I have been thinking of you lately. You, the brand new mom feeling a bit lost in all you have had to give up. The career, the freedom and the identity you had before. You have just been given the greatest blessing of your life but it can also feel like you have become invisible to the world as you tend to the needs of this tiny little human day in and day out. You are not the same as you once were. Your body, mind and heart have all changed. I see you. I have something for you today.
To the mama who just added another child. You have done this before therefore you thought it would easy but then you were suddenly hit with the immense weight of caring for two little or maybe three or four people, whatever number you have added to your fold; it is a lot. Sure you know how to change a diaper with your eyes closed but the weight of the responsibility you have now can feel very heavy. I get it…completely. I have some encouragement for you.
And to the mama who is just really weary. The one who feels that if she has to pick up these the same toys one more time she might just explode, or the one who is drowning in laundry and all the to dos, who feels no joy, maybe not a ton of purpose…who didn’t really ever expect motherhood to be this stinkin hard. I am wrapping my arm around you. You my friend are not alone.
My oldest is coming up on 10 years old, someone pinch me. That can't be possible. I have been a mom for a decade and I have much much more to learn and I will never stop growing, but looking back I learned some things, and if I may, I would love to share with you. I am not an expert. I am not a pro, whatever that means, and I most definitely do not have it all together but I have grown closer and closer to the One who truly holds it all together and I'd like to share what I have learned at His feet.
1. Motherhood will Cost You – Before children your body was tighter, your stomach was never a home to another soul. There were no stretch marks, no dark circles under your eyes from sleepless nights. Your heart had yet to grow in the love that you carry now for your child. Scientists have actually found that our cells mix with our children’s cells and they stay with us forever, so that feeling you have of intense connection to your child is scientifically accurate and Biblically beautiful. You are meant to change when you become a mom. So “bouncing back” or “going back” to what you used to do, how you used to think or who you used to be is not the way. You are brand new. That’s hard. Motherhood costs you. Any covenant you make will cost you something. Many people don’t want to face that. So following Jesus…no thank you. Too high of a cost. Getting married? Absolutely not, I cant imagine the same person forever. Having children? Giving myself completely away, “my rights” my freedom, my body…no...too high of a price.
It’s the gospel. It’s laying yourself down for the sake of another. And it’s worth the cost. For reward is heavenly. It’s not praised or valued by our culture, but when you stop looking to the culture for your value and you seek it only with the One who died because of how valuable He sees you well then motherhood becomes an act of surrender. You see the crown He has placed on your head to raise up the next generation. That you are shepherding your flock, and you are raising up little souls that one day will have the choice to choose Jesus or to not…now that is the reality. The cost is high but so are the stakes. So like Mary and the alabaster jar, waste it all…pour it all out. What are you holding it in for? What else is there to give yourself away to?
2. Motherhood Will Sanctify You – I can’t even count how many times I will be leading my children and I hear the Father over my shoulder saying, “Yes and you too Heather.” He will use your children to teach you. “No, that’s not the best. I know you want candy for breakfast but I know what you need and that’s not it. Do you trust me?”
“Heather do you trust me? I know what you need and that’s not it.” Oh yes Father, I hear you.
I was playing a game with Paisley where I lay on the ground and she puts her tummy on my feet and I push her into the air. Airplane is what we like to call it. She has played this since she was one and now she is eight and still wants me to fly her. Well the other night she decided she wanted to sit on my feet. I said yea sure, really believing in myself that I could hold her up, she went to do it but she wouldn’t let go of the top of the bunk bed. She was pulling me to the side and with all my might I was trying to hold her. “Paisley you have to let go. I can hold you but you have to trust me.”
“But I feel safer when I am holding on.”
“I know you do, but if you can fully let go you can fly but if you keep holding on you will be stuck.”
“But I will feel out of control.”
“I know but you have to trust that I’ve got you. I can see better from my spot and I have a good grip.”
And she let go…and she got to fly. And I heard the Lord say, “Let go and you can fly too.”
Tears fell down my cheeks as I quickly realized how often I try to hold on and gain control when my Father is saying to me, “If you could see what I see you would know I have it all in My hands. You have to let go.”
