A New Cup: Shots of Grace for Every Transition

Motherhood and the Permission to Be Messy

Casey Wilson / 6.22.20

Life throws us transitions. Some can feel like they come out of nowhere and some come because of choices we make. Regardless, transitions are a part of being human and they come in many forms, such as new jobs, relationships, diagnoses, pandemics, and more. Transitions exist as an in-between space of letting go of the old and embracing the new but somehow managing to grasp both for a little while. Embracing this time can mean letting go of some formerly held sense of security for the sake of gaining a renewed sense of passion for life. Good or bad, planned or unexpected, transitions shape and change us. We come out a different version of ourselves on the other side, with different needs and capacities.

For me, it’s been just over two weeks of motherhood, of meeting our son, of breastfeeding, of healing, of transitioning, of embracing the new. It’s a transitional season. As is to be expected, old rhythms have been thrown out the window to be replaced with this new little life we created. Our son is precious. I cannot believe he’s ours.

In the midst of getting him what he needs, it can be hard to remember my needs do not just suddenly disappear. I’m someone who needs time to get acclimated to a day when I first wake up. It helps me connect with myself and the world before I take on the challenges of the day. That acclimation time has been diminished to about three minutes of adjustment before it’s time to feed our little man again, which has often left me feeling like I’m not functioning as my best self. What’s more, the simplicity of leaving the house with just my purse has been replaced with the complication of packing what feels like our entire house to make sure we have planned for as many contingencies as possible. How can such a tiny human require so many things? Or what about the fact that I now resemble a cow more than a human being, given how much focus is placed on my ability to produce milk in this season? My body is no longer my own. Motherhood, and parenting in general, is not something to be eased into. It goes from 0 to 100 in an instant.

God has been reminding me that my process of embracing the transition to motherhood, struggle and all, is OK, that I cannot skip over it but rather need to go through it in order to come out stronger on the other side. He reminded me of these things: You have permission to be messy. You can be in love and sad, elated and exhausted, grateful and spent, high and low. Essentially, He was encouraging me that I can hold many different emotions all at once, and it doesn’t take away from the fact that I am beyond glad to have our son, to be a co-parent with my husband, and to now wear the hat of a mother. Like anything in life, I’m not failing or missing it if every single moment isn’t filled with joy. That doesn’t mean I should dwell deeply in what’s hard, but there is space to feel those things, too.

In this time of transition, I’ve found my capacity for grace, both receiving and extending, has needed to increase. It took me a while to fully understand what that meant. The Lord needed to give me some new revelation to help things click into place. One morning He said, “Come fill your new cup.”

The old cup I use to get filled with the necessary volume of new mercies every morning has been outgrown. With a new life and role and season comes a new cup, a bigger cup. I’ve been reminded of how deep my need is to receive new mercy each day and a large helping of grace, both for myself and to pour out. Of course the old cup wouldn’t be sufficient! It was never made to hold this new season. No. That’s a job for something new.

The point was driven home when my husband so kindly brought me coffee one morning. The mug he brought had the word “wifey” scrawled across its face. As I sat in the brief and delicious silence sipping the coffee, I remembered a recent gift I received from my oldest friend. She had sent me a mug. This new mug has a picture of a bear with the word “mama” on it and is also larger than the “wifey” mug. It all started to make sense. A new season, which requires more grace, would need a bigger cup. I’m transitioning from simply being wifey to being mama bear as well.

This parenting thing is all unchartered territory. Why did I expect my old tools to meet the needs of something I’ve never done before? “Come fill your new cup.” See, I was feeling like I was missing something. Like I had maxed out the grace and mercy I could receive or like the Lord had run out. Of course, He can’t run out of those things. I just needed Him to shift my perspective to remind me that while His source is never-ending, my cup could do with an upgrade. How fitting that a new mug arrived in the mail the day before He explained this to me!

For anyone going through a transition with new responsibilities or a new role or just a big change and feeling like you might not have the means to handle it, remember God is full of grace. If He cares about the birds of the air and lilies of the field then it follows He would care about our transitions. You’re invited to ask Him for a new cup. I promise, His pottery shop is well-stocked.