Laying Down the World – Amber Haines {What the Baby Book Don’t Tell You}

I read so many how-to books on mother/parenthood before my first son was born. I know, especially now after birthing my fourth son, that all the “What-To-Expects” in the world couldn’t prepare me for the responsibility of a life, not really. Even after I follow all the rules I make for myself, when it comes to the how-tos, I still find myself asking when the grown-up is going to come over to help me figure this thing out.

But now I’m much more settled with the not-knowing, how motherhood is so much spirit and so little check-list. I’m resolved to endure.

What the baby books really didn’t tell me, though, is that you prepare and work and clammer for so many good things for your babies (like they are the center of our worlds), but then the globe just keeps spinning, and the lonely we faced before babies is the lonely we still face afterward; and, friends still have addictions; and, the need surrounding us grows greater and greater by the day.

Our sensitivity to the ways we can serve and extend ourselves may even be heightened by motherhood, how the eyes of a needy one on the street can easily trigger your imagination to see the little boy behind his eyes. Motherhood makes malnourished children seem hungrier. The world and the impact of broken marriages seems weightier and weightier.

The baby books didn’t tell me how hard it would be to trust God with the life of my children, and on top of that, how hard it would be to not pick up the whole planet and try to carry it in my heart.

The baby books didn’t tell me about the balancing act – not the act where we can spray the table down, feed the dog, answer the phone, pay bills and throw up a peace sign on instagram all at once, not that one. But rather, I never heard about the balance of laying the weight down because we aren’t big enough to carry it all and of realizing what impact our actions have on generations.

Little by little we lay our burdens down, and little by little we take up responsibility to do that one next thing we’re called to do: correct a hurtful word, ask our children for forgiveness, call a friend who’s hurting, or give a little extra when a need arises.

For me, motherhood is laying down the world and picking up a glass of water or a washrag or a pen. For me, motherhood has been joining a community of wise women, not because we can do it all, but more because we can do just a little, but that little bit changes lives.

One thing that has shown me the impact I can have on my babies and the impact one mother can have on another mother is a book my husband and I curated together called Mother Letters. It’s not a book of how-tos, but rather it’s a book of letters that simply encourages me to endure, to enjoy, and to lay the world back down.

Today I want to encourage you to take this opportunity to offer a small gift to help other mothers give clean water to their babies through Charity: Water. It’s one little thing that we can do together, and in return, I would love to offer one reader a copy of Mother Letters, a book of letters from mothers to mothers, sharing the mess and the glory of motherhood. Leave a comment and share how you handle the balance of stewarding our responsibilities without picking up the entire weight of the world, OR share something amazing you have learned from  A winner will be randomly selected from the comments section on Saturday, May 12.

This post is part of a series celebrating Motherhood.  The unexpected, the surprising, the beautiful.  Paired with a fundraiser for Charity Water, we can help mothers worlds away.  A little bit at a time.  One by one.  Please consider giving today.  And encourage others to give too.  Because your little plus my little can equal one great BIG.  Today’s guest post written by Amber Haines of theRunaMuck.
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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1
    Joelyn says:

    I often think of the quote “Do the next right thing” and I love the words of this post saying to do the next one thing God has called us to. I often question if I’m doing enough in this world with so much hurt and pain, but I know I am serving in the ways God has called me to, and find peace in that.

  2. 2

    i love this, amber. a tremendous encouragement and gentle reminder for me today.
    thank you! xo
    hannah singer´s last blog post is a great day! {miscellany monday}

  3. 3

    I find that although I am not a mother (yet), God has been teaching me this lesson in other ways. I am infertile and have to daily and constantly lay down that large burden and focus on one thing at a time: preparing a healthy meal; feeding the dog; supporting my husband. Otherwise, I will become OCD about trying to control symptoms, health, and ultimately my own fertility when that is not even a possible task. God is good and this is a lesson that everyone can learn, not just mamas.

  4. 4

    This is such a great post. I just gave birth to our first child, a girl, this past Wednesday and so messages like this are really good for me to store up in my mind as I continue to raise her. :)
    Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)´s last blog post ..Introducing Clara

  5. 5
    Joanie says:

    Great post! It’s so interesting the perspective we get when we are responsible for a little one! I loved the thought of balancing being a “letting go of” act instead of a “try to fit more on the scale” act!

  6. 6

    A book I read several years ago was really instrumental in helping me learn how to handle the responsibilities God has given me without taking on other “urgent” things. It is called ‘Tyranny of the Urgent.’ Absolutely a wonderful, encouraging book. It reminded me that sometimes the things that I think are “urgent” aren’t really what God has deemed important for me. The things God has called me to do each moment of each day are really the important things I need to be doing. Sometimes the “urgency” of saving the world can push out the importance of the daily blessings of the godly call to being the wife and mother God has called me to be. Looking forward to reading your book (just purchased) and if it so happens that my name gets picked for the giveaway, I will happily pass it along to bless another mother. :)

  7. 7

    Wow…honestly, I was really pretty selfish until I had children. It’s not that I didn’t care, but I think I wasn’t spiritually ready for things to click into place where compassion was concerned. Then BAM; once I had my firstborn, I wanted to fix everything and everyone! Every hurting child broke my heart. Total mind shift for me. So I’ve had to swing back to the middle and listen for that still, small voice…and give when and where I feel led. It’s hard, isn’t it? I’d love to hear your take on it!
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..This Week.