Whatever it is…let go. You don’t really have control anyway.
3. You have a Choice – Before you get out of bed you get to choose how the day will go. Your baby or toddler might wake up and choose to be in a bad mood or just be fussy from the many things that are going on inside of them, but you get to choose how the day will go. And choosing the surrendered way is the best way. This past year I have surrendered to the Lord in ways I never knew were possible and the freedom I feel has changed my motherhood. It’s just not all on me anymore. This is His. I am His and He is mine. He is the Keeper of my life and the joy of the Lord is my strength. Choose to get in the Word. Choose to spend time with Jesus. But it has to be a no compromise discipline that I promise you will turn into a delight. I have never woken up before my kids to be with Jesus and thought, “Wow I regret that.” Not once. But I have chosen to stay in bed to get extra rest and have said, “I wish I would have gotten up instead of slept longer.” There is rest for the body and rest for the soul. And I have found that He will sustain your body if you go to Him to find rest for your soul. Don’t compromise your time with Him. The mundane becomes Holy if you make it about Jesus. The late night feeds become worship moments if you choose Jesus. The toddler tantrum becomes a moment to love if you choose Jesus. Oh to love Him with all our hearts and all our souls and all of our minds…it’s a choice. Don’t compromise!
Hello friend, it's been a while. My writing has become a bit sporadic. I have longed for more time, more mental space to feel like I can string deeper thoughts together, I have also wondered if the art of reading more than the length of a tweet has become lost in our fast-pace world. Is blogging obsolete? Whatever the consensus is I feel a deep desire to put my fingers to the keys and share my heart with you. I want to talk about the holiness of motherhood. If you're interested, settle in. I thank you for your time. I know it's the most precious commodity. I promise to not waste it but to have you get to the end of this short blog and leave you feeling inspired to yield to the highest calling of motherhood.
Doesn't it feel like time is going faster? Trying to hold onto our children is like holding water in our hands. It doesn't last. But at the same time the struggle to stay present, to simply enjoy our children, to build a life we have dreamed of is a challenge. Life is busy, fast, expensive, sad, fear filled and exhausting. But I believe with all my soul that we are called to be mothers for such a time as this. We are called to raise children in this culture, in this generation with these battles and these challenges. And that mindset doesn't make me cower in fear or feel like the future is dim when I see the news. No, this makes me rise up and raise my children with boldness and such a fierce love. But we have to fight for this in our own hearts and minds. It's another level of surrender we must get to and it takes not just one time choosing this way, but an every day daily surrender. It's the journey of faith and I know from my decade of being a mother that you will mature the most if you allow Him all the way in as you raise your children.
As we have grown our family I have become more humbled and more surrendered to His will. I see my own weakness and my utter dependency on the Father. "I cannot do this," I often whisper to Him in the morning. But my weakness is not my shame. It's my way to run to the Shepherd who will gently lead me as I have my young. (Isaiah 40:11)
If you are in a season with raising young children like I am or if you are about to be a brand new mama I just have a few words of encouragement for you and then I will let you go, as I know full well, your moment to yourself is but a small window. So let me breathe some fresh wind in your sails and breathe courage into your soul that you are the woman called and anointed to raise your children.
1. What You are Doing is Holy - the mundane, the middle of the night, the playtime and teaching time; it is not valued by our society but it's the most valuable to heaven. It is not just another day, it is the way to lay your life down for your children. It's the gospel every single day and it will fight against your flesh and it will feel like tension but in the tension is where we grow, in the tension is where we meet Jesus. No instrument makes music without tension. Lose the tension, you lose the beauty, the sound, the melody that makes way for praise to come forth. We rise by bowing. So everyday rise in the morning and immediately bow before your Savior. It's a beautiful act both physically and spiritually to show with your posture, this IS holy God. I accept the calling.
2. You have Permission to Learn - And permission to fail and try and then try again. Brand new moms, you don't know what you are doing and that is ok. Mama who just had her second, third or fourth baby, you have never had this many children before so you don't know what you are doing. Mama whose child just turned a year older, you are now a brand new mom of a child that age and you don't know how to do that yet. Please join me in my effort to give myself permission to learn and to be humble to try and re-try and to fail and to get back up and try something else. In a culture that pushes perfection and the need to show that they have it altogether, lets instead model grace and dependency upon the One who holds it all together. We are meant to look different. Our children are meant to walk, talk, and live differently. Own it. Live set apart because the world wants to pull them apart. Not today. Not on my watch.
