Preparing My Heart for Motherhood

Originally published on July 18, 2011. Republished in light of our top 10 celebration on PH!

With each new little one that the Lord chose to bless us with, there is a certain amount of preparation and pruning that my heart must go through before being in a place to welcome them with open hands. I honestly go through serious withdraws as the last few weeks of pregnancy linger over me. Thoughts such as, “What am I doing? Am I ready for this? Number 3? Ahh!” Can I honestly be the godly joy-filled mother that I desire to be? Can I embrace this child with a heart of love and gratitude? How can I turn my eyes from the reality of the work ahead of me and truly embrace the change?

Take a Retreat.

I have found taking a personal retreat prior to having a new little one to be an invaluable exercise towards preparing my heart for this new stage in my journey of motherhood. Get away, spend time with the Lord, read His word, and pray. Pray for grace. I must acknowledge that this task is certainly beyond my ability. I cannot be a good mother on my own strength. I will stumble and fall…time and time again. I need to let go find grace in His arms.

Meditate on the Blessing of Children.

Jesus loved children. He welcomed them. He embraced them. (Matthew 18:2-6; Mark 9:37; Matthew 19:13-15). He promised in His word that they are a blessing, a heritage, a reward. They are His generous legacy chosen to be passed down through us. Children are a weapon – a tool entrusted into our hands to be prepared to wage war in the enemies camp. With the influence and power of God’s gift of children, no one can stand against us! (Psalms 127:3; Deut. 28:4).

Embrace the Change.

I believe it is important to realize and acknowledge that motherhood is hard work. It is work. And yet it is beautiful work. When God designed work back in the Garden, He designed that it was good. Work is a good thing. I like how Timothy Keller defines work as the art of bringing together the raw materials and forming it into something that flourishes, something that brings life to those around you. I love that! So for me as a mother, my work is the art of bringing together the raw materials in my home, food, children’s hearts and character, their body’s, and working them carefully, nuturingly, beautifully, so that my children, my husband, our home, and those God sends into our lives might truly flourish.

I need to embrace the fact that God’s grace is sufficient for the change, the tireless nights, the repeated needs and demands around me. His grace is mine! It has been fashioned for me before time began. It’s new every morning. The process of mothering is a sanctifying work. Change stretches and grows us drawing us nearer to our Lord. God is working in and through to for His good pleasure. And He promises to never leave or forsake you.

So recognize that it will be work, chose to embrace it, and the Lord will cause you to flourish. This is my work. Remember that this work is your worship.

Make a Thankfulness List.

Why not make a list of simple truths and reminders that you could post near your bed as gentle reminders for those late night feedings. They could be verses that relate specifically to you or to your baby. You are beautiful (I am fearfully and wonderfully made). You are loved! (You are loved with an everlasting love).

Passing on the Torch.

Recognize the high calling and mission you are about to embark on.

Psalms 78:1-7 gives us this commission:

O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.

We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done...
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God

and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.

That is a beautiful calling!

Read a good book.

Before each birth, I try to read a good inspiring read about the calling of motherhood. Currently, I am reading A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming, and it has been so refreshing to my soul. If you cannot get to a book or desire something in addition to, be refreshed by Rachel Jankovic’s articles on Motherhood: Motherhood is a Calling and Motherhood as a Mission Field. Check out my list of favorite reads on motherhood for further recommendations.

Pray for your Baby.

It’s never too early to start praying for your baby. Oh, I forget this every day. So today, I am sitting here praying for this new little life in my womb. I am praying for a particular life verse or life hymn that might be a strong reminder for them through the thick and thin of life. We have chosen a life hymn for each of our children in the past and this serves as a gentle reminder to continue to sing these hymns over them. I am also re-printing out this helpful free 31 Days of Prayer for Your Children.

So my heart is in a state of rest in this moment as my soul is prepared for this new little life. I will chose to see the beauty and embrace it wholeheartedly, as this is the work assigned to me! It is a beautiful work and His strengthen is mine for each step of the way.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

35 Responses to Preparing My Heart for Motherhood

  1. Sophia Grace August 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Thank you for this blog. It’s so beautiful.

  2. meeka April 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Very beautiful post

  3. Angie Tolpin February 1, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Lindsay- Thank you for sharing this post with me and allowing me to “quote your content” from this post in the FREE Growth & Study Guide for Redeeming Childbirth! It was an inspiration to see another young mother being so intentional in her preparation!

    Love you girl

  4. jessie September 5, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    encouraged by this post again — i sent it to some other expectant mamas months ago — as my due date gets closer. thank you!

  5. forum watch August 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Thanks for all of the hard work on this web site. I admit, I have not been on this website in a long time, however it was joy to find it again. It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals! I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

  6. Tara July 28, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    So many wonderful thoughts, and just what I needed right now. I’m not pregnant, but have been feeling prompted and called to have baby #5, and am still getting my heart in line with that idea. I know that if God is calling me to this, then he will help me to make it work even if it seems like a crazy idea! Thank you!

