Before you ask – I’m not expecting a baby and don’t expect to be. But, I have “been there and done that” three times. I’m sure I even had some corny t-shirt with something like “Baby on Board” scrawled across the front.
However, many of you are expecting or know someone who is. Whether it’s your first, second, or fifth, big changes are ahead. It’s really impossible to fully know what to expect. That’s why I’ve invited my wise friend Julie Sanders to visit with us today about her brand new book “Expectant: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms.”
Julie’s first baby has grown up and gone off to college and the second is close behind. Having a baby looked different than she expected, but the motherhood journey has exceeded all she imagined. As a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher, and women’s ministry leader, Julie enjoys walking the path of motherhood with moms in all seasons.
Julie, how is motherhood different than you expected?
I knew I would love our children, but I never imagined how much I would enjoy our children. Every season has been amazing, but moving through the changes of childhood, along with the accidents and surprises, has kept me prayerful. Being a mom is great for your prayer life!
Being a mom has stretched me more personally than I ever expected. God uses motherhood to expose my weaknesses, my failures, and my sin. While I’ve been watching our kids grow, God has been growing my heart and life.
What was most difficult for you during the “young years?” How did you grow as a mother?
When I delivered our first baby, nothing happened the way we anticipated. I was left with fear and disappointment, and it took a long time for me to feel whole again. Feeling fragile was not only hard, it wasn’t what I expected.
I always wanted to have children, but I also loved being a teacher. Making a transition to spending the day with the baby at home was not as easy as I thought it would be, and before long I found myself overcommitted and worn out. I was challenged to take a close look at where I found my identity and where I placed my trust. Motherhood turned out to be as much about growing me as growing our children.
Your website is called Come have a Peace. How do you find peace as a mother?
God means for us to live out our days experiencing His peace in the practical, real life, relational stuff. For a mom, it seems impossible sometimes, but we don’t have to live in discouragement. God desire to fill us with peace, and Jesus said we find it in Him, (John 16:33). Mamas need that message all day, every day, and often through the night.
God has used major transitions, distance from family, and multiple crises in our lives to show me my “peaceful mom’s heart” does not depend on my circumstances. I’ve become a “pray all day” kinda mom who cries out often and openly to the only perfect Parent we know, God Himself. I’ve learned to give myself a lot of grace, not expect perfection, and to refuse to compare myself to moms around me. And I give our kids a lot of grace, trying to keep the “big picture” in mind as God unfolds His plans for them.
In Expectant, Julie honestly shares her heart, her own experiences, and the truth of God’s Word to encourage young women as they enter into motherhood. The devotions are organized into sections about you, other grown-ups, the baby, and your new normal. Each one includes words from scripture to grow your heart, as well as questions to get the conversation started with a friend, mentor, or dad-to-be. It’s formatted so that it would be easy to do with a partner or small group of moms.
Connect with Julie at her website Come Have a Peace, where she offers peace for your days by sharing God’s truth for the things of life, marriage, and motherhood. As you grow your family, she will help you grow your Expectant heart on the journey of motherhood.