May 27, 2011
a couple weekends ago we were driving around the city.. sharing a cup of red mango while we ran errands.. popping in at trader joe's with nothing on my arm, not even a purse.. there was no one needing a diaper change or a nap.. no gear in our car. the baby sat inside me happily, silently, easily. we had absolute freedom. and soon, i know things will change. that's what got me thinking. 

when you're pregnant, you will (i guarantee) hear some funny things. it's a bit of a no-holds-barred phenomenon. some people love to warn you about how tired you will be after the baby comes. "say goodbye to your sleep," they'll say. they also love to tell you how many privileges you will lose. "enjoy it while you can," because good things are going to end soon. now i realize that these people mean well or mean to joke. but still, isn't it pretty telling of where our minds dwell? if things aren't easy, they aren't good. we are okay with hating work. we are selfish beings. most of whom have been unsuspectingly taught from a young age to have a negative attitude toward work and to treat it "as something most sedulously to be avoided." (elisabeth elliot) and i should be clear: when i say "work" i'm not talking about a career, but rather the ordinary tasks that make up our days.

well. i'll be the first one to admit that i am guilty of this way of thinking. and it hit me: i want to be careful that going into the life-giving work of motherhood, i have the right attitude. i want to undo the work-hating mindset that tends to linger in me. "it is, after all, mostly little, common things (work) that make up our lives. this is the raw material for the spiritual life." (again, elisabeth elliot)  what am i going to do with this raw material? how will i respond to the little duties that go along with having a baby? those will be my raw material. how can hating work be God-glorifying, when we are called to be imitators of Christ- who did not come to be served, but to serve? He is our ultimate example, and if we want to grow in grace and be happy in Him, we would walk as He walked. taking the very nature of a servant. working

there was something my mom used to say to us as we grew up that has always stuck with me:
whatever you do, do it with a happy heart. 
or maybe the best version: if you're going to do it at all, do it with a happy heart.
(reminds me of colossians 3:23)
notice that the instruction wasn't:
whatever you do, hate it. feel bad for yourself. mourn the loss of the good old (easy) days. 

yes, when there are 3 of us there will be less sleeping, less eating with both hands, less packing light, and more things that must be done before we can sleep, walk into a store, or head out the door. i realize this. but there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ecc 3:1 we are entering a new season. a season that will surely involve work as surely as it will involve rest. (for i do believe that God is faithful to provide the times of rest and play, just as He provides the work.) i know that there will be work involved with having this baby in our life. i probably don't realize how much right now, but i do know that it will be amazing, sanctifying work. this will be an enormous, maybe the biggest chance of my life, to serve. 

Lord, please bring this to my mind right when I need it, when I am exhausted and ready to give in to self-pity. Please make me a lover of work- a happy worker for You. Teach me to be thankful for the work entrusted to me and very importantly, to be faithful to that work. Your name is dear to me and I want to see You glorified. Please prepare me for the giving of self that is being a mom. 

41 comments:

Christina said...

love this, summer. thank you.

marta said...

all i have to say is, YOU ARE READY.

p.s. thank you for this. it's exactly true, so many people are such downers on having children because they are 'money suckers' and take so much work to take care of. i love your attitude about raising children, i fully agree. thank you for sharing your thoughts. parenthood truly is the most fulfilling wonderful thing in the whole world. i knew i would love it, i had no idea how MUCH i would love it. like i said, you are so ready for this next season.

Katherine said...

Amen. Resoundingly.

The Minnesotan with the German-Irish Name said...

Thanks, Summer! I really needed this today. Now, I am going to actually do some work at work (even if it is Friday afternoon).
~Elsa

Alexandra said...

wow i really love this --- it's something i struggle with, too -- disliking work, moaning and groaning about doing something -- ANYTHING. i am inspired, now, to do everything with my heart. thank you, summer.

xxx Alexandra

Carly said...

so beautifully written. thank you for inspiring all with your positive attitude!

Diana Hulme said...

What a great attitude. I just had a beautiful baby boy 3 1/2 weeks ago and I had no idea how hard it would be...honestly. I think the main thing is that it's hard to try to be the best mother you can be when you have so little sleep and are so emotional the first little while (at least that's how it was for me!). :) But the difference is that even though it's hard, it's wonderful...getting up at 12am and 3am and 6am and throughout the day is hard on your body, and it's hard to make your eyes stay open, but the perfect tiny little body in your arms is so worth it and basically, what I'm trying to say is that it's a good hard, not something that you dislike. :) Good luck! You will love it - I think when something is difficult, you just appreciate and value it that much more. Because of the sacrifice, it is so precious & fulfilling!

donya gjerdingen said...

Love this, Summer. My non-parent friends have a hard time understanding that the "work" that comes along with being a parent usually doesn't even feel like "work" because it brings so much joy in return anyways. And if it wasn't at least a little bit of work, it wouldn't be so incredibly gratifying! And while I heard the same statements while I was pregnant, and tried to ignore them, I really didn't realize how much less work it actually was. Yes, there are days when it seems harder than others, but those are not the days I remember.

