One of my favorite things about being a patient in a hospital (and there are very few) is that after you give birth, they will provide you with a ride in a wheelchair straight to the door of your car. No other place gives you service like that. However, the one thing they don’t give you, as a new mom, is a handbook.

Make no mistake; they will give you all kinds of forms and colorful double-sided sheets of paper filled with information that most likely will get lost in the shuffle of all of the fliers you are taking home.

But, what I wanted was a BOOK!
A handbook written just for me.
Just for this particular child.
I didn’t want one written generically for ALL babies.
I wanted instructions for THIS one.

How could the hospital allow me to raise this child without a child-rearing license?
Who do they think they are just allowing people to walk out of their hospital without a four-year degree in parenting?

Once I got home, out of sheer fear of not feeling equipped to handle this newfound little life, I called the nurse’s station on the labor and delivery floor.
Unashamedly, I announced to the first person that picked up the phone, “I NEED A NURSE.”
I asked the kindhearted voice on the other end of the phone if she could do double duty and work a second shift as my night nurse.

She let me know that they didn’t have that service available for their patients, but if I needed anything else or had any questions to let them know, I wanted to ask if she could just stay on the other end of the line in case something came up. For like the next six months.

I had one burning question, though, that I needed to know:
Was there any woman who came home from the hospital with a baby for the first time and felt rock solid in her new role?

What I came to learn that first year was that there was NO WAY I could have predicted which handbook I would need. Because learning from an instruction book would have simply given me head knowledge.
I needed way more than just head knowledge. 

You see, It was the middle of the night panic moments,
The early morning tears of joy that God had blessed us with this baby that would soon call us mommy and daddy,
The heartache we felt every time she received her shots.
The laughter as she smiled at us for the first time.
The deep sigh knowing that these were fleeting moments and that stopping time was not a possibility. These were the lessons that no formula, friend, book, or video could ever teach.
These were the things that gave me HEART knowledge.
And heart knowledge was something I could not buy.
Not available for purchase.

I had to walk it out.
The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful.
It became the story from which I mothered.
The story of experience.
The story of my own journey.
Not that of an instruction book or any hospital nurse.

Practically speaking, each morning we can wake up and surrender our demand to know the HOW, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and WHERE before we begin and understand we will only gain the HEART knowledge AS we begin.
And as we surrender, He gently guides us and gifts us with what we need.
When we need it.
And not a second sooner.