Tuesday, June 19, 2007

For the Postpartum Mama

Shhh...there, lay him down softly. I know, he is beautiful. God has been gracious to you, my sister-friend. Safely He has carried you through this pregnancy and delivery, and now, safely He will carry you through all else. How do I know?

Come with me - the baby will sleep for a bit, and you will, too. But first, lie down and put your feet in my lap. Rest your head, close your eyes...

Let me speak words of truth to you.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night
his song is with me
a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)

The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD
blesses his
people with
peace. (Psalm 29:11)

I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

They will speak of the glorious splendor
of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.

They will tell of the glory of
your kingdom and speak of your might,

so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all

The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.

The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all
his ways and loving toward all he has made.

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever. (Psalm 145)

The Psalms are a gift, truly. (Breathe a prayer of thanksgiving with me for the heart of David, and others, who expressed themselves so honestly, both whole and broken before Him.)

The Psalms have visited me as irrational thought took over. In those first days and weeks of a new baby in the home, not much around me seemed to bring peace.

I knew that when it began to grow dark, it simply signaled that night had begun. But what I felt was that the most trying time of the day was beginning.

I knew that only what was within the walls of my home mattered at that time, but what I felt was that the world was flying past me, and somehow, I needed to be doing more.

At my most irrational, as I held a new baby in my tired arms, the rational, constant words of the Psalms held me up. They pointed me to the goodness of the Lord.

I did not cling to the Psalms that spoke of despair, although they paint a perfect picture of those moments.

I did not hold to the Psalms that spoke of repentance, for that time was surely still to come.

I held fast to lasting words of praise. Words like for ever and ever...
You are loving to all You have made.
You lift up all who are bowed down.
You are good to all.
You have compassion on all You have made.
I will meditate on Your wonderful works.
Abundant goodness.
At night, Your song is with me.

...And I spoke words such as I will...
I will proclaim.
I will meditate.
I will joyfully sing.
I will speak of your might.
I will...I will...I will...

And the most comforting?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who
watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
neither slumber nor sleep.
(Psalm 121:2-4)

The night. That is when the darkness crept in. I tried vainly to scatter the shadows before they took hold of me, but it was no use. It is then that Psalm 121 came to me, and I clung to it as tightly as tiny, new fingers clinging to hair on the nape of my neck - don't let go.

You may be so weary that your eyes droop; your chin touches your chest while you are nursing. Or rocking. Or even pacing, patting a tiny back. And when your head really does touch the pillow, even for a moment, and your eyes close as you drift into fitful, worried sleep, He does not.

While you rest, He watches over your little ones. He watches over you.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
(Psalm 23:2-3)

Sleep, my friend. Rest in His pasture, rest with the assurance of the Father watching over you, smiling at your whiffling snore. He touches the baby's head, even marveling Himself at its' softness. He sends evil fleeing from even the darkest corner, and He whispers life into your weary bones.

He will restore your soul. Does that not deserve the highest praise? Yes, even we, the irrational postpartum mama's, can give him praise - and all praise is good.

Speak words of truth. Of rationale. And let them be spoken to you.

Thinking on -rejoicing!- in the miraculous birth of my newest nephew, Lucas David. Welcome to the world, little one. We thank the Father for sharing you with us!

21 fellow travelers shared:

Amy said...

We both have new nephews, Elise!

What beautiful and true words. I'll have to forward this on to my sister-in-law because surely she will experience those familiar nights!

What a sweet name...Lucas David! Both my husband and Parker have the middle name David:)

Staci said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I love this. I am not post-partum, but it spoke to me.
I will proclaim
I will praise
I will bow down
I will glorify

I will, I will, I will.

Thank you, sister.

Andrea said...

Oh, yes.
How many times did I nurse, crying, with a Bible open to the Psalms before me in my bed in the middle of the night?
Love the Psalms.

Audrey said...

He restores my soul
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names sake!

Amen, Amen, Amen!

Beka said...

What would we do without the Psalms? You included some of my favorites here: Psalm 121 and 145, and the verse from Psalm 42.

These are things I will remember even now...
the "forevers" to comfort and the "I wills" to direct the next step. Thank you, dear friend.

Beverly said...

Elise! I am not a new momma, but I so needed to read this. I will be forwarding it to a couple of friends as well. What beautiful words ... what wonderful promises from our Lord. And yes, "all praise is good." Also, congratulations to your family! Welcome, sweet Lucas David.

tonia said...

Congratulations on your new addition! Nephews are precious and dear.

Beautiful post.

Munchkin Land said...

Oh, post-partum grabbed me by both fists and took hold. Even now the doctor has taken precautionary steps with this second birth. I did not cling to the promises in the Psalms during that time after Devyn's birth, but I am finding SO much peace this time around and I know its because of my daily time with Him.

Thank you for this piece, Elise, thank you! I love it when women can recognize that post-partum really exists and reach out to those who need it. Congrats on the birth of your nephew! How thrilling!!

Wendy said...

Thank you for sharing such awesome words with us!

I will be sharing this link with others. My youngest is 7, so I am past that stage, but remember it well!

You have a wonderful way of expressing things!


TaunaLen said...

Beautiful! As others have said, this post brought me comfort and peace, though my youngest babe is seventeen. My son turned eighteen yesterday, and still I need these Psalms to remind me - as I sit awake at night, sleepy, and sleepless - waiting for my oldest child to come home from socializing with her friends. Darkness without 'light' and 'truth' can threaten me like no other enemy. But with the reassurance of God's loving promises, I can rest and trust and be strengthened.

Thank you, thank you.


Joel and Jaime said...

How very wise! Congrats on the birth of your nephew! My husband's middle name is David too :)

Christine said...

Oh, my, you've been peeking in my window again...

This was such an encouragement to me, Elise. You are a blessing.

busybusymomma said...

Beautifully said. And congrats to you and your sister's family on welcoming new life. :) Isn't He good?

Alycia said...

Beautiful Elise. Such a touching and warm post and you have blessed so many by sharing your heart with us. God is always faithful, always good ~ blessings to you this weekend.

Holly said...

Congratulations on a new nephew! :)

Beautiful words for new mamas to rest upon!

schnuckiputzi said...

Thank you so much for your openness to God's Word. I am not postpartum, but am in chemo treatment, and these words have spoken Life to me. I have been lurking, reading your blog for some time, but felt led to let you know you are blessing many people you do not know. Thanks again.

The Preacher's Wife said...

I suffered from this at one point in my life and wow - do I wish I'd had these words then!

Beautiful...as always


Anonymous said...

Wow, thank-you. I am postpartum and my son's name is David, what you have written using Gods Word has blessed me. :)

Katherine@Raising Five said...

I love the Psalms. They speak like nothing else can, especially in the night hours, and I'm uh, 3 1/2 years postpartum....

bluemountainmama said...

beautiful, elise..... what a nurturing soul you are! too bad i didn't know you five years ago.... i could've used these words then:)

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