Hannah said...

Summer, your heart & prayer that you have expressed here is such a wonderful reflection of what God desires for us - to know how his grace is fully sufficient in all we do - as we try to live our lives as Jesus did. How wonderful that in the process of doing this, we give Him glory, and He gently changes our heart, that we might be more like Him when we submit our hearts to Him.
Thankyou for sharing these important truths with us today. I hope that if I become a Mummy one day, I will be able to approach it with the same delight & willingness to love the work of motherhood that you have : )

Eileen said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really wish that more people had this type of positive attitude. It really irks me to hear moms complain about how hard life is, and when they tell me that I'm lucky that I don't have to deal with it. Some even go as far as to tell me not to have kids. The reality is that I don't really have a choice in the matter; for medical reasons, odds are highly weighted against me ever getting to be a mom. I generally don't share that information with others, though. So they don't realize that while yeah, I get to sleep in on the weekends, that doesn't necessarily make "lucky"... and I would trade some of my sleep for the incredible experience of raising another life.

In any case I also need the reminder to be positive in my own life. I recently started a new job that is a big improvement over my previous job. But already I find myself complaining about the tedium that comes from the daily grind of ~any~ job. I need to remember that I am so lucky to have found a new, better job in this tough economy - and be joyful in doing my work.

Emily R said...

I love this! I've recently been reading your blog since you are about two weeks ahead of me in your pregnancy! Good luck with everything - it sounds like you'll be a fantastic mom :)

Maryclayre Dick said...

well said, sums!

Bridget said...

summer, this was such a fabulous post and perfect for me to read (at 31 weeks!)...

my sister has three boys and when the laundry would get so tedious (and because it is an entirely thankless job) she learned to pray for her son whose laundry she was washing/drying/folding at that moment. i think it helped change her attitude!

Phil and Bri said...

Love this! Thanks for sharing!

Laura Railing said...

Thank you for posting this. I needed to hear it today :-)

One bit of advice they SHOULD tell you is- don't worry about the sleep! For so long, I fought so hard just to get some sleep and it didn't work. Yes, there will be less sleep, but if it's not the main focus, and you're not thinking or worried about the fact that you only got 3 hours last night, it really changes things. Yes you might have only gotten 3 hours but it's not the end of the world and tomorrow might be better! (and if it's not, it really eventually will be!) I think I'm going to bookmark this post and come back to it again. and again :-)

Renee said...

gotta love Elisabeth Elliot! great post! Our "happy heart" saying, is really a paraphase of this great verse:Philippians 2:14 (The Message)

"Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!"

and i also love Luke 9:23,
"If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me."

great reminders to mom and women of all ages! thanks for writing it!

Joanna said...

This is incredible! Thank you for sharing this against-the-current bit of wisdom. It's just what I needed to hear right now. I often catch myself feeling entitled to loaf all weekend, every weekend, and you've put into words why I should be bothered by that.

All blessings as you count down these last few days!

Jen05 said...

Yes yes yes! All so true. I have three little ones, and while I can fondly remember a thing called free time, I know that all too soon I will be missing my grown children and longing for these busy times. Sounds like you too will be appreciating this time and how fast it all will go. Motherhood will exceed you wildest dreams. :)

Jackie Norris said...

You are amazing... and so right. Motherhood is HARD, there is no denying that, but the joy you receive in return is unbelievable. I have grown closer to God since my baby has come. I know now what grace is, what prayer is, what love it. These little souls can teach us so much. I have found if I do something every day to remind me of the "big picture," I am a much better mother, wife and person. Keep up what you are doing, and while it won't be easy, God will be with you every step of the way. Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Summer...THANK YOU! I have been struggling so much lately with trying to get everything done for my classes on top of working and doing chores around the house. It's really gotten me down and I must admit that my attitude has sunk way below the acceptable level. It's funny how God puts reminders out there for us to stumble upon. He's been showering me with them today.
1. One of the older ladies in my water exercise class told me today, "Never forget that you are doing what you're doing for a reason."
2. "Great is Thy Faithfulness" started playing on Pandora as I started my paper.
3. I took a brain break and read your blog.
I'm thankful for a God who can encourage us by working on others as well!

Emily said...

I LOVE this post, Summer! Thanks for getting our minds in the right mind-set and our hearts in the right place too.

Alejandra said...

I LOVE this post! This is so true, and it's something that has always bothered me and which can be just as relevant about so many things--raising a child, writing a book, starting a project, painting a house, etc. It's always irked me when people say things like "you'd better be ready to work" like it's a bad thing. Yes, I'm ready! I'm ready to work. I WANT to work. I want to create and do and make, and I don't mind if it means losing sleep or aching muscles--that's a good thing. That's proof that I am living.

