Friday, October 4, 2013

When I burp you, I burp, too

Before having Naomi I really had no baby experience. I have four younger siblings, but my older sister, who I fondly call Hermanita (despite the fact that she's 4 years older than me), typically took charge in assisting my parents in their (our) care. So this whole parenthood deal has really been learning as I go. Enter the burping phenomena....

Those first couple months were definitely a struggle to find a balance of how much Naomi could eat before she had to burp to keep her from being fussy and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. There were times I would sit for what seemed like hours and just be patting, patting, patting her on the back. I'd lay her across my lap, have her on my shoulder, put her in a sitting position, lay her on her tummy, pat-pat-patting the entire time. It was exhausting, to be honest, because by the time I was able to get a little gas out of her little tummy, she'd be ready to eat all over again. Made for long days, that's for sure. Other times, she'd be happily eating away, not putting up a fuss, and with one pat on the back she'd let out a ginormous man-burp. Great, right? Nope, because up with the gas came all the food I just fed her. And then she'd be hungry again, and I'd be sad. Can a mama catch a break?

Why do all the mamas in the Google Images of burping children have happy faces? I, for one, am typically tired and maybe even a little sad when I have to go through all these burping positions. Lol. #firsttimemamadrama
Here's a fun fact for ya: over half the time when I burp Naomi, I end up burping as well. The majority of the times when that happens, I'll burp first. Do you know how frustrated that used to make me?? Here I am at the crack of dawn or the middle of the night or even midday, typically wishing I could just close my eyes for a few minutes of sleep. Instead, I'm trying to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of getting a gas bubble out of my little one's tummy, and instead of that happening for her, it happens to me. I DON'T NEED TO BURP!!! I mean, really! She's the one who'll be crying and fussing and wriggling and making me feel like a failing mom if she doesn't adequately burp. Not me! I'm just fine burping her without burping myself, thank you very much.

I remember the first time the Lord showed me the spiritual lesson in this situation. I was sitting on my bed, sleepy (typical), and just so. freakin. tired. of working so hard to get the results out of my baby that I knew would make the day go much better. Then here I go, burping, when as far as I knew, I wasn't even gassy; Naomi was!

So often in life I will work hard and seek results out of other people. I'll see something in them that could use adjustment--character, attitude, whatever--and I'll put all my energy and good intentions into changing them for the better. More often than not when this is the case, I'll find out along the way that while I'm trying to do a work in someone else, the Lord is more importantly trying to do a work in me. For example, and of course this is purely hypothetical, hehe, there may be things about my husband--mannerisms or actions--that I am just certain that if I just work my wifely magic, I can change him and then things would be better in our home. There are friends I might pursue and begin going to work on them to make them into better people or better Christians, knowing that if I just do this, they'll be all better and the world would be better because of my actions. It can apply to so much more! Siblings, parents, coworkers--it doesn't matter who.

See, here's the problem with this mindset; it's rooted in pride! We've all heard (or maybe you haven't?) that saying of "always at the center of pride is I". I am going to do this, this, and this, so that I can change this person, so that I can make things better. I am going to nag and complain and pursue and push to make things happen so that I can make the point that my way is indeed the best way. I am going to.... you fill in the blank from here! All along God is showing me, no, you may be trying to do this your way, but I am going to do a work in you first. You see, it isn't always that the things that we are doing or trying to change or make better are wrong. Is it wrong for me to want my friend to recognize where's she's strayed from the Lord and to turn back to Him? No, of course not! The issue arises when I become so consumed with her issues and problems that I forget about my own. My lack of humility and lack of awareness of my own need of grace leads to the Lord causing me to "burp first." He first does a work in me, and in doing so, perhaps then He does a work in someone else.

I am happy to say that burping Naomi has become much easier as the months have passed. She's much more adept at burping on her own, which definitely saves me some time and energy, and definitely some bibs. I really do believe that the Lord used this basic of parenting to open my eyes to my need of His work in me before I focus on someone else.