Wasting our lives and glorifying God

Wasting our lives and glorifying God
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, August 10

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All I Need Is You

I lay down for my afternoon nap pondering all things baby and parenting.  Maybe it was because I had just heard the Duggar's big announcement today that they are expecting their 20th baby.  Maybe it was just the fact that I was curled around my own new little baby under my fluffy down blanket and feeling grateful.  Who knows?  But, as I dozed, as I do every afternoon religiously, I had a revelation about God--or rather about my relationship with Him.  It's a little complicated, so take a little journey with me.

I don't own a lot of baby gear.  No bouncy seats, jumpers, swings, walkers, baby gyms, or other baby apparatus.  I did in the early days with our first few kids.  But, over the years, rather than accumulating more baby stuff, we have less.  At the moment we don't even have a crib in our house.  So much of that stuff that I thought I needed so badly at the beginning of my mothering journey, I soon found to be more burden then blessing.  It cluttered up the house, gave me one more thing to keep clean and, quite frankly, is not very attractive.  Not that I'm huge on having a perfectly decorated house, it's just that I don't like things made of plastic.

But, what's worse is that I've found that each of those pieces of equipment was invented to replace me. 

No really, it's true.

In some measure--small or great--each is merely a replacement parenting device.

River, just five weeks old, doesn't cry for a swing.  He wants to be rocked in my arms because it reminds him of how he was rocked in my belly for nine months.

River doesn't need a bouncy seat that vibrates.  What he wants is to feel my heartbeat and to hear my gentle humming.

River doesn't wake up from his nap thinking, "You know, I could go for some geometric shapes or some trademarked Disney characters swinging above my head."  What he wants to see is my face, smiling at him, interacting with him and responding to his own attempts at communication.

As a parent it's far too easy to become reliant on that stuff and to offer it instead of my arms, my heartbeat, my voice, my face.

My baby wants me.  Not the stuff.  But, if I offer the counterfeit often enough, he could get used to it.  Over time he may even prefer the plastic to flesh-and-blood.  He might pick the artificial over the authentic.

Tragic.

His childhood is far too short to allow his affections to be shared with something that cannot give affection back.

While I pondered all these things and was about to climb on my moral high horse--during my nap time, mind you, I felt the Lord say, "Isn't that just like you?"  (God doesn't fight fair, does He?)

There are a thousand things that fill my life that were invented (or at the very least permitted) to replace communing with God.

In truth, I don't really want or need the television, movies, radio, social networking, worrying over things I cannot change, trying to please people who don't really matter, fussing over what others might think about me, having petty disagreements with people over non-issues, religiosity.  But, because I've spent so much time going to these things when I'm desiring communion, I've forgotten that they were merely a substitute for something greater and deeper and infinitely more meaningful.

How many things in my life are replacement God devices?

I shudder to think.

What I really need is God's arms, God's heartbeat, God's voice, God's face.

I've learned a lot about parenting from my children.  A lot of what not-to-do.  I've also seen God's will for me, played out in a thousand sessions of nursing my baby to sleep and listening to him breathe.

God.

El-Shaddai.  Literally, "The Many Breasted One".

He wants to nurse me to sleep and watch me rest, listening to me breathe. But, I'll have to give up the plastic for His Flesh and Blood.  I need to choose the Authentic instead of the Artificial.


10 comments:

Starr said...

Beautiful.

Allison said...

Love this :)

Andrea said...

Wow.

I loved all the gadgets (what there was of them) when my babies were little. The gadgets kept me sane... not to mention let me go to the bathroom. Every baby we've ever had (2 birth, 1 adopted, 6 fosters, 2 grands) has LOVED their bouncy seat & swing. They grew (some are still growing) up with Elmo & Big Bird. Austin slept in his crib until he was well into his 4th year of life. Every one of the 11 babies that have been in this house for any length of time have always "had enough" of being held & you could always tell when that was. I'd put them down on a blanket with some toys around & they would instantly stop fussing & be happy as clams.

Each household is different, I think, in the things you mentioned. Moms who are reading this blog entry & who might use all the "plastic gadgets" you mentioned shouldn't feel guilty that they're any less of a parent because they do. Mrs. Duggar uses gadgets cos I've seen them in the background of pictures of them! :) That woman is da bomb-dot-com in my book. I love her!

I love you too, sweetness. Happy Baby-ing & Happy Napping too.

~Andrea
XOXOXOXO

Andrea said...

PS~ Just as an added aside... I not only used all the plastic gadgets with the babies but each & every one of them was: bottle-fed, slept in a room other than our bedroom, were birthed in hospitals (some vaginal & some c-section), wore disposable diapers, and were not held all the time (not even close to all the time).

Yet each of the babies we still have contact with (the 6 fosters we don't have contact with, unfortunately *sigh*) are very close to us. Extremely close, even after they arrive into adulthood.

As a matter of fact, last Friday Austin came up to me & said: "Hey mom, want to go to the jewelry store & help me pick out an engagement ring?" and he had a big smile on his face. I was honored. :-D (but mum's the word... he hasn't presented it yet!). *lol*

So I think while it's wonderful for everyone to have the freedom to raise their children as they wish (barring abuse, of course... you know what I mean), it should also be stressed that there are many ways to turn out really well-adjusted kids. You don't have to avoid Big Bird & bouncy seats and hold your baby all day long to accomplish that, if you choose not to.

Just sayin'....

Love ya~ Andrea
XOXOXOXO

Anonymous said...

Wow... This was really thought-provoking, especially in light of several things happening in my life right now. Well said!

Heidi

Alice said...

This is fantastic, Daja. What an eye-opener!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Andrea, the point of the post was not baby furniture or gadgetry. It was about not filling up our need for God with things that merely distract but don't truly satisfy.

Baby gadgetry was merely a metaphor for something much deeper.

That said, many parents use the available baby inventions responsibly and of course I have no problem using them myself. I do own two strollers, actually. However, I also know many who overuse such things to the neglect of their children. It's even been on the news and medical journals about delayed development because of excessive carseat/carrier use. So, it is a real issue for the postmodern parent.

And although all the baby stuff can make our lives easier, when it all comes down all you really need to care for a baby is arms and breasts. That's basically all women had for thousands of years before Babies R Us told us that we NEEDED baby gyms and high chairs that convert to walkers. No harm in using them responsibly if you want and your kids will turn out just fine. But, let's face it, they are WANTS and fun extras. They are not NEEDS. And the metaphor in the post is about NEEDS.

When all the bells and whistles are stripped away, all River needs is me. And all I need is God.

Mrs. and Mama K said...

great insight! now with three, i understand better about less equipment. the rest of us clutter up the house enough as it is...plus the older kids are great entertainment for the baby...who needs a house full of baby toys?! ;)

Leona said...

LOVE this! PERFECTLY PERFECTLY written (in both "points") :)
I could write about these points for days, THANKS for writing this!

Mandkhai Munkhbat said...

Thank you Daja. This post ministered to me. I used to take aside some time to think and re-order my life, if necesaary to get rid of some "plastics". I really needed to read this.

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