  7. Melody July 26, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Thank you so much for writing such an encouraging article! I too am preparing my heart for another little one soon, and found your reminders to be so helpful. What a joy to be preparing for a little one! I passed along the link to your article to some other expecting friends… Thanks again :)

  8. Karly July 21, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Thank you for posting this. I especially appreciated the section on the blessing of children. All too often I feel burdened by the responsibility and frustrations one day can bring with three little ones. I have been thinking on the words you wrote and what God says in His word, and remembering each of my children as His blessing and heritage makes such a difference in the way I approach each day and situation. Like you, I also believe it is important to remember that motherhood is hard work, but so worthwhile. When I recall this truth, I feel less frenetic and more purposeful!

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  10. Lisa July 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your heart, taking time to be intentional with your time with Jesus and preparing for your baby. I’m right ahead of you at 39 weeks, due this Sunday the 24th with my first! Scary and exciting! Thankfully God is the Faithful One…. Blessings to you and yours!

  11. Denise July 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Your post was a real blessing to me even though you and I are at very different seasons in our parenting. I’m the mother of twelve, and I’ve been a mom for nearly 21 years. Despite all my experience, your post held significant reminders.

    I loved your statement that, “This work is my worship.” How I needed those words! This morning was especially full of misbehavior by a number of my kiddos, and I allowed myself a pity party. My attitude was sin!

    Your statement, “Children are a weapon – a tool entrusted into our hands to be prepared to wage war in the enemy’s camp,” was incredibly well timed–and encouraging.

    Yesterday my 19-year-old daughter got her visa to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, in August for a short-term missions trip. She’ll be helping to teach the gospel in VBS program in an orphanage. Her twin brother had hoped to travel to Syria this week, but the unrest there prevented the group from our church getting their visas.Now he’s looking for some other way to serve internationally. Today, our 18-year-old daughter got her visa to live in a central Asian country for several months working as a homeschool helper for a couple of families there. (She’ll travel there with her dad :) )

    My husband and I have reached the era in our parenting where our arrows are being launched for Kingdom work. Your words left me that much more excited that our oldest children have a love of Christ and desire to serve Him in the far reaches of our world.

    This older, grayer mother thanks you for your God-given wisdom. You’ve blessed and encouraged me.

    Denise

  12. Nola July 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I appreciate you sharing this, and look forward to the other parts you plan on writing especially about postpartum. I am in my first trimester and right now I honestly feel like just sitting and crying since I am feeling so awful- nausea, tired, hormonal…you know how it goes. Once I am past the first trimester it should be easier, but there are still challenges ahead. I really want this pregnancy to be easier on my family than the last one…meaning that I personally have to have an attitude change. Honestly I am just feeling too worn out to even try sometimes. And then I worry about the post partum stage too and how to cope having 3 kids (postpartum has in the past been very difficult for me). I think ahead to what I am going to do when ___ happens and then I start to panic! And this is obviously how NOT to act. So thank you for reminding me of this. I look forward to reading more.

  13. Megan July 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Thank you for being genuinely honest with us *and* for always pointing us to Christ. You are an encouragement to a weary mother’s heart :)

  14. c July 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    thank you for this post. My husband and I hope that God blesses us with more children, but there are times that my 18 month old twins bring out the very worst in me and I wonder how I could handle more children. I’ve been thinking and praying over the issue for a while, because I don’t want to refuse and of the blessings God has for me, but blessings can be a lot of work!

  15. Ashley July 19, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Taking a personal retreat- that is such a good idea! Like a calm before the proverbial storm. :)

  16. Tempe July 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Wonderful thoughts! I wish I had read this before my second arrived – he is 8 months old. I didn’t feel overwhelmed until after he was born, and I think I could have used some extensive heart preparation ahead of time.

  17. Olivia July 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    My third baby is 8wks old tomorrow. I love your post (and your blog). I find that it’s my older children that need my prayers more than the baby. Actually I find babies the easiest of my children as the older children – especially those at school have different battles and struggles to face. Firstly for their Mums attention, then pressures from school, fitting in etc and their own wants…. I guess what I’m saying is thanks for your post and with the joy of a new baby don’t forget our bigger kids really need our prayers, because for a little while, they don’t get much of our attention.

    Good luck with your birth.

  18. Michaela July 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I am 9 weeks with my first and I feel so blessed to have found this blog so early in my pregnancy (at 5 weeks) and I have learned and realized so much already! I know that reading the bible will teach me so much but sometimes it takes another Christian to help guide you and point out things you miss. This article got me thinking and I am going to share it with others. Bless you and your family!! God has given you a wonderful gift for helping other christian mothers, please dont ever stop using it!!

  19. Terri Bonin July 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    I am due with my tenth blessing next month, and I will say that preparing for another blessing never gets old!! My almost 17 year old daughter stopped me today and said, “Mom, thank you for giving me so many siblings! I cannot imagine life with out them. I know you gave up a lot to do this!”

