My Greatest Sea Change
Sea change. It’s a phrase originally coined by Shakespeare in The Temptest and introduced to me by Shauna Niequist. By definition, a sea change is a profound or notable transformation.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written in this corner of the internet. A big reason for that is because I’ve been going through my own sea change: Motherhood.
In September of 2017, I became a mama. Talk about a notable transformation. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully express the ways my heart, priorities, and daily life shifted when we brought home that tiny bundle. Wrapped in pink with a full head of fuzzy blonde hair peeking out, she needed us for everything. I gained a new title of “mom” and lost my identity all in the same day.
Motherhood has been the most exhaustingly fulfilling, hilariously frustrating, and debilitatingly wonderful experience of my life. It has required stepping up and letting go all at the same time. Most days it has me hanging in a bizarre balance between anxiety and surrender as a bazillion questions about her health, her diet, her nap schedule, her diaper contents, her intellectual and gross motor maturity, and her character development roll through my mind – 80% of which I know I’m unable to control.
Then, there are the questions I have about how motherhood fits in with the other passions the Lord has given me. What does a career look like for a mom who desires to be engaged in shepherding her daughter’s heart? How do I parent well without ignoring the roaring drive inside me to create, lead and serve outside the home?
To be brutally honest, motherhood initially unhinged what I thought I knew about myself and where I was going. I was sailing in uncharted territory and felt completely clueless and often frustrated navigating the landmine of contradicting “shoulds” and “no-no’s” out there on the internet for new moms. My schedule or when I could sleep were no longer things I could control. Somedays, I felt like my only value was in my new role as a 24-hour, all-you-can eat buffet for our newborn daughter.
Today, I’ve adjusted and grown to love my new life where nap schedules determine my days, grocery runs are for more puffs instead of Pinot, and taking showers or going to the bathroom by myself is a rare luxury. Life looks different than it did prior to September 2017 when David and I spent weekends watching Netflix and going to our separate work out classes, but it also looks different than it did in September 2018 or event last month.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past 18 months it’s that children are constantly changing. Talk about sea change! My little blonde bundle has been through about 12 notable transformations since we brought her home from the hospital. Sleeping through the night, sitting up, learning to eat, walking, learning the word “no,” dropping her second nap; all of these milestones required us to adjust too.
I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t figured this motherhood thing out yet, but I love this new season of life and the way it has transformed me in the best sort of way. It’s stripped me of selfishness, forced me to grow in patience, and expanded my capacity to love more than I thought was possible. Today, I have established an imperfect but doable work-life blend that allows me to use my gifts outside the home (through marketing consulting) and continue pursuing my dreams (like attending DTS) while remaining engaged in my daughter’s life. I expect what that looks like will continue to change as our family does. (For those of you who don’t know, baby girl #2 is coming in May 2019!)
18 months ago, I think this uncertainty and constant change would have been frustrating to me, but today I view it as a gift. As a child of God, it seems only fitting that I, too, should be continually transforming like my baby girls are doing daily. The first several months of motherhood was a dramatic sea change for me and perhaps the future holds additional shifts that will flip my world upside down again. But I find comfort in knowing God is consistent and unchanging.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
The unchanging love of God reminds me of something the writer Sarah Kay once penned, “There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
A few months ago, we took a family trip to visit my in-laws in Hawaii. We lathered our blonde-haired princess in sunscreen and walked her down to the beach to see the waves. While she loved the sand, the waves terrified her.
I thought her reaction was understandable but interesting. As an adult, I find the sound of the waves relaxing. I’ve learned to find beauty in their consistency and after years of visiting the beach, I associate that sound with the unique beauty that comes along with them. My sweet daughter, on the other hand, recognized the unbridled power behind those crashing waves and was afraid.
Isn’t this just like the experience of encountering God? When we first behold Him and feel Him moving in our lives, it can feel uncertain and scary. When we are in the middle of a personal sea change directed by the Holy Spirit, it’s natural to be afraid and uncomfortable. Yet, the more often we surrender to the transforming power of God, the easier it is to trust Him. The more we experience fruit from trusting Him with our changing circumstances, new responsibilities or leaps of faith the easier it is recognizing the beauty of His power and the consistency of His love.
My prayer as I continue to navigate this constantly-changing season of new motherhood is to be grateful for the ebb and flow of change and to continue growing along the way. I’m honestly not sure how often I can commit to write on my blog, but I promise to share with you what I am learning in this season as I am led.
Praying for you too as you face your own sea change and that you find hope in the way “the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
Photo credit goes to the talented Faith Blessing.