First Things First

My hair is tangled and I’m still in my pajamas. The iced coffee is more like cold water coffee now. I ate a croissant while breastfeeding her, and laughed that she’s been trying to talk to me while she eats. It’s a muffled hum, with the corners of her mouth pulling into sporadic smiles. I’m her Netflix and Hulu and Facebook and Instagram. She scrolls my face with her eyes and is satisfied with what she sees. I want to teach her that she’s enough, too. I want her to know she has my attention.

The awareness of God is thick in my home in this quiet Monday morning. The Holy Spirit is absolutely, positively here. He always is, but when my heart is in this posture, I receive Him. There is no chaos, no stress. Just peace as I hold her. Peace as I fold laundry. Peace in the absolutely mundane things, which can be mislabeled as boring, unfulfilling, inconvenient, unproductive. But God knows I’m on His clock. The work of prayer, the praise songs sung over her when she cries, and building a spirit of humility in my family pays off.

I’ve found myself frustrated only when I built up an expectation outside of God’s mind for me. It’s a waste of time to think thoughts that are not His thoughts about me, my family, my home, my finances, and my little baby.

His word says He’s a Good Shepherd and I lack nothing. I survey my life and see nothing other than abundance. We have more food, space, stuff, and money than we need for this day. And tomorrow. And this week. Actually, we could probably eat what’s in the pantry for a whole month. Yet we strive so hard with a mindset of poverty, and for what? What’s the goal? Fifty thousand? A hundred thousand? A hundred and fifty thousand? When is enough gonna be enough? We have more than enough. We’ve had more than enough for a long, long time. Enough has a name, and it’s Jesus. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If we didn’t adjust our mindset, we’d never be able to afford a family, financially, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. I know multiple mamas who have 5+ children and they live with a mentality of Enough. Your whole lifestyle has to shift around to make space for this calling. Buddy and I talked about adoption on our very first date. We both want to make space for a bigger family, including adopted children, which means marching to the beat of a very different drum. Cheers to that.

I sold all my things in 2011, before going on a mission trip. I moved to Georgia with only things that could fit in the backseat of my car, five years ago. I have way more clothes than I need, yet just enough for this time of life, nursing a baby and being the recipient of multiple spit-ups a day. My closet is smaller than my husband’s, and I joke that it’s because my clothes are smaller. The reality is that I like the clothes I have and am not constantly looking for more. I guess that means I’m content haha. My car is simple and small, safe and reliable. For now it’s just fine, we fit in it. Our baby has way more than she’ll ever hope to wear, bless her heart. It’s made us generous as a family, and it’s made me fight for simplicity, for quality time over quantity of dime.

Because of these choices, postpartum has not been chaotic. Sleep deprived? Oh God, yes. Trial and error epic fails? Yes! That first week was brutal. I struggled learning how to hold her, soothe her, feed her, clothe her, burp her. I had two sleep-deprived left hands. I spilled breastmilk everywhere, all the time (and still do). Being so tired and wanting to be so very careful with a fragile baby got me extra emotional. If she cried too hard, I cried. I worried if she was in pain, or cold, or uncomfortable in any way, and if I, as her mother, would know how to find the problem and make it better. In all of this, the transcending theme was: God is Sovereign over this baby’s life, the Good Shepherd.

I remember writing a blog about a quiet, lonely night that was tough on me as a single woman. I told myself I’d be even more grateful for the mess and the sticky loud babies when that season of life arrived. It’s true. It’s here.

I spent my twenties getting debt-free, working two jobs, holidays, nights, weekends, overtime. I worked to the point I was nearly sick. I made great money, traveled to sixteen countries, wrote a book, and served women who I felt weren’t getting enough resources for inner healing in the Church. In secular terms, I did my bucket list. I have waited for this baby, and now I see the tension and holy war for my time. The world is quick to sell lies, to declare that busyness is something to be praised, and that apparently God’s plan for me is to be frazzled and constantly running behind. It’s just not.

I want to put my stake in the ground, and say that it’s okay to have peace in motherhood. It’s okay to say “I can’t do everything and I don’t want to do everything” and mean it. It’s okay to choose not to enter the mom pageant competition. I’m going for present over perfect. Simple, minimalist, together. Dry, clean, fed, prayed over. My goal is that she knows who King Jesus is, who provides for her, who heals her tummy aches and takes away the hiccups, who is ready to be her best friend in times of need and plenty. He’s the King Jesus who gives mama strength to get up in the middle of the night, who teaches mama about patient love and kindness, and tells mama that He’s pleased with her so she can live from approval, not for it.

If you feel like you’re failing, who are you listening to? Who says you need to do and be what you’re trying to do and be? If it’s something you came up with, or that society came up with, you may not feel fulfilled even if you arrive. Ask God to show you what makes your heart fill to the brim with love. Love will always guide you to put first things first.

Are you finding that sweet whisper of “peace, be still” in the middle of the daily storms?

Are you seated at His table, having conversations about heavenly things?

If you take a moment to pray and ask Him what He thinks, you might find yourself changing your mind. He has perfect peace for you, and grace to carry you through the toughest seasons. He has a grave prepared for your stress, your burdens, the extra striving, the pride, the idol of love of money, the guilt of mistakes, the regret-fueled decision making, and the critical voice in your thoughts. It’s the grave He used for only three days.

4 thoughts on “First Things First

  1. So beautiful, Helena! I whole heartedly agree about remembering that Jesus is enough…in everything. Cheers to keeping it simple and finding peace in that,it’s so much better than chasing after busy. Praying over your sweet family in this precious new season!

  2. So so beautifully written and full of truth! You make me want to both better Embrace motherhood and start writing again. Thanks for this beautiful message and for being such a wonderful Mama to your sweet girl

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