Tag Archives: Mother

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The Journey to Trust

March 10, 2017

God, the one and only — I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, 

An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. 

My help and glory are in God — granite-strength and safe-harbor-God — So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. {Psalm 62:5-8}

My word for 2016 was JOY, but to be honest much of it felt anything but joyful. The year started off on the heels of the miscarriage of our much-longed for twins and I spent months wrestling with God over His plans for my family. And His voice echoed in my head:

Do you trust me?

Of course, I trust you God, I’d reason. But the truth was, it was hard to trust. I knew that trusting God wouldn’t create an immunity from the yucky stuff of life. But when life is difficult, trusting God is what has gotten me through, and I’m reminded that God is my strength and safe-harbor, the solid rock on which I am stable {Psalm 62}.

Do you trust me?

Throughout the year, I tried by my own might to achieve the dream of my heart – a larger family. But by December, J and I had concluded that it was time to fully surrender that dream to God and pray about what was next. And so we began 2017 feeling a peace that could only come from trusting Him, even in the unknown.

Do you trust me?

Through prayer and tears, conversations with family and friends, the next has become abundantly clear. We know what He is calling us to trust Him in and with.

As so, with excitement and trusting God with our anxieties, J and I are beginning the journey to become licensed FOSTER PARENTS and to welcome children temporarily {and maybe forever} into our home and family. There is a lot of training ahead and paperwork galore {not to mention physicals, background checks, etc}, but we believe that this is where He wants us. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be good? We sure hope so! And we would love your prayers and encouragement as we begin this new journey.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

{Oceans by Hillsong United)

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Daring to Trust God in the Midst of Heartache

January 7, 2016

“If I just knew the end result, then I could trust, God.” I would pray in a whisper. And then laugh disparagingly at myself. Knowing requires little trust. Trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

For 15 months my husband and I had tried for another baby. At first we assumed it would happen quickly. Even with our losses, we had never had any issues getting pregnant. Staying pregnant had always been the problem.

Now, it seemed, this would be hard too.

I kept thinking, if I just knew, then I could move on. If I knew that we were never to have another biological child, then I could grieve and move forward. If I were to find out that we’d have another child but not until a certain time (preferably given the knowledge of the exact month and day we’d find out, because planning) then I could relax and live fully in the now without worrying about the future.

But where is the trust in that?

Then it happened. Two little lines on the pregnancy test, “I don’t believe it,” I cried as I called a friend. “Can this be true?” And it was true.

Early pregnancy symptoms kicked in, but I didn’t care. I felt awful, but I was finally pregnant and so full of joy. “Thank you, God.” I prayed, not taking a minute of it for granted. This is probably my last pregnancy, I’d tell myself and I wouldn’t allow myself to be consumed by worry or complaint.

Then the best news of all: TWINS! God’s grace and favor felt abundant. Perhaps this is why I needed to wait for another baby, I reasoned as I googled double strollers and non-minivans that could hold three car seats. But the good news was couched in some concern. The babies were smaller than they should have been and the doctor was uncertain of what that meant. As I left the appointment, anxiety overwhelmed me, but my husband and I quickly concluded this was just another area we needed to trust God, and provided another means for Him to show His glory and power. I began to plan our Christmas announcement.

A week later – in early December – we were devastated to learn that both babies had been lost. As we prepared to celebrate the coming of the Christ-child, I felt numb and void.

I had trusted God to make things go my way. But that wasn’t how it went. Could I still trust? In the midst of this shattering heartache and new uncertainty, I didn’t know.

TRUST AND FAITH HAPPEN IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY, NOT IN THE KNOWING1.

This is where my sticky friends came to my aid. I didn’t want to talk – I didn’t even want to see anyone. But cards starting pouring in with words like “I don’t understand but I’m sorry” and included gift cards for coffee and treats. And I realized that even in the midst of my hurt, God heard my cries and provided comfort. I began to want to trust. I prayed for God to fill my lack of trust with faith that only He could provide, and I looked up verses on trust.

Two verses especially stuck out to me:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

Notice that both begin with “Trust in the Lord.” Perhaps He’s trying to say something? Even in the middle of my pain, I’m choosing to trust. Not because I have any idea of what’s next. And not because trusting is easy, because it isn’t. Rather, I’m choosing to trust because I know that I know that I know, that God is good and His love for me (and you) endures forever. Even when we can’t see what’s coming next, He has a plan, and we are just called to trust in the Lord.

After all, trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

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On Magical Fairies, Kitty Cats and Alligators

October 20, 2015

For the last two years I have singularly chosen what my precious babe would be for Halloween: a ladybug and a little chicken respectively.

The costumes were purchased weeks in advance. Who am I kidding? I bought her first Halloween costume the December before while I was still pregnant (I got a good deal!).

Fast forward to this year. Reagan is two and starting to have her own opinions, so in late September I began asking her just what she might like to be for Halloween. We scoured an entire rack of 2T costumes at a consignment sale.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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A Change of Focus

August 28, 2015

I had high expectations for this summer. Those hopes haven’t been met and my summer has been all the better for it.

