Learning to Be Flexible: 5 Minutes of Motherhood

My mother has always said that God gives us the child we need. She says that I taught her patience. In the midst of my so-loud-they-thought-someone-would-call-child-protective-services cries, she learned patience. When I only wanted her, she held me; as she vacuumed, as she scrubbed floors, as she lived her life, it was intimately intertwined with my own. Through it, she says she learned patience.

As I look back on these first few months of life with Claire, I am beginning to see what God is teaching me. I am beginning to see where he is stripping me through this little girl's needs. For me, it is flexibility. He is teaching me to let loose my grip. To be nimble. To be willing to change my plans. To let go of what I want and do what someone else needs. To be selfless for someone else's sake.

I see it as I look back on all of my well-intentioned plans that flew out the window quickly. I wanted her to sleep in her crib in her own room from the beginning. But she wanted to be held. Flexibility was forced on me, so I held her. She snuggled with me. I learned to give her what she needed.

I see it now, as nap schedules and predictability still elude us. I have given up fighting to make her sleep when she's "supposed" to. Instead, I let her play until she's reached her fill and her own body tells her it's ready to rest. I schedule my errands and dates with friends loosely because I never know where we'll be when it comes to naptimes.

I see it in so many other decisions, from what and how she eats (she's had cake and Cheerios, popcorn and pretzels) to letting her play with magazines (I call her my little shredder). Everything I once thought was sacred in the realm of raising a child has now been pruned and preened by this little lesson of mine.

I see how, through it all, the Lord has softened my heart. How he has pried my grip from my love of routine and rigidity and is teaching me the value of flexibility, not only toward her but toward life and toward him.. He is teaching me the value of being laid-back, of letting life happen sometimes rather than always feel the need to force it into my own expectations. I am learning to trust that I won't mess everything up by going with the flow. He is teaching me to learn to trust someone other than myself, to trust that perhaps my daughter knows what might be best for her, just as He knows what is best for me. I am learning to trust him to fill in the gaps where I fail.

And so, I am learning to be grateful for this lesson he has seen fit to teach me. I am learning to open my hands and receive it with gladness, this lesson of learning flexibility. Someday I will tell Claire, "God gives us the child we need. And I needed you to teach me to be flexible."

These days of motherhood are consuming and taking the time to blog can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all. But these days of motherhood are also fleeting and I don’t want to let them slip by. And so this series of posts, Five Minutes of Motherhood, are my attempts to capture some of these moments—whether poignant or not—in the short spurts of time available to me these days: a time-limit of five minutes. That way the moment gets memorialized and then I can get back to life—back to motherhood. Click here to read all the posts in the Five Minutes of Motherhood series.

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