Laundry and Lullabies

Carter is 4 weeks today! Looking over the pictures from this past month, I am amazed at how much he has already grown and changed. He is definitely getting some chubby little cheeks! I can’t help missing those first few days when he was so new and tiny, but I love anticipating his daily progress and growth.

Those who know me know that I thrive on juggling many activities and constantly being on- the-go. We all joked that motherhood would be the only way to slow me down. I worried a bit, as I am sure my friends and family did as well, that I might go stir-crazy being at home all day. That I might find the daily cycle of feeding and changing diapers to be monotonous. That I might discover motherhood to be different from the glorified image and expectations I have had in my mind for years. That I might be…well, disappointed.

What I have, in fact, discovered over the last four weeks is that I must be exactly where God wants me to be.

I spent Saturday simply taking care of Carter and doing seven loads of laundry (yes, I really did let it pile up that high!) And I unexplainably felt a deep sense of joy in these simple duties. Scott said this past weekend that he has never seen me this happy. Is it that this sweet baby boy has completed me or brought ultimate joy? No, I don’t believe that’s it. While we prayed desperately for a child, and while I absolutely adore my son, I believe the reason I am so full of peace and contentment is that I am finally where God presently wants me to be. I am no longer skipping between God’s path and my own. I have surrendered this stage to Christ, and I am looking to Him for guidance not just on a weekly or daily basis, but moment by moment. This doesn’t mean my life is suddenly perfect. I still feel exhausted many days. I have doubts about whether I am being the best mother I can be and making the right decisions for Carter’s sake. I still struggle to find balance with regard to spending time with Scott and with God. Concerns still weigh on my mind and heart. But I am finally taking time to be still, to rest. I no longer have an agenda other than meeting Carter’s and Scott’s needs. I don’t think I ever realized before now how selfish and self-focused I can typically be. What freedom there is in putting “me” aside and actually living out God’s will at this stage of my life.

A couple of years ago, I began viewing life in terms of seasons. It is much easier (and less overwhelming) to commit to a responsibility or activity for a specific season of time. Or to embrace change as a new season. Like all changes and new experiences, this early phase of motherhood is a season. I will likely find myself returning the focus to myself in months to come. I will be worrying about my post-pregnancy body (okay, so that’s already happened), comparing my mothering “techniques” to others, pursuing my dream of writing and speaking to young women, trying to revive a social life, and so on. The awe of bringing a child into this world will cease, daily stresses of life will begin to mount, and I will probably begin to chart my own path once again.
I pray that you, as my friends and family, will hold me accountable when the “old” me begins to seep in. I pray that you will boldly remind me to be still. I pray that this blog entry will guide me back to the truth that God’s will is always far better than I could ever dream up myself. That when I am at the center of His will, even laundry and dirty diapers can make me feel like I am on top of the world.

When I sat down to update the blog, I certainly didn’t intend to pour all of this out. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and to share my heart. One more thing before I close, the whole reason I began this post…. I have been trying to sing to Carter as much as possible despite the fact that I am tone deaf. (Carter doesn’t seem to care – at least not yet.) It never fails, however, that as soon as I launch into singing, I forget all of the lullabies and sweet songs that I know are packed into my memory somewhere. So I need your help. What are your favorite songs to sing to your children? Also, I never learned many hymns growing up and would love to teach some to Carter. Please share any hymns you love (I do have a hymnal.) There are so many, I don’t even know where to begin. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

(Check back in a few hours for new pictures. I have to upload them from our desktop computer.)

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Darby said...

Kelley, What a precious precious post! As for the hymns, Justin and I absolutely love Fernando Ortega... if you have itunes check him out. My favorite hymn he has "redone" is Power In the Blood. He is a wonderful artist and has such beautiful versions of many hymns. Another great "find" on itunes is Indelible Grace, I think it's an RUF music ministry (not totally sure about that) but they also have a ton of beautiful hymns!! Have FUN looking & listening!

Amber said...

Hey Kelley-
I love "Come thy Fount of Every Blessing" as a hymn. Caleb also likes for me to sing simple songs like the itsy bitsy spider, rain rain go away, Jesus loves me, The wheels on the bus, old mcdonald had a farm, etc.
I hope this helps! I find myself forgetting words to songs too so alot of times, I make them up :). We also love the Praise Baby CD's which have lots of hymns in a soothing tone. We listen in the car :). Happy 4 weeks Carter!

Emily Chappell said...

KBB, I love reading your posts. I wish that I was as intuitive/self-reflective as you! What a gift.

Carrie said...

This may seem a little strange, for a stranger to comment on your blog but... I am friends with Emily Chappell and I clicked on your blof from hers. I had a baby in November and just started the blog a month ago so I love to look at other mothers blogs. Your sweet words were so encouraging I just wanted to say thank you for them. and to suggest the CD Sing Over Me. It is a soothing praise and worship CD with Bethany Dillon and Nicole Noredom (I forget how to spell her name) I love to sing over Noah and worship at the same time. Sorry if this seemed a little stalker like!

Jill said...

This is quite possibly my favorite post ever! I teared up as I thought about what life will be like when I'm in your shoes . . . and how thankful I am to have you in my life!

Two I know I'll sing to Bradley :) are "My Jesus, I Love Thee" and a little song my mom sang to me about Proverbs 3:5-6 (I can hum you the tune . . . very sweet!), but beyond that, who knows . . . Let me know which ones Carter likes so I can try them, too!

The Hoppers said...

Kelley, Baby Lawson loves it when I sing "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", in my off-key voice. The Newsboys redid it many years ago, so I sing that version. But it's my favorite. Your blog is wonderful!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Kelley, this is a lovely post. I found you completely by accident because your post title is the same as my blog title! :) I really relate to finding yourself in the place where God wants you. When I first got pregnant I fully intended to have the baby and go back to work, at least part time. God had different plans, and told me so! Of course I wasn't very happy about that, and kicked and yelled for a few months, but when the baby arrived and the decision was made, I found myself LOVING being home with him. Obedience is a blessing, isn't it?

About hymns: one of my favorites to sing to the boys is "Stand up for Jesus". We started singing it while getting my oldest son dressed - we'd tell him to stand up so we could put his clothes on and sing at the same time. Obviously your baby isn't old enough for that yet, but he will be! :)

Also, I'd suggest just working your way through a hymnal. Sing one song to your baby each day. You'll find new favorites and it will be good for both of you!