When Babies Become Toddlers

I'm calling it.

This thing I've been doing? Not cutting it.

When your babies grew to become toddlers, did you feel it? The switch? The change?

What was required of me when Titus was born and what is required of me now is completely different. And the switch was so subtle and gradual that I didn't notice it until I had several days where we kind of lived in time out and when I kind of wanted an out. Have you ever felt more like a monster than a mother? Yeah, me too. Even though I know that is not the truth, that there is grace, I need something to change. And God is showing me that something is me.

Almost everything about mothering babies is physical. They need your womb. They need to nurse. They need rocked and soothed and burped and changed and five onesies a day until you give up and let them go naked because you under no circumstances are going to let your scary basement laundry become your new place of residence!

You learn how to take your fitbit off at night so that you don't have to face the reality of how little sleep you got last night. Your new best friend becomes dry shampoo and the once exorbitant everyday shower habit becomes easily an every 3, maybe even every 4 day situation. You have a love hate relationship with granola bars because you need them but just wish you could sit down and eat a full meal with something in the genus of vegetable from start to finish. You call a chiropractor for the first time in your life because you carry carry carry all the people and all the things and fall down the stairs into the baby gate that is supposed to protect your babies but that you can't stop running into.

Yes, early motherhood is the most physically challenging sport I've ever played! 

And it's crazy, but my baby grew. But then I had another one. 

And suddenly my big baby needs something different from me than my little baby. And maybe I have to admit that my big baby is really now my little boy.

And although he loves to crawl in my lap and sing songs at the end of the night and read all the books he can get away with, I realize he needs less of my physical self these days. 

He needs my soul. 

And not just a little bit of my soul, that he had long ago. In fact, I thought he had it all already, every little part! Until he put his plastic car tires down the toilet and I realized he didn't have as much of it as I thought. Truth is, he needs more than I have been willing to give him. 

And I used to think giving my babies my body was so tough, but now I see it was just a warm up. This is way harder. And I gulp to think about the years to come.

When I think about Jesus, I think about how He gave us everything, his whole life. I think about him pulling children close when others shooed them away. I think of him getting low with the least of these and asking God to forgive us because we don't know what we are doing when we reject him. 

THAT is what Titus needs from me right now. And I don't think I will be able to give it to him unless I fully, daily, see my need for this same thing from Jesus and accept it, accept HIM, myself. 

Titus needs me accepting Jesus, believing Him to do big things in my own heart, and then showing him that myself. I need to see Titus how God sees me, how God sees him! 

And I thought I did! But every time he punches his brother I can't seem to handle him anymore and I shoo him away from us. And praise God, He never forced me away from him but pursued me with his love, grace, and truth. And yes, even in His consequences! But even, no especially, in His consequences it was his kindness that led me to repentance (Romans 2:4).

My toddler needs more of me. My toddler needs my soul. Because my soul is what has been redeemed. My body will continue to fade. #mombod am I right? BUT! Hallelu! My soul is cared for daily by my Heavenly Father, creating beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

So we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
— 2 Corinthians 4:16

This morning I felt stuck in the same patterns again. I felt the out of body experience you feel when you see yourself going down a road you've been before, a discouraging dead end. The baby got us up before 5 and Tim and I took turns with him, but neither of us got back to sleep. Starting the day on low sleep with no time in God's Word, I felt like I had nothing to give. So we went to the play room, and I took my Bible study with me. Titus kept crawling on top of it, crinkling it, ripping it. I threatened time out a few times, and then just looked up and cried out loud, audibly to God for help. I told him I needed him to help me with Titus. 

When I looked back at Titus, he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was praying for God to help me not be mad and to help me to help Titus. 

And nothing seemingly changed, but then actually everything did, because I was able to show Titus my need for a Savior, every minute of every day. 

I think I need to give Titus my soul by giving God mine. And as my baby still needs me in the wee hours, it is going to show just how powerful God's grace is, as I give my children my whole self, body and soul, to show them how Jesus gave us everything. 

Moms, how do you do it?

I suppose we take it a day at a time, on our knees, crying out to God in play rooms, admitting our desperate need for Him in front of our kids, and laughing a minute later when our kid makes us "cake" out of puzzle pieces. This is Gospel parenting, and I guess I'm only just beginning to understand it, and as I do, understand the Gospel anew myself.