Did you know the lioness not the lion does all the hunting? Dont' forget that.
3. Mind Your Mind - The Lord said to me one morning. "I want you to mind your mind. I invite you to pay attention to your wondering thoughts." Wow what an invitation. I quickly realized how negative they were. When I looked in the mirror what I thought about myself was not what the Father thinks of me. When I walk around my home I see the flaws and the marks from the kids and think negative thoughts. But what I should see when I look in the mirror is a body that has been home to seven babies. Two in heaven and five on earth. What strength and selflessness, and I thank you Jesus for this body. And if I want a house that's alive I must accept the chaos of it's living, because the chaos is mine and it's actually beautiful and I know full well the halls will be empty and the mess will be gone. "Take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Cor. 10:5
4. It's All in Seasons - I have learned so much about the ways of the Lord now that I live in a climate with seasons. Every season needs the one before and the same goes for your children and the same goes for you. Friend, it's not the season for a clean house, it's not the season for smudge free windows. It's not the season for glamorous vacations and sleeping in on a Saturday. You need this season your children are in as much as they do. The present is the present. We miss it so much when we are wishing for the next season to come. I tell myself all the time to stop and enjoy right where they are, because right where they are won't be where they stay. And as they grow I grow too. Enjoy them, enjoy me..enjoy it all.
I know it's not easy, glamorous or always fun. I know it can feel lonely and unseen. Trust me, I really do know. But Jesus....Oh how He sees you, how He loves how you love the children He has given you. What you do for your children you do for Jesus. He is the calling, He is the keeper. And when you go to Him to fill your cup He will be your Source of joy, creativity, strength and clarity He will fill you to OVERFLOW. Your every need fulfilled so you can fulfill the holiest calling of raising your children to be lights in a dark world. Rise up mamas. I believe in you.
It has been a while. If you don't know our family has followed the call of the Lord and relocated to North Carolina. We said yes to Griffin taking a head pastor position. We said yes to living 20 minutes from the mountains. We said yes to seasons, yes to a possible white Christmas, or at least no more 80 degree ones. We said yes to land and space. We said yes to a slower culture. We said yes to fall festivals, and small town. We said yes to many things I have prayed for and dreamed about. And what a sweet Father to bless me with my dreams.
But we also said yes to leaving everything safe, we said yes to moving away from all of our family, we said yes to leaving the state we have lived in for well...basically my whole life and half of Griffins. We said yes to the Father and no to everything else. And honestly it feels like a giant trust fall.
Now I know I am not the first person to uproot their family, I know I am not the first person to experience all of the newness, the change, the feeling like I am taking a huge risk, but nonetheless, you're here, and I am here, and if we were sitting together I'd pour you a cup of coffee, froth the creamer up real thick because I feel fancy with my $30 frother machine. I'd light a candle and I would share my heart. Can we do that?
3 Truths from my Transition
1. Transitions Must be Gentle - Most of my angst and worry hasn't been around Griffin or myself, it has been around the children. Wanting so badly for this to be beautiful and positive and...well... just plain good for them. I asked the Lord one morning, "How do I do this? How do I uproot my children and help them grow some place new?" He said, "Look up how plants are transported." I did and it's beautiful.
Soaking them in water, (my love) much more than normal because their roots are in shock and they need extra nourishment. Not exposing them to too much sun and expecting them to thrive right away. (Not rushing to new activities, new faces and spaces and expecting them to be great.) Taking the time to slowly put them in the new ground and gently pat the soil around the top, not using your feet but your hands, your fingertips. Wow God, yes, No expectations, no forcing, no pushing...slow, gentle, graceful.
