June 12, 2023

Listen and Obey

By: Bri Conners

I was twenty-four when the first one of my close friends had a baby. I was SO excited and I couldn’t wait to create for this new little life. Hot off the hook came a crochet lovey, and I got out my sewing machine and made my first-ever quilt from a pattern. And it didn’t stop; as each of our friends began to have children, it was such a privilege to make something special for this precious time in life. 

After I became a mom myself, I learned some of my most treasured possessions for my daughters are the handmade ones. The things that people put a part of their heart into. Being a maker, I know firsthand the love and the prayers that are poured into every single stitch of a project. But somewhere along the way, my eyes were opened to the fact that, each time I was making one of these gifts, I was pouring out prayers for the new baby on the way, but I was failing to speak them for the mama herself. I found myself so caught up in the excitement of new life that I forgot about the grown life that was changing. 

I quickly learned how isolating motherhood can be. You give your body over for 10 months to the growth of this child, and then she arrives and you continue to give endlessly of yourself for years to follow. You have no idea how to even swaddle your sweet daughter, let alone how you’re supposed to keep her alive once they send you home. And you feel like there must be a handbook that everyone else has because they make it look easy, so you continue to soldier on, because A.) you have to, and B.) it feels shameful to admit you don’t know what you’re doing.

Isn’t it interesting, though, that Jesus brought about the most change through those deemed most shameful by society? The tax collectors and the lepers, the prostitutes and the broken are His chosen vessels for His kingdom work. Change isn’t bad. Change is kingdom work and motherhood is kingdom work, and I think that is the reason it is so hard, and why we feel like we have no idea what we’re doing most of the time. 

As much as we’d like to think so, we cannot mother alone. I don’t think there is a single mother out there who would claim to have it all figured out. But thank God! I thank God that this journey is not my own. I thank God that He has planned each step ahead of me. I thank God that He is right beside me on the good days and on the hard days. I thank God that there are moms beside me, walking a similar journey and following in His steps.

As I grow in my motherhood, my heart reaches to the new moms. To the ones just stepping into their God-given purpose in motherhood. And I’m not just speaking of the moms made through birth; but also the ones made through marriage, through fostering, through adoption, and the moms made through longing. When a baby is “born”, so is a mother. We get all of this much-needed advice and knowledge about how to begin to take care of our little person, but very little about how to care for ourselves. When you become a mom, you are changed totally and completely, forever, and no one really prepares you for it. I believe the Lord has led me into this space to change this. 

The Lord speaks to me in pictures mostly. When my cousin and his wife were recently pregnant with their first child, He showed me a vision of community. My heart opened to showering new moms in encouragement and love. I saw a Mama Blessing; an intimate gathering of the closest friends that take time to uplift, encourage, inspire and give good gifts for the mama. But how to make this a reality for my cousin when we live four states apart? So I mailed a crochet lovey and a watercolor with a prayer for baby, and I ignored the Lord’s prompting to remember the mother. Or rather, I responded in fear, unsure of what it even looked like to support the mother. But God is persistent. 

This vision kept coming, and this longing in my heart grew. As I began to open up to others about my vision, I was met with a resounding yes! Every single person affirmed what I was hearing. And so here is The Mama Blessing Collective. This project is not anything I would have ever dreamed of taking on, but I am learning to hear the Lord’s voice and to take another step. It has been a lesson in obedience, and one I am continuing to learn. 

Obedience is a struggle for me, which I just find hilarious because isn’t it like the one thing that we want from our little people? At least 100 times a day I find myself saying “listen and obey, please”; yet when God asks the same of me, I politely say “No thank you” and continue on my merry way. Why? Why do I do this when I KNOW that the Lord is for me, that His ways are better and I am nothing without Him? And doesn’t the Bible say “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28)? So why is it so scary to hear the word of God and to keep it? 

So this is me, taking the next step. This is me hearing the Lord lead me and obeying. And it is terrifying. I’m so scared of talking out of context or saying something I shouldn’t. I am a pleaser by nature so the thought of potentially upsetting someone or doing something wrong can be debilitating. But with all the humility I have, I am stepping out in obedience. I am listening for the Lord, and I am doing my best to obey.

I pray that the Mama Blessing Collective can be a place of encouragement and support; a ray of sunshine when the days seem dark. I hope that in finding this space, you find community and belonging and feel Jesus walking with you in your motherhood. I hope you feel loved and thought about while you give endlessly of yourself. Most importantly, I pray that you feel seen. Seen in the mundane and the exciting, seen in the joy and the struggle, and seen by the Father, who has called you to this divine purpose of mothering the children He has blessed you with. 

Dear Jesus, 

Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for the gift of my children. I pray that in the chaos of my day I can pause and listen for you, to hear your gentle leading and your loving words. I pray for ears to hear, and a heart of obedience, that I can respond in faithfulness to love you and my children well. Amen.