I’ve been pretty open about my husband and I’s struggle with fertility. We’ve been trying for another baby for many months now and have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which means just that. We have no idea why we aren’t getting pregnant…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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To Risk Losing It All, Again

July 14, 2015

As the doctor walked into the ultrasound room, I knew something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. “The baby looks great,” she solemnly shared. “But you’re dilated to 4cm.” My heart stopped. She said other words that I couldn’t fully process: bulging membranes, emergency surgery, hospital now. She left the room so I could get dressed…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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A Change of Potty Plans

July 13, 2015

It just seemed like the right time. My scheduled was wide open and the weather was to be great so we could spend the week outside. People always says how much easier it is to potty train little girls.

In fact, based on what I’d read, I thought staying home and dedicating a few days to this endeavor – just my sweet tot and me – sounded strangely relaxing.

Oh the naivety.

The reality of trying to get a two-year-old to sit on the potty every 10/20/30 minutes is a battle all on its own. Let alone keeping an eye on her every movement in the in-between to catch any accidents before they happen (and then calmly and swiftly extracting said small person from play time to immediately sit –once again – on the potty).

Can I be totally honest? It was overwhelming, all-consuming and exhausting.

After three naked days (her not me) at home with relatively few accidents, we ventured out into the world.  Donning new underpants and a patriotic summer dress, we pulled into the Target parking lot.

“Okay, here we go!” I told her. “Do you need to go potty?”

Head shake “no.”

“Let’s just try going potty before we shop,” I encouraged.

We walked to the public restroom and I carefully positioned her on the toilet. Nothing.

“All done,” she exclaimed.

“Okay,” I tried to keep my tone positive. We washed our hands and proceeded to do a little shopping. Every few minutes I’d ask some version of, “Do you need to go to the potty?” All received a resounding “no.”

Twenty minutes later I pushed the cart back towards my car. As I lifted her out to place her in the car seat, I realized that sometime during our shopping trip, her “no” should have been a “yes, Mommy I do need to go potty.” She was soaked.

Two days and multiple clothed-accidents later, found me sitting on a park bench an hour from the start of the 4th of July parade watching my precious child soil yet another patriotic dress in the middle of a playground.

And that was it. Time to change plans.

As much as my pride tells me to just keep at it (and honestly, I feel a little embarrassed that I couldn’t tackle this thing in one go), wisdom tells me she isn’t ready yet and we need to take a break.

So, I’m leaning into the support and encouragement of moms who’ve gone before me. Trusting my own intuition when it comes to my child, and believing the words of friends who tell me when she’s ready, I’ll know (and that someday – probably fairly soon – she will be ready).

I’m learning to let go, of my time table, my plan, my pride. While potty training may only be a tiny bump when you look at the challenges of a whole life, in this season God is shaping me into a better, more flexible, mom. And that’s nothing to poo-poo!

“The times we find ourselves having to wait on others
may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord.”
(Joni Eareckson Tada)

Making Time for Me

April 21, 2014

As a mom, most of my waking hours – and some of my sleeping hours – are spent working or taking care of those I love. Working in an office or cooking and cleaning at home, sending emails and wiping dirty bottoms and runny noses, my days are not my own.

And I love it.

I love being a wife and mom. I love the messy joy, the sticky hugs and the wet kisses. I love planning meals and birthday parties. I don’t love the dishes and laundry, so if you know anyone who’d like to volunteer for those tasks, I’m all ears.

And yet, even with all the joy and fulfillment being a mom brings, I have needs to be met. Making time to care for oneself can seem impossible or selfish but in reality the value of “me time” is immeasurable. Because when I am in a healthy place – physically, emotionally and spiritually – I am best able to care for my family.

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Here are five ways I’ve found for keeping the “me” in Mommeeee happy and healthy:

  • Get dressed. Even on days I’m not going to the office, I try to get showered and dressed before my husband leaves for work. Starting my day off with a tiny bit of privacy – while he watches Reagan – and a lot of hot water sets the tone for a better day.
  • Take a break. When possible, do something that you enjoy during nap time. For me this might include a short dance-workout via video, reading a good book or my Bible, taking a nap, trying out a new recipe or watching one of my favorite reality shows with a bowl of fresh popcorn (embarrassing confession – I’m a sucker for all things reality-tv).
  • Make a plan. Schedule a weekly or monthly activity that gets you out of the house for some fun with other adults. Maybe a weekly Bible study, a monthly Bunco group, a Saturday hiking club or an every-other-week MOPS meeting. Whatever you find, commit to it.
  • Set a date. No really, time away from the kids with your man on a regular basis is crucial to a great relationship and a happier, healthier you. So find a trusted family member or friend who can watch the kids for a couple hours while you and your guy reconnect.
  • Invest in yourself. Even in the midst of parenting, you can continue to grow and develop  the person God has created you to be. As your schedule allows, take an art class or dance lessons. Go to a writers’ conference or a weekend women’s retreat. Take an online class and work on your degree. Not only will you be growing but you’ll be modeling to your children a love for life-long learning.