2. Be Mindful of the Posture of Your Prayers - I knew this wouldn't be easy but I realized how quickly the battle against weariness was in my mind. We have been given a sound mind. But so often we don't live in this promise. The Word of God is alive and full to the brim with promises for us to cling to and walk in, however I was so convicted the other day by the Spirit. I was praying and it sounded something like this. "Lord please help my children to be okay in their new school. God please help them to not be fearful, protect their souls and hearts. God please help their teachers to love Jesus fearlessly." Nothing wrong there, yet my tone was defensive. My posture was praying out of my fears instead of praying in the right posture...from His promises!
We are in Christ which means we are victorious, which means our prayers must be the promises not the potential problems! So now, when I pray about school. I sound like this. "Father this will be a year my children thrive, they will lead their classrooms, they will find more of who they are in Christ. Father they will have moments that will make their roots in You grow down deep. May this be the year that their faith becomes real, strong, pure. Holy Spirit activate them in their spiritual gifts, open their eyes to see the supernatural, and let them feel Your love in tangible ways that they never ever forget."
3. Where are You Looking? - Griffin moved to NC before the kids and I did. We were apart for 22 days, which felt like much longer than that. The day before he left, the Lord led me to read the story of Jesus walking on water. I felt like He showed me that this will be my season...however long it is; that if I keep my eyes on Him, I won't sink...but if I take them off and look at the storms, or in my case, the unknowns, the new, the fear, the worries...I'll sink immediately. He always confirms for me. I went on a run that same day and two songs that came on shuffle referenced this scripture. A few weeks later my children were watching a show and a character said, "No body can walk on water." A few days after that a worship leader I follow posted a book he finished and the title? "Walking on Water." (thank you Jesus for the confirmations.)
As we have been in our new home now for a month, I have caught myself drifting to find relief in ways that only bring it for a moment. That's what relief does, but Jesus offers refreshment to the soul. Big difference. Relief lasts but a moment, refreshment stays longer and it changes the way you see, feel and breathe. When I set my eyes on Jesus I see Him, I recognize Him. But when I have my thoughts fixed on the unknowns, the storm, well He seems like a ghost. I totally understand the disciples.
So, while I feel like I am falling I know He will catch me. When has He not? Feelings are welcome at the table but they are not the head seat. It's Truth, It's Jesus. He must be the focus. He doesn't lead you where He doesn't go. He doesn't take you so far to only take you so far. And if you find yourself in a new season, place, or in the midst of a transition just remember it's your chance for your faith to grow. It's not supposed to stay the same, there are deeper depths of His love and character we are designed to know. The only way is through the deep, I think it's worth it every time.
Yes you, my dear friend. The one juggling two children trying to navigate newborn stage and a toddler, my hat goes off to you. How you can produce enough milk to sustain one child and at the same time have enough patience for the one who acts how sometimes we wish we could. I see you.
And to the mom, who dove in heart first to foster care while wanting to love her own children but teach them to love others and that this stranger that you need to share your toys with and your mommy and daddy with is now a part of our family but not for long or actually...who knows how long. You question yourself, "Did I make the wrong decision? I am absolutely crazy!" And at the same time being 100% convinced this is exactly what you were supposed to say yes to, oh my dear sister you are brave and courageous. Your reward is heavenly and you are loving the forgotten children, the ones who have seen more abuse in a few short years than many have in a lifetime. I commend you.
To the mama who is looking at the next school year, wondering what the heck is going on. Really hoping to make the right decision, questioning if you are capable to home school and not lose your mind and to do well by your children. Wondering if you are actually capable of teaching all these subjects, or is online good or bad? Sitting in front of a screen, is this the best? To wear masks and that's okay, to not be okay with masks and know that's okay too. To wonder and think and ponder all the what ifs, all the unknowns that are only known by an all knowing God...yes I am right there with you. Grace to you. Take a deep breath, you are not alone.
