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Freyda is now 17 days old. She came after a very long labor that I would gladly do all over again (even if the thought does leave me a little sick). She lives up to her name, though I don’t know how she could not. Freyda Dei means Joy of God. The thing about joy is it is independent of circumstances. Independent of how much sleep we get, how productive we are, how much fun we are having, or whether we get enough “us” time.

Some things I’m learning:

1. Experiencing this joy is completely by the grace of God. As long as I can remember I’ve been afraid to be a mom. I’ve always had a quick-to-anger temperament and the idea of being entrusted with a little person who can so easily cause frustration was terrifying. What if I lose my temper? What if I don’t experience that moment of bonding when she arrives? What if I panic? The answer to all of these questions is resting in God’s love and grace. God knows my fears. He knows how he created me. He knit me together just as he knit Frey together. And through his sovereignty he has turned these fears into joy.

This isn’t to say that I am automatically going to be joyful and that I never get frustrated. But it’s like, well, it’s like God is in control and I am not. He chose joy for me…from minute 1. That first night home when Frey was up every hour, God put a piece of Scripture in my heart that I hadn’t even read yet. And since that day, he has shown me how to continue to choose joy, compassion, and love over frustration and anger.

2. I was arrogant in the time leading up to her arrival. Other moms would tell me that the first month or so is all about survival and I would laugh inside. Survival? That’s so passive! That doesn’t sound Spirit-filled. Sleep whenever she sleeps? How will that help me transition into doing this mom-thing full time? It’s not like I can do that throughout her entire life so why start out that way? Part of me knows I needed to think this way. Some people are able to nap or watch tv all day in the beginning and all is fine and dandy. I struggle emotionally and spiritually in that kind of environment. Complacency is hard enough to combat. I don’t need to hand over ammunition and stand in the open field. But in an effort to keep myself alert and fighting, I let pride take over — believing I was more enlightened than these advice-givers with deeper natural talent for doing the hard thing. (Let’s all giggle at that together please).

The devil can paint a very pretty picture in my head displaying “who I am” but if you let the image go far enough, you see that the end is always destruction. And the artwork of God — the picture that shows my ugliness when I’m standing by myself but a beautiful new creation when I am standing united in Christ — ends in true, abundant life. To experience this reality, we must be content to wait for our Savior. To walk in his path and not forge our own. (Philippians 3:17-21)

3. Again, God is gracious. Even during this phase of struggling to get myself in the Word he keeps teaching and letting me see the Spirit work. I serve a Savior who does not abandon his sheep. He is the Overseer of my soul. (2 Peter 2:25) Similar to his joy, I think God graciously keeps choosing to follow him for me — showing me how to make that choice for myself by his power.

4. Something I’m looking forward to witnessing throughout this long, long season of parenthood is the sustaining life given by God. For the next who-knows-how-many-years every time I wake up, it’s because God is my Help. That’s humbling. And I need a lot of humbling.

5. Can I ever brag about Eric enough? I have been blessed with the best husband God could have possibly provided. Not only does he have killer looks, but he is an awesome steward of his family. He seeks God’s standards for us and is full of grace. I’m full of crazy. And he helps me bring all of it into the light — rebuking the lies and helping guide me to truth. As someone who deeply struggles with pride and self-righteousness, he has created a family culture that allows me to battle openly because I can confess sin knowing that my fear of disappointing him is another lie he is going to help me put down. These characteristics are always important and I am always glad for their presence. But these first few weeks with Frey have made me extra thankful that I married my best friend. I don’t think either of us have ever laughed as much as we do together. And man o man, does he swoon over his baby girl.

God has been so kind.