Having Babies · Reflections

24 Karat Gold, Still Being Refined

*This is a re-post from my previous blog. This metaphor was so powerful to me at the time God revealed it to my heart and mind (almost a year ago). However, as I am walking through so many of these milestones again I find myself remembering these words. A huge motivation behind this blog is to document the “Ah-ha” moments so that there aren’t lost, but are easily revisited. This is a treasured moment that I have enjoyed revisiting. I also want to acknowledge that I am breaking my “No post without pictures” rule. I just don’t have any images that I feel would add to the words. So, consider me a rule-breaker. That is just how I roll sometimes. 

Jewelry is often seen as a solid investment. Gold and diamonds are generally considered valuable, conservative investments in cultures around the world. The more pure and perfect the metal or stone, the greater the value that it holds.

Ironically, once it reaches its pure form at 100%, the metals are too soft to be usable. They must be infused with a stronger metal in order to sustain its given shape over time.

 

I only have a few pieces of valuable jewelry. Mostly because I don’t want the pressure of keeping up with investment pieces. I want to enjoy what I have. So, my valuable jewelry includes a string of pearls that I received from my grandfather for my 16th birthday (that I wore on my wedding day), my engagement ring, my wedding ring, and my mother ring.

 

On my first mother’s day, when I still had flabby skin and blood shot eyes (my baby was only 2 months old) my husband bought me a beautiful ring for my ring finger on my right hand. He explained to me that the major events in our lives together are marked by jewelry. He understood how badly I had always wanted to be a mother and he felt that becoming one deserved a piece of jewelry to mark the occasion. He was right, and the ring hasn’t left my finger since that day.

 

Being a mother has been one of the rewarding and refining experiences of my entire life.

 

I am sure that I am not the first to think, or write these words (please someone tell me I’m not). But, this is one of those lessons that deserves documentation for future reference.

 

My Buddy is easily in my top two people on the face of the planet. However, I’m not convinced that the feeling is mutual. Which I totally understand, and even expected. What I didn’t expect was that my whole being, heart and soul, would be turn upside down and inside out.

 

My tiny little bundle of joy has grown into a funny, loving, opinionated, independent little boy. I am so grateful for his growth and maturation. However, it seems that every time he reaches a new milestone, I have to prepare for another round of refinement. And another level of understanding God’s love for me.

 

During the up all night nursing and crying stage I learned that this parenting thing meant true sacrifice like I had never imagined before. And in the lonely dark of the middle of the night, I learned that God was there. I felt His sustaining peace and loving presence in a unique way. I had a new appreciation for the fact that God never sleeps. When we awake in the middle of the night crying out for something or someone, He is sitting next to our bed like a young mother waiting for the first whimpering sound indicating that her baby needs her.

 

When it came time for me to go back to work my dependency on God went to a whole new level. I soaked everyday of my 90 day FMLA leave from work, and when it was time to get back to the grind the hubs and I left our 3 month old baby with the only people we felt comfortable with, our moms. However, even with their awesome track record for raising kids (each have 3 either grown or almost grown offspring) it was still so hard to walk out of the door each morning and leave my baby behind. I can remember praying each day, “Ok God, I know that I can’t be there every second for the rest of his life. And even if I was I can’t protect him from everything. So, I am giving him back to you. I trust you.” I knew (and know) that God created this life and loved him more than I could ever dream. But, what I very wise woman pointed out to me was that God trusted me enough to allow me to take care of His creation. Why was I nervous to hand Grayson over to God? He never messes up. The lesson that I learned during this time is that my little man isn’t really mine. He is an incredible blessing that I have been entrusted with. But, the reality is that he is God’s. God knit him together, God sustains him, and God is the one that orders his days. I am called to parent my son the way that God parents me and to be a wise steward of the blessing that he has trusted me with.

 

We have now reached the stage of power struggles, independence and opinions. My little Buddy is his own person and he has no problem with letting that be known. The hubs and I are now walking into a new phase of parenting in which we must learn to discipline in love and because we love him. My little baby has started walking through his own refining fire and most of the time it is more than my heart can handle. But, as I help him to shape his character and learn to make wise choices, the Holy Spirit is quietly speaking to my heart about my own impurities that need to be removed.

 

I start each day asking God to order my steps and to sustain me through what He has for me. And He daily answers that prayer abundantly. I have learned that like 24 karat gold, we too are not strong enough to sustain our shape over any period of time unless we are infused with something stronger than ourselves. As God works out our impurities, He replaces the spot in our heart (mind, character) that they once held. It is only because of His strength that we can sustain the demands of life without losing our shape.

 

Understanding this has impacted every area of my life, including my parenting. Living in the reality of God’s sustaining grace has giving me peace in knowing that He will give me patience when I feel that I am about to snap, wisdom when I don’t know how to handle a situation, unconditional love that will survive a lifetime, and a humble heart that will ask for forgiveness when I make the frequent mistakes that seem to be unavoidable in this life.

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