None of us knew what our life would look like at this time. With the current circumstance, with all the juggling and managing and learning, at the end of the day we just want to be good moms right? On top of the crazy world right now, we still have diapers to change, dinners to cook, games to play and fun to create; but the burden of the constant decisions can have you in place of mental fatigue that wants to just go to a place of auto-drive and not be present, not be all in. It's hard...I get it. Waking up can feel like a burden instead of a blessing. The sleep isn't enough, I haven't slept in eight years, and the amount on your plate makes you feel like it's all about to come crashing down. But if I could, break all forms of social distancing right now and hug you as tightly as I could I would say this to you:
So this season, as long as it lasts, as hard as it may seem I strongly encourage you to not let the world and all it's brokenness cause you to pause your world and all it's beauty to be had. The culture only dictates what you let it. You get to cultivate the atmosphere in your home no laughter, joy, learning, growing, fun, adventures need to stop. Create. Dream. Pray. Worship. Play. Listen. Be intentional. Be all in. Be their mother. Be their leader. Be their pretend customer wanting ice cream at their cafe, be the monster that chases them down the hall, be the teacher who makes learning fun, be the chef who leads them how cooking can be creative. Oh mama Just Be. This season is for you. This season will set you free.
I have one and you have one.
Actually, if you are lucky like me, you have two! Yes, I have two strong-willed little women running around in my house. Demanding, and dreaming, and showing their emotions at the top of their lungs; singing on the couch, jumping off the stairs, and hiding when they are in trouble and crying when they just can't get passed how they feel.
Oh to the mama with the strong-willed little boy or girl I am here for you and with you. It is not an easy road, in fact it can often feel like a mountain you are sucking wind to get to the top of, but I have a funny feeling deep down in my gut that our little strong-willed people are gunna grow up to be the dream chasing, world changing, heaven coming down to earth grown ups who are going to blow us away with their callings, giftings and abilities..but for right now....right now...yes...let's just talk about the right now. Because the future, yep that sounds amazing and great and all good but the right now moment when that strong-willed child has their arms crossed and they are staring you down with that, "I'm not giving in" kinda face...let's talk about that.
iI have three big thoughts for you. Three things that I am learning and processing and clinging to in the midst of that "afternoon right before dinner meltdown". You know the one. I'll paint a picture for you that happens at least AT LEAST once a week.
It's when I've got a teething baby on my hip, a hangry 6 year old, a hot pan in the oven and one on the stove, one other kiddo on the potty and I have one eye on the clock begging for Griffin to walk through the door and rescue me! And then there is my strong willed girl...melting down about something she can't even remember what and why it hurt her feelings and made her mad. And she won't stop screaming till I give her all my attention. Does that picture look at all like yours? Well, here are my three things that I am practicing in the midst of these kinda "momming moments." I hope they encourage you friend.
1. Emotions Don't Come in Child Size
Nope, they don't come in a smaller size to fit into their bodies, actually they come in the same size as yours do. So, that anger that you feel...well they feel the same amount. The jealousy, the embarrassment, the insecurity, the coping, the shame, the sadness...it's all the same amount as yours and mine.
So, when they are in the middle of a "moment" as I like to call them, what they feel is much bigger than they can even handle. And what is our role? To show them how to handle it. Yikes....I think I often give it back to them the same way they are giving it to me. Oh God give me all the grace please. But knowing that my little 3 year old just doesn't know what to do with this frustration and it comes out in a big scream that's where the goal has to be to meet them with how they feel and help them walk through it. Which leads me to number two.
2. We, As Parents, Have to Have a Long-Term Goal
This has helped me so much. The goal can't be just for them to calm down and stop fighting, to stop yelling. Now don't get me wrong that needs to be taught and learned and it MUST HAPPEN, but the goal has to be to help them LEARN how to manage their emotions. We must speak into our children, to the person they are becoming. Our voice will become their inner voice. So, the goal is to plant seeds of helping them know how to walk through their emotions, not get stuck in them and act out of them, but to process and move on. (There are adults who don't know how to do this, actually I just learned a few years ago!) So, even if they don't fully get it, even if it might not seem like it isn't "getting through"; you are planting seeds and this moment is significant and it will grow into a harvest that you will reap from if we don't give up, if we can keep our eyes on the long term goal.
3. Strong is Not Wrong
It's not. And I refuse to receive anyone telling me that it is wrong. The media, the memes, the strangers at the store, the friends or the family who mean well, will try to make you think that it is wrong. "Just wait till they are teenagers." "You have your hands full", "Your life is going to be awful in a few years." I could keep going with the words people have tried to speak into my life about my children, about my motherhood, but I refuse to let those words in.
