The Shiny Gold Statues (Showers) of Early Motherhood

This week I went three days without a shower. 

I didn't mean for it to happen. 

But one thing led to another...

Tim had to leave early for work. 

The baby woke up early. 

House church and book club left my house late.

And most of the time, I felt like I was unraveling. 

If I don't get a shower IMMEDIATELY, I WILL LOSE IT. 

I used to shower every day. And not just shower. I basked in thirty minutes of sprinkling hot liquid spa heaven. I used every product known to womankind. I sang. I shaved. I lathered. I exfoliated. I solved the world's problems. 

I drove my parent's water bill to ungodly places.

When I got married, I tried to tone this down a little. But by no means did I start taking one minute army showers.

I remember being in the hospital after Titus was born and longing for a shower. I couldn't seem to muster the strength to stand that long or get away from my hungry infant. In the crazy, sleep-deprived thought circus that is characteristic of a mother's post-partum initiation, I truly wondered if I would ever take one again.

And so the choice remained after the hospital, shower or sleep when the baby napped? Which one? Because most of the time it wasn't both, and some days it was neither. 

Looking forward to this fall when Bambino will be born, I'm struck by my fears. It will not be pumpkin spice lattes and orchard picking for us. Tim will be on the hardest PhD schedule yet. He will work from 8-4 on weekdays and then be in school until 7 Monday-Thursday. He might get to see Titus an hour those days. As much as I'm enjoying our summer, I gulp hard when I think what a slap of reality that season will be. Most likely, I will have much less time for writing, working out, reading, spending time with friends and family, showering, and sleeping. Point being, my fears revolve around giving of myself, my wants, my desires. My idols.

Before you go into a defense on how mamas need to take care of themselves, I totally get it. I am aware that at some point, I need sleep. God programmed us this way. I know I'm a better mom days when I attempt to take care of myself.

But bottom line? I need Jesus. That is IT. 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insult, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

Paul is talking about much more intense situations than missing a shower, friends. He is talking about shipwrecks, snake bites, threats of death for his faith and testimony. He's not talking about "me-time." 

I've been studying Daniel with Dayton Women in the Word. In Daniel, the theme of idolatry is presented over and over again. King Nebuchadnezzar called for all people to bow down to his tall, golden statue. Three of God's people refused and were thrown into a fiery furnace. God delivered them, and as a result King Nebuchadnezzar praised the one true God. 

We hope that we would be the three who refused, but in reality, mamas, we are Nebuchadnezzar. And we have great influence over others, including our children, when we lay our idols down and worship the true King, King Jesus.

Thank God that he has given us little people that we have to face the idols we did not know even existed in our lives beforehand. We have to release everything for that swaddled, wrinkled, squinting 8lbs, give or take, of baby. Our bodies, our time, our plans, ourselves.

We have a quick learning curve. In those early days, who is it that must feed that baby in the middle of the night? Hopefully we have kind husbands who will help us. I learned quickly, however, that even with my husband's help, I had to rely fully on none other but the strength of Jesus. Early motherhood stripped me of every reliance had. And thank God it did.

What a relief to be rid of myself, my ultimate idol.

With tears in my eyes, I write that God has freed me of my fear for the fall. Satan will not rob me of the joy that will come when my precious second child will be born. In fact, I crave it. Fall, come quickly! Because what more of a gift could I ask God than for him to help me set down the things I worship that are not Him? I will be utterly stripped, and wear a sweet dependence on my Savior.  I wish I could take this contentment in Christ with me through the long haul of my life, past this season of motherhood, but I know this will continue to be a battle long after my children all start sleeping through the night. 

A family I've known my whole life lost their second child yesterday. They have a son who is a toddler and lost their second son when he was born without breath. His father wrote on his Facebook that though his child was stillborn, his hope was still in Christ. My fear this morning was not for myself, but for my children, yet, these parents' faith encouraged me. What a beautiful example of hope beyond this world, beyond what we think we need, beyond even the gift that is our children. Yes, indeed, mamas, even our children we must hold with an open hand to the one whose hand is our (and our child's) very breath (Daniel 5:23). 

When God gave me Titus, I recognized for the first time that a shower is a gift from God. For the first time, I thanked him for it. I worshipped the giver, not the gift, not myself. 

Mamas, lets thank God when He gives us good gifts. But most of all, let's be thankful for the giver. He is our ultimate prize and goal. And so we can make it another day without a shower. Or we can call our new mama friend and offer to come hold her baby while she takes one. And we can get on our knees and thank God for our children, who allow us to share in the sacrifices Jesus made when he gave up his life for us.