    What a blessing that was to me!! I assured her that anything I gave up in order to have a large family, dulled in comparison to the blessing of raising them. God is faithful even when a mom can’t see the future through the dishes and the laundry. Nothing compares to His blessings.

    Congratulations to you!!

  20. Adrienne Johnson July 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I really appreciate how God so often and so timely speaks things into my heart from your blog. I’ve been reading your blog for more than 2 years now and always feel a connection. We are expecting our third child soon also, and this post is a blessing to nudge me back onto a focused path of praying for my children. Thank you!

  21. Natalie @ Maple Leaf Circle July 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Beautiful post . . . reminds us all that each new life is a special gift from God to be cherished, protected and prayed over. I love the idea of a life hymn for each child. May God bless your growing family!

  22. Sarah July 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    I just gave birth to our first little one a week ago today and this post was particularly encouraging to me. The Lord prepared my heart well for all the changes, and blessed us with straightforward labour at home, but it’s great to be reminded of these things again. I did have to have a couple of stitches, and used your witch hazel and aloe vera recipe which has helped so much – I could barely feel them after just 3 days. Thank you for all the wisdom and encouragement on your blog.

  23. Carly July 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Thank you for your words of truth about motherhood! Our second baby is 2 months old today and I find myself having the worst attitude at times about the “work” I am having to do. 2 kids in diapers, toddler misbehavior, laundry…the list could go on if I let it. Knowing that this is good work that God has called me to is inspiring. Our world doesn’t elevate homemakers the way that it should and at times it can feel like a lonely and thankless job. Thank you for the great reminder :)

  24. jordan July 18, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about managing the struggles that come with a new baby! I am due with our second (20 months apart) in September and sometimes I feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed and tired, even though I am also thrilled and excited by the new life. My little year and a half year old keeps me very busy and thinking of having MORE responsibility added is just too big a thought for me – only by the Lord’s help and strength! I look forward to your coming series – preparing for postpartum -! And God bless your last few weeks of pregnancy and the delivery of your precious baby.

  25. Victoria July 18, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Such an encouraging time. My little one is 5 and half months old and I too chose a hymn for him that I sing to him several times throughout the day. I even have the verses hung over his diaper table so I can sign to him as I am changing his diaper. It’s not the only song I sing to him of course, but every time I hear “Take My Life” I think of my little one and how someday, Lord willing, he will be able to sing it for himself!

  26. Danielle July 18, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Oh I love this post, and look very much forward to the other posts regarding babies, and motherhood! I myself if God wills it may be on the path to being a mother. It makes me happy, and blessed to think about it, but sometimes I do get anxious, and fearful. Prayers are my medicine. God is the way!

  27. Amanda July 18, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Thank you for your beautiful perspective! The world tells us to focus on the things we “need” for baby, but how often do we fail to prepare our hearts and bodies for baby? I’m due with my second in November and have been trying to prepare better this time than I did for my first.

  28. Aimee July 18, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    What beautiful, inspiring words. I recall vividly how overwhelming those last few weeks can be, just before new motherhood, and I can imagine this advice would go a long way in settling the spirit. Wonderful post.

  29. Lacey Wilcox July 18, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    My daughter is 10 months old, and this is still incredibly relevant for me. I don’t think I had really prepared my heart when she was born, and so I fell into a lot of the things you talk about here. Definitely bookmarking this for the next one :)

  30. Danielle July 18, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I will definitely be reading this again when the littles are down for nap. We are due with our fourth child in January which means a new vehicle is on the horizon. We are starting school with my oldest this fall which is monumental in itself. There are so many times that I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the task, but know that God will equip me when it is time. Thank you again for the tips.

  31. Julie July 18, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    I’ll never forget the struggle I had after having my first child. The pressures from society made me feel as if I should be contributing financially to our family. I stayed home through it all, and one day right before my second child, God gave me peace in my heart that there is NO other job in the world as important as being a mom. I felt as if He had given me these children for me to raise, care for, and nurture through every day of their childhood. I took pride in contributing financially by being frugal with the money my husband earned. Of course motherhood is tough, but there is no other place I’d want to be than here, in my home with my children. And now we’re on to homeschooling which is something I never thought I’d do. You never know the path God lays, but you have to listen to know the direction. Good luck to the new moms out there. It’s such a blessing.

  32. Allyson @ A Heart for Home July 18, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    Thank you so much for the reminder to prepare for each new little one. With #4 (in less than 5 years) due in about 5 weeks I really need to purposefully take time to prepare my heart. I love your acknowledgement that motherhood is work, but you are so right about work being good!

  33. Mandy July 18, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    I’m due Sept 1 & really related to this post! Bless you & your growing family!

  34. Jenni July 18, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    I love the idea of choosing a life hymn for each child! Thanks for sharing these ideas. :)

  35. Kimberly July 18, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    Thank you for this article! We are due in October with our first child and I am at the point where I am overwhelmed with all that lies ahead of us. Reading this helps me take a deep breath and let God take control. It also helps me not feel guilty for wanting to go on a personal retreat.