Strong is not Wrong! Strong is amazing. Strong is unstoppable. Strong is a leader. Strong is a person who won't be swayed by this culture or this world. Strong is a person who won't give up or give in. And when I think of stories in the Bible, I think of how strong looks different in so many leaders. Moses was strong, Noah was strong, Elijah, Elisha, Ruth, Esther, Jochebed, Joshua, David, Elizabeth, Mary...all of these people were such strong people, but also MEEK. Meekness is Strength under control. A leader who is willing to be led. Surrendered to the Father, but when called, they are strong for others to follow, to see, to learn from.
My gut feeling is if you have a strong willed child that means that you were a strong-willed child that grew up to be a strong-willed woman. That in moments you might feel like you are arguing with yourself, that you might gasp just a little to see your tendencies in your children.
But why not speak to your children the way you were spoken to or the way you WISH you were spoken to. Speak to them, to the person, the man, the woman God has created them to be, to the person they are becoming. Love their little hearts right where they are...but speak into who they are CREATED to be...and who they are CREATED to Become. You have got a world-changer in your house...and we have the honor of raising them. Let's raise them well.
From One Tired, Strong-Willed Mama to Another,
I have tried to write this. I have tried to recount and share all the ways that God showed up, all the moments that I was at my breaking point, that I had to humble myself and change my plans, my hopes, and trust the process. Trust the Lord's hand guiding me. And honestly, I feel like words don't do it all justice, but many have asked for the story and I need to write it all down so I never forget the detailed goodness of God. So, here it goes...
Have you ever had a plan? Have you ever had expectations and thoughts, ways you truly thought something would go? But then the door shuts, the plans change, and in an instant you are doing the exact thing you thought you would never do? That was this birth. But God...He was all over it. He always is.
I don't know where you are on your faith journey, or if you happened to stumble on my page and don't really know what you believe in God. But I believe that the same God who parted the sea and healed the blind is moving and working today in my life and your life. I believe that He can do anything, absolutely anything...and He wants to talk to us and reveal Himself to us all the time, and sometimes He will speak to someone else for you on your behalf. That's exactly what He did. My friend, who is also an obstetrician felt like she was meant to deliver Elisha. It didn't make sense, and she didn't know why but she felt called. She also kept seeing the number 52 everywhere. (Often times God shows us the same thing over and over again to get our attention and so we know for sure it is Him)
As my due date inched closer and closer my plan (giving birth at the birthing center) suddenly didn't feel right. I thought it was my own fears, but no matter how hard I prayed, prepped myself and mentally prepared for birth, for the plan I had; the way I wanted it to go was not bringing me peace at all, only anxiety and restlessness. I ended up reaching out to my friend, which I hadn't really done this whole pregnancy. I didn't feel the need. I loved my midwives, I felt fully confident in their abilities and in the plan, but as I started to feel this uneasiness, I felt called to reach out to her. (She never told me she felt led to deliver Elisha. She kept that to herself through my whole pregnancy and prayed for a window) Often times we feel God is revealing something to us, but we don't want to jump to conclusions, we need confirmation, something that shows us yes this is God. So, I reached out to her, thinking to myself, "I hope she can help me. I feel like she is supposed to have a role in this." To me it was a cry for help, but to her it was her window to share with me what the Lord showed her. And after much prayer, I decided to transfer under her care and prepared to be induced at 40 weeks and 5 days. I think we can feel like we are failing when the plans change. When the way we thought it should go and will go doesn't happen. But it's not a failure when God is leading and guiding, it's obedience and humbleness. Suddenly, all I felt was peace.
Always follow Peace.
My friend continued to see the number 52. Then she felt the Lord lead her to Isaiah 52:7 and that it was for Elisha and about Elisha.
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
[Elisha means - God is Salvation. He was a prophet who followed after Elijah and was a miracle worker.]
Since before this boy was born I have had many dreams about him. About me holding a blue-eyed baby with a full head of hair. Of a boy on stage preaching and teaching about Jesus. About a little boy with his sisters working together for the Kingdom. I thought it was wishful thinking, my own hopes, just things that I wanted...regardless, I prayed over those dreams and thoughts and wants and hopes. (I don't know what you think about all of this so far, but I believe that if God spoke to Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Pilate's wife, Samuel, Daniel, and many others...I think He still wants to use dreams to speak to us now!) This scripture aligns with the calling on Elisha's life. He will follow after his father, bringing the good news to people. How beautiful are the feet...
