Saturday, May 2, 2015

Choosing To See Grace Over Stress

I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I am a neurotic mess when it comes to stress. I've been that way as long as I can remember, and if I'm being honest, it's a bit of a stronghold in my life that I'm slowly trying to overcome. I think I have been able to justify the stress in my life because my heart's in the right place. This has been heightened tenfold since becoming a mama. The bottom line?

I want what's best for my baby.

And it drives me crazy. Literally. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself a) with my head in my hands, b) on my knees in desperate prayer, c) in tears over some "major" decision,  and/or usually d) all of the above.  Becoming a mama has done countless amazing things for me, but in this arena, it's incredible how much fear has broken down the door creeped into my world.  Every single decision I make affects a little life who has little-to-no say right now. My angel can't stand up for himself, he can't fend for himself, and he can't make important choices - he is completely dependent on me for that.  And I don't know about you, but for me, that is some heavy pressure!

The latest saga raging in my mama-life? Food.

Does that seem ridiculous to you?  I'm sure it most certainly is, but to me, the amount of stress I've encountered with this one little word is insane.  I so want what's best for my baby that I am ready and willing to drive myself to the brink of insanity (who am I kidding, OVER THE EDGE) to accomplish it!

First off, I have to take a second to acknowledge the fact that God has rained blessings over me in that breastfeeding for us was beyond natural and easy. Praise Him! This is simply not the case for so many mamas out there, and I do not take this incredible feat for granted for one second. I so badly wanted to be able to do this for and with my baby, and I am thrilled that we have been successful in our breastfeeding endeavors.  In this way, it has been so reassuring to me to feel like "God's got my back." He created my body to create and grow my baby's body. He took it a step further and created my body to be able to nourish my baby and help him thrive. All my days, I will praise Him!

Now, it's also important to note that our journey with food has/hasn't been "easy."  Breastfeeding = easy. Reflux baby = no bottles = huge comfort nurser = not as easy. While the hard part is carrying the feeding responsibility alone (seriously, no one can help you pre-solids when your child can't take a bottle...hello, pretty much every hour of the day and night at some point!), there's also an ease about it that has actually eliminated stress for me. Once I accepted that exclusively breastfeeding was going to be our journey, it was easy for me to embrace it. There was no measuring ounces, cleaning, and warming bottles. There was little-to-no pumping and storing. There was no forgetting to pack supplies for that - as long as I had my nursing cover and a burp cloth, we were good to go.

But solids?  That has been a crazy, stress-filled world for me.  I started by making my own baby food, which actually made me feel super proud! I love the health benefits, the cost benefits, and the overall good feelings it produces!  But, it's not always efficient. The store-bought solids open up a new can of worms. What brand should we use? Have there been any recalls? How many fillers, dyes, artificial ingredients, or preservatives are in said food? (For me, if there are any, it gets crossed off the list.) And don't even get me started on the mixtures and combinations.   

H a v e    m e r c y.

What's a mama to do?  Practice choosing to see grace over stress.



"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Y'all, I am a weak little mama who is full of fear. I let anxiety get the best of me sometimes. I cry. I have meltdowns. I am human.  Most of all, I am thankful to serve a great and glorious God who pours out grace over me daily.

I have access to His Holy Spirit, which lives inside of me all the time, and He is full of wisdom and guidance!  Motherhood has brought me to a place in my prayer-life that I would never want to change. I need God to help me. We live in the information age and this is a blessing and a curse. There is no longer blissful ignorance because an answer for pretty much anything is only a call to Siri away. There is also a ton of advice from well-meaning family and friends and a plethora of articles that will convince you that you are the world's worst mama or that you are going to ruin your baby. In those times when the world threatens to fill you with doubt and insecurity, pour GRACE over yourself. Imagine it like a cleansing rain pouring over you, right where you are and just let it refresh you and wash those thoughts away.

"My grace is sufficient for you." His grace is literally all you need. You will survive. Your baby will survive. You are the BEST mama for YOUR baby. It's all going to be okay!  With the millions of choices you will have to make for your baby in his or her life, you are going to choose wrong. That's just reality. It's a numbers game and unfortunately, the numbers are stacked against you and they don't lie. We have to learn to accept that we will fail our kids at some point. Then, we have to do what's best for them, and for us.



There's no sense in wallowing in our grief about it. What type of example will we be for them if we give up every time we don't get it right? They are watching us, and even in our wrongs, we are given the gift of showing our babies how to face and overcome adversity! So, let's forgive ourselves, mamas! Let's pray for guidance, rinse ourselves off with His grace, and get back to making memories with our sweet babies right.this.very.second. They're only babies for a little while, after all.

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