Monday, September 14, 2009

Are you smarter than a newborn baby?

"I was not born yesterday"...I have heard these words many times, uttered in anger or screamed in frustration, as someone tries to explain that they are much more intelligent than they are being given credit for. The more time I spend with newborn babies, the more I realize that there is a lot to be learned from those who were born just yesterday. I have learned, as a mother, that my capacity for love can expand and my heart can grow in amazing ways as I peer at my newborn child. I have learned that I can survive on a lot less sleep than I ever thought possible. I have learned to do a lot of things one handed, including making p. b. & j. sandwiches and changing diapers. I have learned the difference between Huggies and Pampers. I have learned how to burp my baby, calm her when she is crying, and how she likes to be held best. This, however, is not what I am talking about...
A friend recently told me a story she had heard about a mother and her newborn child. The baby girl had been born with complications and was barely hanging on to life. She had a dangerously low heart rate and was gray from a lack of oxygen. The doctors, despite their efforts, were unable to improve the baby's condition at all. They handed the baby over to her mother and apologized, instructing her to enjoy the little time she had with the baby. The mother held her dying child as close as she could, with the baby lying on her bare chest, their hearts together. As the mother snuggled and grieved her newborn infant, a miraculous thing happened. The baby's heart rate began to increase. Her color slowly changed from gray to pink. Somehow, with nothing more than the closeness to her mother, the baby was resuscitated. My friend went on to share with me that the baby is now a healthy normal toddler.
I recently had a really rough night with my own newborn baby. I had had a few days of non stop busyness and was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. This, coupled with the sleep deprivation from having a newborn in the house, was getting to me and I felt desperate for a good night sleep, or at least a few good hours of sleep. Unfortunately, my infant daugher did not cooperate, and instead was getting up to nurse every hour all night long. By about 4 a.m. I was completely worn out. The baby, however, was wide awake, even after her feeding. I needed so badly to sleep and was unsure of how I was going to find the energy to survive the rest of the sleepless night. After my crazy, chaotic days and this seemingly endless night of wakefulness, I was literally emotionally distraught. Knowing I was in no shape to care for the baby, I put her, crying, in her bassinet. I went out to the family room to try to pull myself together. Tim, trying to be as helpful as he could be, got her out of the bed and was rocking her in the rocking chair when I returned to our room a few minutes later. Even though her daddy was lovingly holding and rocking her, the baby would not relax. I could hear her whimpering and sighing every few moments, as Tim gently rocked her. Seeing that there was no comforting her he finally handed her to me. As soon as I took her, we both relaxed. I sat in the dark holding her, with tears of frustration and exhaustion running down my face, and she melted into me, laying her tiny head on my shoulder. Her whimpering subsided and her breathing slowed into a quiet peaceful rhythm. Within moments she was sleeping soundly and my own frustration faded away. Though she is only a few weeks old and knows so little of the world, she knew I was upset and she was upset by that. She could not relax until she was reassured that I was close by and okay. As soon as she felt me nearby and calm, all was fine in her world again.
I realized, in the dark of the night with my beautiful baby sleeping in my arms, that she has the right idea. The way to cope in life is to put all your trust in Someone and rest in His love when things go wrong. For me, for us all, there is only One who can be trusted so completely. We all have a parent who loves us even more perfectly than a mother loves her newborn infant. Our Heavenly Father is always there wanting to hold us and comfort us in times of trial and insecurity. I need to trust completely that God is there for me, that He will never abandon me, that His love and His grace are enough to reassure me. Like newborn babies, we need to be as close to our Source of Life as we can. Without the presence and comfort of our Lord, we cannot expect to have the life giving love we all so desperately need. He will comfort us, He will never let us down, He will see us through all things.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” ~James 4:8.

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