I was induced at 7 am, and around 2pm active labor began. It didn't feel any different than I have experienced. But after an hour of intense pushing with no progress things took a turn. The atmosphere in the room went from excitement and anticipation to worry. My blood sugar started to drop and my vision started to fade. Because of Elisha's position I was experiencing the most excruciating back pain I have ever felt. I couldn't catch my breath in between contractions and I began to feel like I was going to pass out. Pass out from the pain and pass out from exhaustion. I have never held onto to Griffin so hard in my life. My vision was getting smaller and smaller so I shut my eyes tight afraid to open them.
My friend knew she had to make a decision. She began to pray and with tears in her eyes she knew she had two choices. To perform an emergency C-section which would require putting me under full anesthesia because I didn't have an epidural or reach in and turn him...which is something you really don't want to do anymore, especially to someone who has had no epidural. She heard the Lord clear as day lead her to the right decision. In between nitrous, oxygen, and sugar packets being poured into my mouth, I opened my eyes and looked at her. She said, "Heather I need to turn him."
"I trust you." Is all I could say.
She felt the Lord's hand guiding hers as she gently turned his head and then just a few minutes later and...
And after it all he is in my arms and everything fades away. This is a moment of complete relief. I can't even put into words all that I felt. I almost gave up, and I never give up. I really didn't think I could hang on for one more moment, and I have never felt like that before. And to have him in my arms after everything, felt like the greatest gift I have ever been given. He smells like heaven, and I know and believe the Lord had angels in that room that day.
He was born at 3:52 and I was induced at 7 am. See that Isaiah 52:7...God is in all the details.
My hands are full but my heart is fuller. and I can't believe I have the privilege to raise these little souls to be Kingdom warriors, a son and daughters to the King of Kings. That I get to give myself away everyday for them. This is our legacy. We are raising arrows that will change the world.
My sweet son, I would do it all again if I had to. You have completed this family, and completed me. Your Daddy will guide you and your mama will fiercely love you for the rest of your life.
Before you were called Mama you were his. Before you were called Daddy you were hers. You had each other's undivided attention. You’d greet him at the door with a kiss and a hug. You would talk about your day uninterrupted. You had time to look into each others eyes, to laugh and smile. You sat on the couch together after a long day and you could rest and just take each other in. Rub his feet. Rub her back. Stay up late, sleep the morning away. It was calm, orderly, simple.
But when you became a Mama, there was a big shift. You’re unable to greet him at the door. Hopefully you're able to turn around and acknowledge that he is home. Your thoughts before we’re, "I’m so happy he’s home!" to ,"Oh thank the Lord he’s home, two more hands to help me." You used to wear cute outfits for him, now you’re wearing spit up. You used to be able to talk uninterrupted but now you can’t get out a sentence without hearing, "Don’t touch that, or be careful, or (my personal favorite right now ) please don’t lay on top of your sister."
Before you became a Daddy you would come home and you used to be able to sit on the couch, relax and watch ESPN, or go for a run. You used to hear, "Can I get you a drink or snack? and now you hear, "Can you get her shoes on, can you clean that up please?" Your day used to end at 5 now it doesn’t end till your newborn falls asleep.
But remember, remember in the midst of it all, remember you are still his. Remember you are still hers. Remember why you fell in love with him. Remember how she takes your breath away. That under the craziness, the mess, the chaos and the sleepless nights…remember that you can’t get through this without each other. That you are on each other's side. And even in the moments when it doesn't appear to be so, you are still each others number one.
So, be intentional with each other.
Say thank you when without asking he changes a diaper. Smile at him when he drops all of his things and jumps right into playing with the kids on the floor.
When he gets home, no matter what is going on go kiss him! When you are filling up yet another sippy cup, get a drink for him too!
Thank him for how he has helped, loved and supported you.
Remember he has had a long day too. Be gracious, be loving.
Tell her she’s beautiful, even though she won’t believe you today, then tell her again.
