This week my third maternity leave comes to an end. In this last week, I have spent more time than usual just staring at my baby, holding my baby, keeping my baby from the arms of others.
For the first few weeks, it was all about me and her. I was healing, she was learning how to live, I was learning how to nurse for the first time. It was a whole universe in which she and I were the sole occupants. Others circled us, making sure we were fed, and rested, and the other children were alive, but mostly it was just us.
Then I got used to my body, she got used to the world, and we settled into a rhythm. I started to get things done. Laundry was put away, sometimes. cookies were made with the boys. Little dress patterns were worked up, and little dresses made. And all of a sudden here we are at the end of my leave.
On Monday afternoon, she fell asleep in my arms and I sat just looking at her. Her skin, her eyelashes, the grooves of her head. Not too long after she closed her eyes, I fell asleep too, but before I did I felt a word from God about my love for my newborn.
While watching her I was pondering how nothing was getting done, and that I didn’t care. We weren’t being productive, I was just loving her and she was letting me. We weren’t accomplishing anything, I was just watching her and she was being watched. We weren’t learning new things together anymore, taking new steps, I was simply absorbing the wonder of her, and she was letting me.
It struck me that in all my Christian machinations, organizing events, leading Bible Studies, desiring to write on this blog even, all God wanted to do was love me.
I take pride in not over-reaching, I have learnt the art of saying no and saying the good yeses. Yet everyone has their spiritual checklists…
In that moment with my baby in my arms, I understood that I am loved as a newborn baby. That if all I were to do were to lie sleeping in His arms, it would be enough. The joy and love I felt for my newborn, were but a shadow of the love He feels for me.
I reflected back to a time six years ago, after the birth of my first son. My spiritual walk changed when I became a mother, not because I became a mother, not because I now had kids, but because I had a different understanding of time and how my time was going to be occupied, where my time was going. One afternoon, with a fussy four week old boy asleep on my bed, I felt that urge. To shower, to eat, to do laundry, to read my Bible, what to do with this time. And the Lord whispered to me, “You need rest” So I invited Him to be with me as I slept, to bless my weary body, and be with me as I napped. That nap is a core memory for me in my walk with Jesus. The moment I realized that he would meet me right where I was, exactly where I was, even if where I was wasn’t where I would normally meet Him.
We don’t have to invite God into a food drive, or a bible study, or a conference. We can invite God into something as simple as an afternoon nap. It’s the invitation itself that He wants, and He doesn’t care what it’s for, as long as it’s with you.