Spirit-Led Parenting (Or, I Love a Good Redemption Story)

spirit led parenting review baby's first yearMegan Tietz and Laura Oyer are two of the sweetest people on the internet, and I had the pleasure of meeting both of them live-and-in-person at Blissdom last February. I eagerly followed their journey as they published their first book, Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year, earlier this year. Perhaps because my own introduction to motherhood was a rough one, or maybe because I’m a sucker for a good redemption story, I deeply resonate with the message of their book. I’m happy to share it with you today.

The book has been on a blog tour the past two weeks, and I’m honored to welcome Laura for the last stop.

Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year.

Spirit Led Parenting Review baby's first year

Megan opened this blog tour with a reflection on story, as Spirit-Led Parenting could not have been birthed without the turbulent way each of our own parenting stories began. The book’s first chapter points a spotlight on our lowest points in those early days as new mothers.  The heartache and confusion we each felt as we couldn’t make the popular parenting advice work in our homes, despite our desperate attempts.  The ways in which we were each enslaved to fear.

Thankfully, our stories did not end there. And we can now testify with awestruck wonder to the freedom we each eventually found, in the only way we truly could.

It came through redemption.

For most of my life I’ve heard and been moved by the stories of jaw-dropping redemption within the pages of the Bible.  How lives full of messes and missteps were radically changed by grace. But it wasn’t until that grace had covered and restored me from the wearying anxieties of my first months of parenting that I fully marveled at its power.

The miracle is most astounding when you’ve lived the part that came before.

The message that pulses in our hearts now – the one to which we will share with anyone who will listen, and which we wish we could speak directly to every new parent who is struggling as we did, is that there is redemption. 

For the breastfeeding journey gone awry.

For the sleep issues causing tears and exhaustion.

For the worry that sets up devotion to child as a fictional adversary against devotion to spouse.

For the time spent fretting over spoiling baby by holding her too much.

For the months robbed by the dark, heavy fog of post-partum depression.

For the frustrated attempts to impose a schedule that just wouldn’t work.

For the fear. The fear conjured by our expectations or those of others. Fear that all of these things are signs of failure.

Above the clamor of one-size-fits-all parenting directives, the din of doubt and comparison, is the whisper of freedom.

He spoke, and confirmed the instincts He had placed in my heart from the moment He placed my daughter in my arms. He gently leads those who have young  (Isaiah 40:11). He leads some mothers one way and some another because He knows and intimately understands His children. I resurfaced from the drowning and breathed in this life-giving message. Every baby is His unique creation, every mother is His treasured child, every family has a calling, and when my heart led me to care for my daughter the way I was, it wasn’t rebellion or failure or the beginning of ruin, it was Him.

- Spirit-Led Parenting, page 208

In a post from last week, commenter Ashley added to the discussion five words that cut right to the heart of what we so deeply want to get across in our book:

“You are enough in Him.”

How often – in every area of life – do we create our own checklist of actions and accomplishments that, when completed, will finally make us enough. We obsess over doing everything “right,” trapped in the pursuit of perfection.

Isn’t it always freedom that truly redeems? 

As we wrap up Spirit-Led Parenting in Chapter 11, we speak to the night-and-day-different attitudes we each brought to the babyhood of our second-born children, in comparison to the way we faced parenting our first babies. It wasn’t perfection, of course, but there was peace. A peace that came from finally, finally releasing ourselves from the grip of the rule books and our own expectations, and embracing the often-messy, always-worth-it path of following our hearts wherever they were led.

It cost us sleep and security, comfort and convenience. We had to give up our precious need for control and abandon some of our best-laid plans.

I knew that having children would change everything. What I didn’t know was how He would change me.

- Spirit-Led Parenting, page 210

Parenting after His Spirit transformed our lives. And, thankfully, we will never be the same. 

We would be honored to hear your stories!  In what ways have you seen your painful experiences from the season of parenting a new baby ultimately redeemed? How have you found freedom? Are there parts of your parenting journey that are still awaiting healing?    