And before you think I’ve got this me time thing down, let me reassure you: these are things I try to do. Some days I do well, other days it’s all I can manage to drag my weary body to bed at night. And that’s okay because I will have another chance to do better tomorrow.

How about you – what do you do to best care for yourself? How does taking care of your needs affect the way you are able to care for your family?

One Year In: What I’ve learned since becoming a parent

March 26, 2014

In the last year (well, 13 months really but we’ll get to that later), I’ve learned a lot about being a mom. I’ve learned about sleep deprivation and poop, how you can be lonely with a small person strapped to your body 24/7 (okay, that’s an exaggeration because Reagan mostly sleeps in her own bed), and how you can love someone else so wholly and completely that not only would you give up your life for them, but you would live your life with their best interest in mind.

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Looking back over my time as a parent, here are the top ten things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Parenting is harder than I ever imagined. You are learning to put someone else ahead of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about parents taking care of their needs too but, when it comes down to it, Reagan comes first (if you need evidence just take inventory of her closet compared to mine!).
  2. Parenting is more amazing than I ever imagined. The giggles, the funny faces, the cuddles – I love the smell of Reagan’s hair after her bath, and the feel of her breathe on my cheek as she drifts off to sleep in my arms. I love the smile she freely gives me when I pick her up from the babysitter and that greets me when I open her bedroom door first thing in the morning. She brings my life more joy, more meaning and more purpose and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything in the world.
  3. Growth percentiles mean very little. I’ve worried, and cried, and lost sleep over Reagan’s growth (she’s an itty-bitty thing!) but overall, she’s growing at a consistent rate albeit fairly low on the growth chart. She is healthy and happy and strong – none of which can be fully determined by a chart tracking her weight and height.
  4. Postpartum depression is real. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor. Postpartum affects about 13% of women for up to one year after giving birth.
  5. You will never be on time to anything ever – EVER – again. Refer back to first sentence of this post.
  6. It wasn’t love at first sight. I mean it was love but not like I imagined (Bravo if it was for you … really, I mean it!). For me, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with this cute but squishy-faced baby when they gave her to me. She was round and blonde and not at all what I expected. I loved her right away but it took a few days, weeks and even months before the parent/child bond really set in. And the cool thing is, it’s still growing. I love my child more every day.
  7. You can do it alone but parenting – and especially mothering – is better in community. I encourage you to find a MOPS group or a local mothers group to get involved in. Community is good for mom and baby!
  8. Sleep deprivation stinks. But feeding and rocking your baby during the night is pretty awesome (although most nights I would have traded it for more sleep).
  9. No matter how hard you try, you will never be perfect. And neither will your child. Sometimes I get frustrated – sometimes she gets frustrated. It’s bad when we both get frustrated, and sometimes I have to walk away. That’s okay. Soon my baby will understand my “I’m sorrys” and hopefully she’ll learn to ask forgiveness too, from the example I set.
  10. You are not a perfect mother, but you are the perfect mother for your child. God blessed me with this little girl – he gave her to me, and me to her, and no one else.

 

The day I caught the vomit … twice

January 5, 2014

The first time was at the lunch. Reagan is eating solids but has a tendency to stuff too much into her mouth at one time and choke herself. She had been given a few oyster crackers and, while I was talking to friends, she stuffed about 6 into her mouth and began to choke. As I started to pick her up out of the chair, she coughed up the culprits. As quickly as they came up, I put her back down and caught the mushy crackers in my hand.  I think I’m done with lunch.

The second time was right before bed. I think she just ate too much. Right after story time as we finished bedtime prayers, she spit the formula right back up … and right into my open hand.

But that really isn’t the point of this post. I really want to talk about decisions. Decisions we make as moms and dads; Decisions to jump forward with open hands to catch vomit, and decisions about working and childcare and heartstrings.

It’s been an emotional weekend in my house. Okay, it’s been an emotional weekend for me in my house. Our previous work schedule which allowed for Reagan to be home with James or me throughout the week worked well for a while but as she nears her first birthday, we knew something had to change. A choice had to be made – a parenting decision. And at this time, the best decision for our family is for me to increase my work hours {although still part-time} and return to working in the office two days a week while Little Miss goes to a friend’s house – an amazing, sweet mom who will care for Reagan as if she were her own. But that doesn’t change the fact that two days a week, Reagan will be away from Mommy and Daddy. And Mommy will be away from Reagan.

My sweet baby girl

My sweet baby girl

Tears caress my cheeks and dampen my spit-up-soiled blouse as I think about it. “It’s only for a season,” I tell myself and I know it’s true but I worry that Reagan will take her first steps or say her first real word while I am away. I enjoy working and I’m good at what I do, but I don’t know that it’s what I want to do right now. But for this season I am heading back to work and we will evaluate the next season in due time. If you see me in the office, be sure to say hello; and please ignore my puffy, red eyes and stained blouse.

Decisions we make as parents aren’t always easy {in fact, they rarely seem to be!}. What tough parenting decisions have you had to make or are you making now?