Julia Wade said...

what a kind and wonderful response to some of the negativity we hear about being mothers. it's very easy to slip into that mindset especially when it is all around us ... so thank you for an incredible reminder about what parenthood truly is.

i agree with marta. you are more than ready.

Audra said...

This was great for me to hear Summer! Well written and thank you!

Peggy said...

Summer, what a wonderful inspiring blog today ! you have it so right !
There's nothing that's not work,
and this one is so rewarding !you've blessed all your readers today with your insight into what all of our attitudes should be ! thank you ! ( I remember when your mom painted that scripture verse on your t-shirts with your little
hand prints around it!)

Kelly said...

Excellent post, Summer! Yes, life will never be the same, and yes, some days are tough (and some nights are tougher) :), but I wouldn't trade it for the world. There is so much joy coming your way!

Kaitlyn Luce said...

Wow! Thank you so much. This isn't just applicable to entering the life of a Mom, but to EVERYTHING. Thank you. I will think of this often as I go off to work at camp.

Learning to Simply Live said...

Summer, as always, a very eloquent post. I pray that God gives you and Grant the strength you need for the upcoming months and years to come.

I truly appreciate this post myself. A reminder what a great Heavenly Father we serve. Only He would come to serve rather than to be served.

Amen sista! Amen.

A Place to Reside said...

As so many people have already said, thanks for these good words. I was just thinking today of how I crave for the Lord to change the unwilling heart I've had throughout all the change our recent move has brought. I want to accept both good and adversity from Him. Thanks for encouraging me in this.

nataliep. said...

thank you summer. well put, well put. it is so easy to get into the work-hating mentality. good reminder that we are always to have a happy heart towards whatever it is we're called to do that day, that moment. thanks for sharing!

Laura Railing said...

Summer, I had to repost this :-) It was just too good to not. It's linked back to your blog :-)

Michelle said...

Honestly, having a baby has been the best thing to ever happen to my life. Even though things take longer, there are armloads of baggage to go grocery shopping, and we now eat standing up, while feeding the little one, every single second, and every little detail is so worth it. And don't even get me started on the smiles and the sweet little voice. Just little things that emphasize how great it is to be a parent. You'll be great! Good luck, and thank you!!

M.C. Sommers said...

I absolutely love this post. I have this thought pretty frequently, but I love how you were able to articulate it. :)

Jordan said...

One of the things I actually like about having a baby is how it forces you to slow down. When your number one priority is to serve someone else, completely, the way you have to serve a newborn, there is a joy that touches the soul. Sure it becomes difficult to run errands or do things that seemed so simple before, but there is a quiet calm that comes from the small tasks of taking care of an infant......even the "work" of changing diapers, cleaning up never ending messes and spending hours walking the floors with a sleepless baby has its own kind of majesty, if you can remember to enjoy it....which of course you will.

Katie said...

As a new mommy, reading this my heart was crying AMEN AMEN AMEN.

my favorite part:
"this will be an enormous, maybe the biggest chance of my life, to serve."

this rings so true for me...and when I'm getting up in the middle of the night for what feels like the 10000th time with a little boy that I *know* can sleep longer than this, God has been so faithful to gently whisper into my ear, "what a precious gift you have, what a tremendous opportunity it is to spend your night with my sweet boy"

I feel so honored, so privileged to serve in the enormous, biggest-chance-in-my-life, way. Thank you, Summer.

christine said...

amen, summer.

Ang said...

exactly what I needed to read - thank you. :)

Nessa said...

Love this Summer. People told me to soak it up when i was pregnant. The sleeping, the time alone. But now that I have less of both, I have way more things in my life that are much better. Sleep is over rated - especially when compared to your little ones laugh.

I don't miss any of the befores at all... nothing I wold trade. Well I might take less smelly diapers.

Miranda said...

this is so beautiful, Summer.

I too used to wonder why so many people dwell on the negative aspects of having children. It is true that things are harder and less convenient. But those troubles pale in comparison to the joy and beauty of having a child. So much so that I rarely ever think or care about my life before my little girl. It was incomplete, and now it is blissfully full.

You are already a wonderful mama my dear.

Kelli said...

I want you to know that I am absolutely inspired by this post. I'm working on showing my kids more grace and your words are just what I needed to hear. What a great way and attitude to enter into motherhood.

A Place to Reside said...

I linked back to your post because it really made me think. It's good stuff. Thanks.

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about this blog

Hello, I'm Summer. A people-loving introvert whose hope and life is in Jesus. His promises are my passion and my ministry is homelife. This blog is a place for me to write about everyday things. Especially food. My favorite thing to do is sit around a table, lingering over a long meal with good conversation. I live with my husband and our 2 littles. We like blizzards, thrifting, grammar, guacamole, cheerful hearts, nice manners, good movies, and making simple, real, nutrient-dense food.

"If Christ be anything, He must be everything."
-C.H. Spurgeon

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