An Open Letter to Myself: On Motherhood, Writing, and Identity in Christ

I wrote this as a print-out for our nursery, to keep close and read when weariness, fatigue, or a number of emotions hit during the first weeks and months of raising a newborn baby. I hope it might also encourage you, moms!


Dear Kristen,

You’re doing it. You’re fulfilling the work of ministry God has planned for you! He’s given you a wonderful gift in your new daughter, and though the days feel long and nights, even longer, this is precisely where he wants you. Right here in this nursery. You’re exactly where you should be.

As you navigate this new season of motherhood, remembering this and other truths will make the difference between running unhindered and running with weights and sins pulling you down (Hebrews 12:1). This is why I’m writing you this letter, not because I foresee all that will happen, but because I can anticipate your heart—I know your struggles, anxieties, and fears, and want to proactively preach God’s Word to you.

When you struggle with feeling depleted from lack of sleep…

Remember that God’s grace is sufficient for each moment, that he will give you what you need with every breath you take (2 Corinthians 12:9). This doesn’t mean the fatigue will be easy, but that God will be enough for you. Remember that he who keeps you will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4), and because he has no needs, he will supply everything you need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). You can count it all joy when you meet the trial of sleeplessness, for the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). God will let none of your sleep-disturbed nights and sleep-deprived days go to waste. He can take something that seems so hard and unnatural and turn it into good, for his honor and praise. Dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

When you struggle with uncertainty over what your daughter needs…

Remember how many moms before you have walked this road. Remember you can’t possibly know all there is to know, and that learning is good, a tool in God’s hands for your humility and dependence on him. Remember that God declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), knows exactly what your baby needs, and will generously give wisdom when you ask for his help (James 1:5). When you’re overwhelmed or confused, don’t be afraid (or too proud) to ask others for help as well. And when baby girl’s tears won’t stop and she won’t sleep, and you and Brad are wringing your hands over what to do, laugh about it. Laughter is a good gift from God.

When you struggle with choosing motherhood over writing…

Remember that for everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), perfectly planned by God for the advance of his purposes in the world. This might mean the surrendering of the keyboard to the service of your daughter—but remember that your identity isn’t found in either vocation; you are in Christ (Colossians 1:13). Your security, worth, and acceptance are found and established in Jesus’ blood and righteousness, not in writing, nor in motherhood. Enjoy and rest in the freedom of this eternal, unshakable identity as you navigate this new season, and you’ll find that you enjoy the season, itself, more as a result.

When you struggle with a sense of purpose…

Remember that motherhood is a calling from God, an important work of faith and labor of love that images Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Remember that building into this new relationship with your daughter is an eternally significant work, as you nourish her body, put her needs above yours, and begin to point her to Jesus. Behold the divine purpose in how a mother reflects Christ, who came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45); when you see the helplessness of your daughter, praise God for the opportunity to imitate Jesus in your dying to self and serving her (Philippians 2:5-8).

When you struggle with guilt over time in God’s Word…

Remember that the basis of your salvation isn’t dependent on this, but on Christ. You are saved by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), not by the amount of time you read Scripture this morning or prayed. Don’t forget that God’s Word, in any amount, accomplishes that for which he purposes (Isaiah 55:11), that even the one verse you’re clinging to today won’t return void, but shall succeed in the thing for which God sent it. God’s Word is nourishing bread for your soul (Matthew 4:4), and bread is bread, whether you’re feasting or snacking on it.

When you struggle to feel like you’re doing anything right…

Remember that not one of God’s purposes can be thwarted (Job 42:2), nor will he forsake you, the work of his hands (Psalm 138:8). He’s using this new season to mold and shape you into Christlikeness, and to use you as an instrument of his grace in your daughter’s life. You don’t know what you’re doing, and that’s okay! It’s through the cracks in your jar of clay that God’s gospel shines most brightly (2 Corinthians 4:7); he will leverage your weaknesses to display his strength, and this is good because it brings Jesus glory.

Embrace your neediness, Kristen, and praise God for a new grasp of what it means to cling to him!

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