This post originally appeared as a guest post on He and I the Blog
When my daughter was born I had expected to have this feeling of "I know you!" that so many moms describe. I didn't. I was shocked and overcome with the miracle of her and just so surprised with all of it--my love for her, her perfection, all.of.it. When they placed her on my chest and she immediately stopped crying I realized that she knew me.
As the minutes progressed to hours and then days, I did feel like I knew my daughter. I had very spiritual experiences where I realized that she had been with me throughout my pregnancy. I hadn't just carried her body around with me, but her spirit accompanied me as well--I just wasn't aware of her presence until after I'd met her. After I'd felt that spirit--then I knew.
I spent those newborn days soaking in all of her. She and I had a dance and it really wasn't too hard to figure out most of the time. We spoke to one another very clearly. Those are treasured days that were such an incredible blessing.
As she outgrew that sweet, sleepy newborn stage she started to develop more and more assertion and personality. Consequently, she stopped sleeping as well. In fact, she turned into an incredibly poor sleeper.
I couldn't put her down for naps. She didn't sleep well at night. Things were a chaotic mess and I was getting advice from everyone I could possibly ask. My own mom gave me a suggestion.
A few weeks into this terrible sleeping pattern, I expressed my frustration to my mom and her response seemed as though she was frustrated back at me. She mentioned that I was asking for all this advice but then not trying it. I was reading too much and filling my head. While I agree that I read entirely too much and none of it helped, I was still hurt and upset. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"Have you even tried what I suggested?"
"No." I quietly replied. Feeling bad that of all the advice I was seeking and trying, I didn't try my own mother's. The next day I followed my mother's advice. It didn't work. My daughter responded exactly as I had assumed she would.
And that's when I realized. I didn't need to feel bad that I didn't take my mom's advice. It wasn't that I didn't respect her opinions or value her input, it was that I knew my daughter.
I have received countless suggestions, some I take--most I don't. There are just certain things I inherently know about my daughter even though we've been together such a short time (at least here on this earth). I know how she will respond to certain situations and so when I'm trying to teach her something, I do it a certain way. I am more gentle with her than some would agree with and that's okay--to each their own. Whether I'm getting her to sleep or trying to get her to calm down when she falls, I approach it in a way that is tailored to her needs. As her mother, I understand her--at least a little.
And so our dance changes...with every stage, we take turns leading, but I ultimately know I am her guide. This understanding about my dance with my daughter and motherhood has given me greater perspective of my Heavenly Father's role in my life. He knows me and my spirit. He knows how I will react to certain things and he has a specific way to approach teaching me things. He may teach someone else a bit (or a lot) differently than he teaches me. Understanding this has given me a chance to look at my struggles and understand that they are, in fact, specific to me and my needs. They are there to help me gain understanding and knowledge that I need. But how great it is to know and understand that as my father, he makes sure that my aide throughout my challenges is also specifically tailored to me.