For those of you who follow the blog regularly, you know that last fall I wrote a lot about being pregnant. Then, at the end of December we welcomed our baby girl into the world and now I have to write a post about nursing.
Because sometimes it feels like feeding the baby is all I ever do anymore! Last week, I nursed this chubby child for two days straight minus sleeping. I couldn’t get anything else done and the other three children were starting to be seriously unsupervised. It felt like I’d never be able to do anything but feed the baby ever again! But that’s the funny thing about growth spurts: they come in spurts. Intense eating is followed by intense sleeping, and it’s a constant adjustment as our bodies grow and change.
Just like growth spurts, life is always changing and no two days are ever the same. Growing has a lot of ups and downs on the way. So whether you are raising kids, learning to live with your spouse, trying to have children, or working hard at your job, we all work through growth spurts where things are always changing. The goal is to press on and take what God has to teach us through these ups and downs.
I find that a baby’s growth spurts are similar to the growth of my soul. Prayer is the way our souls grow, and there are some days where I get good prayer time in, and some when I don’t. On good days, I have patience and quality time with the kids, and the house gets cleaned. I thank God for these days. Because I know there are other days when it’s all I can do to get everyone fed and beg God to get me through the day.
Some times my prayer life is rich. I have a growth spurt on which I’m feeding on the Word of God and listening to the Spirit in my heart. Like a tree planted beside the water, my faith is rooted deep and I grow closer to God.
Other days all I can say is, “Jesus, help me. I’m hanging on.” The world can start to spin around and I don’t know which way is up or how I can keep my head above water. But if my roots are deep from the times of rich prayer, they can get me through the times of dryness and desperation.
Bad days keep me humble and remind me of my need for God. Good days are ones that I can be thankful for seeing God’s presence in my life.
So the one thing I can tell you from my experience of these growth spurts: even when things are bad and I feel desperate and overwhelmed, I never tell God to go away. I make sure to go to Mass each Sunday, no matter what state I am in (physically or emotionally) because I know that my short spurts of prayer and the grace of the Eucharist are my lifeline. I can survive without a shower or a hot cup of coffee. But I can’t survive without grace. I need Jesus daily (even if its in a short cry of help), and I need to at least get to Sunday Mass (even if it’s in the cry room).
So even when you are feeling overwhelmed and far from God, one thing is for sure: never give up. The worst thing you can do is give up on God (because He never gives up on us!) There’s always hope that we can do better, pray better, and that tomorrow can be different. If you’ve not tried praying in a while, or you’ve missed Sunday Mass a few times, there is always the present to start over: get yourself to confession (it’s Lent!) and get a brand new start. God meets us where we are and wants to grow with us.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5