Thursday, July 19, 2012

The end of one's self

Do you know how hard it is to die to yourself?  Impossibly difficult.  I mean seriously.  I have a fresh perspective.  I now, through having a baby, realize who Jesus really is and what "death to self" actually means.  And it took all of me to realize it.

We think marriage does that.  Yes, there are hard days, but most of us dressed up in a gorgeous dress, got a pretty ring, and have a few disagreements and moments where we surrender even if we are right and choose the way together, not our own way (for the record, my husband is nearly always right, I learned this early).  But for the most part, you mainly get glimpses and not the full reality...until being a mom comes into the picture.  

If you don't know Him and are a mom, here is a quick connection you now have:  Jesus was God incarnate (meaning the last thing He ever needed to do was to become human, mortal and be beat up, abused, scoffed/mocked, spat upon, etc).  He chose to die for us because of the joy that was set before Him in being able to make us right with God (we are all sinners...well at least I haven't met a perfect person yet:)). And this is where the mom thing comes in:

It is the GREATEST thing in the world. But also the HARDEST.  Truly, in order to be great at it, you have to die to any desires you have and pour EVERYTHING into it. EVERYTHING.  I remember going through labor thinking, "This is the only thing in life I cannot quit."  If you have been through labor (and I was induced...icky), you know what I mean.  It is the worst pain in the world and there is no going back. At all. It's not like you can just say, "I will wait til' tomorrow, k?"

That's Jesus.  He knew the pain He would suffer but knew we were worth it.  WORTH everything. Worth life.

This is how I feel about my daughter.  She cried for two straight hours last night and I was beat.  On the floor crying actually because I had no idea what else to do.  So I started singing, worship music.  She fell asleep.

I died to myself, once again, and her beauty and rest arose from it. Just like what happens when we realize that Jesus alone is the one who died for us and loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. 

It was the end of Himself that led to the abundance we get to live.  And I pray I am the exact same for my daughter. Our daughter. Our beautiful promise of a little girl.  

Ruth Charlotte, you rock. And I promise to continually put you above myself.

I love you, baby girl.  And Jesus loves you more (it seems impossible but I know it to be true).

And to the darling girl in Georgia who emailed me, you blessed my heart beyond measure.  Oh how the God of the universe spoke to me through the encouragement of a 22 year old :)  

Love, Anna N


  1. Beautifully written, so true in so many ways. Being a mother is one of the most trying, joyous, wonderful things God entrusted us with. I love your honesty and your little girl is so precious.

  2. beautifully said. I'm sure i'll be emailing you when I have little ones for all your wisdom:) and yeah for encouragement from others! Love are beautiful!

  3. You are SO right on.

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    1. Oh, girl...I so have wondered why certain people just seem to have it so much harder. I mean sooo much harder. I know you have gone through a lot and that could easily beg so many questions. But you are so right-we pursue "joy" like we pursue "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The verse that says, "In my presence is fullness of joy" is one of those that is sometimes such a mystery to me but in brief wise moments (often at 2 am) I realize what it means is singing in the midst of things deemed "no bueno."

      My mom told me that one night, in the middle of the night. I was balling (hysterically) because Ruth hadn't slept in five weeks. That might sound like an exaggeration but literally, my mom stayed for five weeks and it took two of us each night to get a total of 3-5 hours of sleep broken-up. Hence the other words of wisdom from my mom were that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I can smile at that now :)

      Anyway, she said "you need to be singing praises in the midst of this." The verse "bring Him a sacrifice of praise." I was kind of upset. Why, that was the LAST thing I wanted to do. LAST. Ever. But it helped.

      Keep singing. I know there is fruit. Read a lot of Mother Teresa's things-you seem to have a similar heart :)

      And go for a run. I know that sounds odd but I used to go for prayer runs and it sooooo filled my soul. My hips are somewhat beat up now (and no, there isn't great joy in labor....:)), and I so deeply miss those. So deeply. Go do it and let me know how it feels :)

      Love, Anna

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  5. Oh Anna, I know we don't really keep in touch...but I happened to jump on your blog today and was so awe-struck by your words on these past two posts. Motherhood is the most selfless, difficult, passion filled, mind boggling, insanity ride ever. I am 4 years in and find myself daily falling on my face asking for forgiveness, patience, love, compassion and grace to raise these two littles God created FOR me to do so.
    He designed sweet Ruth for YOU and MATT. He made not a single mistake (which you know- it rings so true in your words), He knew you and you alone were all she needed to raise her into a little baby girl, soon to be follower of Christ. You will fail every day at this job, but that is just the humanity of the job. The tricky part is allowing yourslef the grace (as you are clearly doing--well done friend) to stand back up tall, wipe away the tears and say "Jesus, I need a little more of you today".
    You are amazing, and your little family is blessed to have you, just as you feel about them.
    Lauren Feenstra

  6. I am so glad that He prompted me to send you some encouragement :)
    I look up to you so much & am so thankful for the advice you put out there!
    And that is too sweet that Ruth fell asleep when you started singing to her!
    Love & blessings, Hannah :)

  7. You are such a great momma Anna!!! And I just know Ruth will love love love reading this when she's older and being so very thankful for you! :)


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