Weekly Reflection, Sunday, July 12, 2020
By: Elizabeth Baker Starling
I recently saw someone on social media say, “How is it already July? I’m still processing February!” I laughed, but the truth is, I think I’m still processing March…and April…and May. Almost exactly a year ago, I found out I was pregnant and went immediately into planning mode. We prepped the nursery, freezer meals, read all the parenting books, and downloaded all the pregnancy and parenting apps. It’s impossible to prepare yourself fully for a new baby, but we felt like we’d done a pretty good job. On March 18, Jason and I welcomed the most beautiful baby girl we’ve ever seen (we’re biased), but in so many ways, the experience wasn’t what we expected. We weren’t allowed visitors at the hospital, and after our first two weeks at home, our pediatrician advised us to stop allowing visitors altogether. We didn’t expect to learn how to parent without being able to have in-person help from our own parents. We thought we’d be able to take our baby to visit friends; to invite others over to hold her while we ate or showered or napped; we thought we’d be able to have an occasional 30-minute break. We never could have prepared ourselves for months alone as a family of three, while I recovered from surgery and we plowed through night after night of no sleep. There is no handbook on how to raise a baby in the middle of a pandemic. It’s been tough, and sometimes I dwell on that fact a little too much.
That said, initially I thought that this reflection would be all about how my faith has been tested over the past few months. But as I sat last night rocking my baby girl to sleep, I realized that while this experience hasn’t been easy, it has ultimately immensely strengthened my faith and forced me to embrace the “let go and let God” (or sometimes “Jesus take the wheel!”) mentality. Over the past few months, I’ve prayed harder and more frequently than ever before—prayers of gratitude for this new life and so much unexpected family time; prayers for guidance, safety, health; prayers for patience and sanity. During a recent Noonday Prayer service, David said, “We are not left on our own to get it all right at every moment,” and thank goodness for that. It is difficult for my Type A personality to accept that I am not in control, but it has been so comforting to remember that God is. Motherhood has overwhelmed me with a love I never knew was possible, and forced me to put all of my trust in God and His greater plan. I love my daughter so much that happy tears pour out of my eyes daily, and it strikes me that God loves us in that exact same way—powerful, overwhelming, indescribable love. The world may seem a little scarier, darker, and more confusing these days, but how blessed are we to be loved and embraced so strongly in the midst of it all?