claire!), but really, truly as a gift.
I can say that now that I’ve walked through them and finally found some reprieve. I can say that now that life is feeling easier, now that we’ve made it out of that stretch of days-on-end crying bouts.
But I think that’s how life is sometimes. You can’t appreciate the beauty in the hardship until you’ve walked (or trudged or limped) through it and can see the edge of the shore gleaming in the distance. The shore of Hope. Then you look back on all the adversity still fresh in your wake and, only then, can see the silver linings that glimmered and glinted all along.
And so as I look back over those times in the not-so-distant past, I can see God working in them. Teaching me to deny myself and really start to learn what self-sacrifice looks like. To deny man’s supposed knowledge and look to him for wisdom. To let loose my grip on control and better learn to roll with the punches and make the best of them. And how to accomplish an absurd amount of things while nursing.
So I have seen my heart melted—toward you, toward life, toward God. I have seen myself learn to trust God more when life gets hard, to trust that he allowed me these hard times because he knows I can handle them, that I can press and hold on and make it to that distant shore with my faith intact, refined. And he has allowed them because he knows they’re worth it.
And that is what I’m most excited about, Claire. To see where you end up. Where this journey takes you. To see you grow and flourish and become that woman that God created you to be. And that he called me to help usher into this world. I promise you I will do my best. And when that fails, God will—as he already has—fill in the gaps and carry us both through.
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to learn more at her blog, Life Blessons.
Anticipating the Unknown
My First Three Months of Pregnancy