Spirit-Led Parenting is the first release from authors Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer. Megan writes about faith, family and natural living at SortaCrunchy and lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two daughters. Laura blogs her reflections on the real and ridiculous things of life at In The Backyard, and makes her home in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and son.

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Comments

  1. says

    Sounds interesting. I’m one of those Moms however, that felt pretty great with the first baby and a total loser with the 2nd! lol. Thanks for highlighting the book, I’ll have to look into it… I ‘met’ Megan through A Deeper Story blog but didn’t know she had a book!

    • says

      Hi, Grace! Yes, that’s definitely the way it happens sometimes. I’ve had conversations with several moms who’ve had smooth-sailing experiences with their first babies, and then been totally blindsided by another child down the line! Which is another reason that Megan and I are so eager to dispel the myth that one-size-fits-all parenting advice will work each and every time. These sweet babies bring unique quirks and needs right from the start!

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. says

    It’s not so much that I’ve seen the early season of parenting ultimately redeemed as it is that I’m seeing it redeemed, continuous-tense, a beautiful forward motion into retroactive grace. I mentioned in a previous post’s comment that there are many things I wish I had known and done differently, but guilt is losing its grip as time goes by and I become more the unique mother God designed me to be. Thank you both for writing this book; it is such a life-giving message!

    • says

      TRUTH, right here! Yes. Redemption is often a gift unveiled in layers. I love your words about “guilt losing its grip” over time. So awesome!

      Thanks, Bethany!

  3. Rebecca says

    I’ve vowed not to read parenting/sleep/schedule books for baby #2 because I got so overwhelmed the first time. This one sounds different, though. Maybe worth a try! I love redemption stories – big and small.

    • says

      Hi, Rebecca! Your experience sounds a lot like ours, and was one reason we felt so motivated during the work of writing this book. We were each completely overwhelmed by trying to follow the books we’d read during our pregnancies, and went through so much angst as a result. We felt like there was a need for another perspective on the first year of parenting, and want to offer our stories as an encouragement to walk in freedom.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  4. says

    Love this topic. I’ve been wanting to read your book every since it came out. (I will eventually–my library doesn’t have it yet ;) )

    I had a very smooth first child, and thought I was a scheduler. Now, with 3 children I just realize he scheduled himself. I would have saved myself a lot of heartache with the 2nd one if I had realized that.

    I had read everything about sleeping, and wanted to do the exact right thing. Thankfully, I figured out (mostly from watching some moms who were perfectly at ease and happy with different types of parenting) that following my gut was the best.

    My 3rd child I ended up nursing the longest and he didn’t sleep through the night super early, but the upside is he is my most cuddly and I have thoroughly enjoyed this baby stage instead of worrying about doing things “right” or “wrong.”

    • Anne says

      Johanna, thanks for sharing your perspective. And it’s funny–I feel the same way about my 4th that you do about your 3rd! He’s the cuddliest, sweetest baby, and I just don’t sweat whether I’m doing it “right” anymore.

  5. says

    Hi, Johanna! Thanks so much for sharing! I think one of the best parts of discovering freedom in parenting is truly being able to enjoy the baby months – like you said – without all of that anxiety over what we’re doing right or wrong. Such a blessing!

  6. Tracy says

    My firstborn was a premie–10 weeks early. It was one of those cleansing-fire experiences because we knew that the only thing that mattered was keeping her alive and healthy. My second was born 22 months later, shortly after my first was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We were so overwhelmed that I remember very little of his babyhood (“You were a good baby, always happy”, I tell him), and when we came out of the fog, we were ok. God is good. My oldest is now in grad school half a country away.

    • Anne says

      Oh my goodness, Tracy, I can’t even imagine.

      My second was also born into loaded circumstances–we were desperate to get back to Philadelphia for cancer treatment for my firstborn, and all we carried about was getting our second child into the world in one piece so we could whoosh everyone onto that airplane.

      I’m so glad to hear that all these years later, everyone seems to be doing well. I’m sure you could provide younger moms like me with a nice dose of the perspective we’re sorely lacking.

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