There I was sitting in the pew Saturday evening. My ribbed tank top, stained with spit up, was stretched from multiple nursing sessions all day. The jean shorts on my hips still won’t button two months postpartum. Flip-flops, two years old, displayed my desperate need of a pedicure. Every piece of me looked a frumpy mess. I was there, though.
My husband was working that day and I knew I’d be doing this parenting thing alone. I am not complaining by any means because our oldest two children are exceptionally well behaved. The type of children, that when they act their age, I have a hard time not getting upset. Add in the third, a two-month-old who believes he doesn’t have an existence separate of my milk-filled mammaries and we have the stress.
The stress of the constant crying in the car because I timed our feedings wrong, the stress of getting somewhere on time before he has to eat, or even the knowledge that if I go somewhere and he’s awake he will only want to nurse. My existence right now is nothing but co-existing with my son and it is wearing.
We tackled a birthday party together successfully. I thought to myself, “Do I push my limits and try for church by myself?” I kept debating, but ultimately church won out. The kids were being promoted that weekend and they needed to be familiar with their new teachers the same week as their classmates.
I knew I pushed the limits when the baby was crying, the daughter repeatedly kept saying how she didn’t want to play with the boys, and then the eager oldest boy excited to get inside so he could move up into the first grade room.
The kids made it to their rooms. I found my place in the nursing mother’s room, where I thought I’d be stuck. I didn’t even bring my Bible to church because I wouldn’t have a free hand to follow along anyway. But the audio didn’t work in the room. I couldn’t hear what was going on in the worship center. I felt isolated, desperate, even. Tears stung my eyes.
My nursing baby was asleep. Asleep. Do I make a break for it? He’s never been in the nursery before. Will I drop him off and his number pop up on the screen and I have to leave anyway and be stuck in the nursing room?
I didn’t care. I dropped the boy off with all his items into the hands of a smiling woman with open arms. The only thing I said was, “He’s a breastfed baby.” Maybe I should have added, “I’m out.” I’m pretty sure my body language suggested it for me, though. I nearly sprinted to the worship center. Found a seat and worshiped. I worshiped like I hadn’t since before he was born.
My arms were free to lift in praise. My attention was fully on the pastor. I was free to soak in truths of God’s Word and it was refreshing and energizing.
Yes I may have looked up at the screen a thousand and one times praying I wouldn’t see my baby’s ID number pop up there, beckoning me to go back to the place of stress, busy, and distraction.
That number never showed up. When I went to pick him up, I found a baby swinging hard and comfortably resting… allowing me to rest in the presence of God that service.
The thing is, it doesn’t take having three kids ages five and under to cause us to be weary, worn, and hungry. We can replace motherhood with work. Or maybe it is a lifestyle we participate in. It could be the negative influences we choose to include in our lives.
As women we tend to become weary, worn, and not even know we’re hungry for God’s word until we are given the chance to be filled. It’s usually because we are so busy serving or taking care of others around us before we take care of ourselves.
That Saturday I worshiped with empty hands filling my weary soul.
This article is part of the link-up with Mrs. Disciple. Go check out her page and look for the other awesome link-ys.