I thought about the long list of to do’s written in the margins of my planner—the dishes that needed doing and clothes that needed folding. The toilets were dirty and, oh yeah, I hadn’t read the chapters for Bible study yet.
These tasks flashed into my mind one by one as I wrestled my baby boy into a soothing position in an effort to calm him.
Lately, heading into nap time is like preparing for war. I know he’ll scream, arching his back in protest. So I prepare my mind and heart for action. I know there will come a time where he finally relaxes and gives up the fight, but it’s easy to get flustered and impatient when a baby is screaming in your face.
I remember in the early days of his little life how quickly anger and anxiety would erupt from within as I held my helpless baby in my arms, feeling just as helpless myself. It truly is a war against the flesh, especially when paired with exhaustion.
I’ve learned in my very short time (I repeat, very short time) mothering on earth, that taking these times and turning them into moments of worship works as ammo against frustration.
Worship Through Thanksgiving
As a new believer, my Mamaw taught me to praise the Lord in the storms of life. I called her one afternoon in tears over a particular trial I was walking through. I’ll never forget her counsel to “lift your hands and your voice no matter what life brings. Just praise him. Just praise him; he is worthy.”
He is worthy, Mamaw.
Her wise words have stuck with me through the years as well as my mentor’s reminders of remaining thankful. And so as I rock my baby, rather than focusing on his crying or the tasks I feel he’s preventing me from accomplishing, I praise the Lord for the sweet gift I hold in my arms. I remember the struggle to get there, the babies we lost and how I’d loved to have rocked them. And I thank the Lord for the blessing of a child to parent on earth. His loud cries mean he’s alive. Thank you, Lord. And when he’s calmed by my voice and his head rests on my chest, I praise God for the rising and falling of his body, displaying the breath of life.
Oh, and those cheeks…praise the Lord for those chubby cheeks!
But more than praising God for the gift, I praise the Giver for who he is. That he is kind, faithful, and wise. That he knows best which means I can trust him with undone tasks and draining nap times. I praise him for being the Creator and Sustainer of my child and I thank him for walking with me through each moment and never forsaking me, even when I fail.
Thankfulness often leads us into prayer.
Worship Through Prayer
After reading “Devoted” by Tim Challies, I was struck by the power of a mother’s prayer. It seems in almost every story of the godly men Tim wrote about, there was a mama kneeling in the background. I’d hate to miss this opportunity to pray for my own son.
When I look into the tear-glistened eyes of my baby boy and pray for his soul, my heart is reoriented toward deep compassion. I remember that this sweet baby, though innocent now, inherited the sin nature I battle daily. He needs Jesus like his mama. I praise the Lord for sending his Son to save mine, and I pray one day my sweet Theo will look upon Jesus as his Savior.
I beg the Lord to spare him from the paths I walked and protect him from temptation as he grows. I ask him to save him young like his daddy, that he may serve him for most of his life. I pray his father and I would display repentance as we strive to live out the gospel before him. I pray God would lead us in all humility and give us grace to raise him and wisdom to teach him. I pray he’ll love the word and treasure Jesus above all other things.
And prayer turns into singing.
Worship Through Song
I remember the first time I sang to him. I stood in the middle of our living room, cradling him in my arms as I stared at his little face. As I sang, memories of kneeling in the exact same spot, singing the exact same song, flashed before my mind’s eye. It was a time of lament over yet another baby, gone too soon. It was a moment of deep grief yet, joy was present. My womb was empty, but my God was alive. It was there that I learned what a gift it truly is to praise God in the storm—that you can be deeply grieved with your hope unshaken.
And now, I stood in that very spot singing that same song to my baby. Singing these songs to my child is like telling him the story of God’s faithfulness, not because he gave me a child to hold, but because he was faithful even when he didn’t.
It’s been the deepest joy and sweetest gift to worship God through song as I rock my baby. Singing lyrics like, “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains,” helps my heart and eyes to remain fixed on Jesus. I hope one day, he’ll be able to join me in singing about how God is faithful, and how he sent his Son to die for us and raise us to new life.
A Heart, Centered on God
I’d be lying if I said this always played out perfectly. Sometimes he screams even as I sing and I find myself singing words through gritted teeth. There are times where I’m impatient and want to yell. Maybe you struggle with that too? Praise God for his grace! We can repent and ask God for help to center our hearts on Christ.
No, we may not get the dishes done today, but we worshipped God as we tended to the sweet gifts he gave us. And mamas, that is time well spent.