Tell her that she is a wonderful mother, even though every method to get your baby to sleep on her own is not working and she feels like she's failing, then give her a big BIG hug.
Ask her how she is, knowing full well you are going to get a very long detailed break down of the days events. Make her stop doing 100 different things at once and grab her and hug her so tightly.
Remember she has had a long day too. So be gracious, be loving.
Be present, even when being present is really hard.
When things are just overwhelming, stop look at each other and smile…then keep going.
Be brave for each other. You will look back and miss this season.
You are his.
He is yours.
I messed up big time. It honestly couldn't have gone any worse. It was one of those days where the frustration was just building plus I'm pregnant and this boy has me on a whole different level of crazy, but that's another blog for another time. The girls just kept fighting, or whining which is one of my triggers. It was so many emotions and tears and tones that were just pushing all my buttons and I had finally had enough. It was bad. And I lost my temper.
I immediately knew I was way out of line, but my heart was pounding so hard in my chest and honestly it felt good to get some of it out. But then I looked at their faces. Confused, scared, and the worst of all, Harper walked away as if she couldn't believe I had responded this way. She walked into another room and began coloring in one of her many coloring books at their little white table in the corner of their room.
I went into my bathroom and shut the door. Giving myself a time out. I prayed out loud, "Father, you have got to help me." My fear was their view of me would be the moments where I scarred them, they will need therapy one day because of me and these moments. Even though, they are few and far between they often feel like the things I remember the most about the day. I was defeated, embarrassed, still mad, and wondering how am I going to go back in there and look at those little faces. But ever so quietly and quickly, the Spirit said, "Their view of you will be one who walks in forgiveness. So show them what it looks like." I love how the Father hears our thoughts, and His level of love towards us is He is always longing to speak against our negative thoughts, He is all about renewing our mind and shifting our focus.
You know what the truth is? That Satan really hates women...and He really REALLY hates mothers. Genesis 3:15 says it all.
And I will put enmity
Every single person on earth comes from a women and their first encounter with love is the Mother. So, if you think your motherhood is not important? If you think your motherhood is just good days and bad days? If you think motherhood is a season you just survive through...my dear dear friend, shift your eyes with me and see this all so differently.
Those little people you serve and raise and teach all day long? They are warriors in disguise. Those little voices that can be so sweet and then surprise you with their sharp tone of anger or jealousy? They are the voices of the next generation that are going to worship, and preach, and teach and lead. Those little hands that you are teaching how to share, well they are filled with the ability to reach far beyond what they can imagine and they are filled with talents, gifting, callings, and heavenly anointings that are going to come to the surface as you raise them.
So I walked back in the room where the girls were. And I bent down low and told them, "Girls, Mommy messed up. Mommy should not have yelled, mommy did the wrong thing. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?" And immediately...and I mean immediately they came over and wrapped their little arms around me and said, "Yes Mama." There was no bitterness, no holding a grudge. In a moment it was over for them. As if it is how they were created, to forgive and move one. So does that mean that unforgiveness is learned? That as we grow, our hearts can become hardened and we build walls, and have reasons as to why this person doesn't deserve our forgiveness? But they, those little souls...walked in forgiveness so effortlessly. Tears filled my eyes as they taught me so much in one moment, one two worded sentence. "Yes Mama."
Warriors I tell you. They are warriors.
It wasn't the first day of school that was hard, it was the second. She was aware of what the day would look like and how long she would be away from me. The excitement had worn off and reality had set in. As I was watching it all unfold, I realized something vital that is shifting the way I parent. It's a harsh reality for a mother's heart but an ever so important one if I am really going to prepare them for this life.
The harsh truth is that my daughters are not going to need me forever. As I type it, my heart stings a bit. The beauty of motherhood is that they see your face and they love you. You are their comfort, their joy, their magical boo boo eraser, their safe place, their everything. There is something beautiful and breathtaking about it all. Yet time is fleeting and the moments are sacred but it's not forever. The truth is they won't need me forever, but they will need the Holy Spirit forever. And when I watched my Harper Grace, my rainbow baby, my brave girl walk away on the second day of school I saw the unsteadiness on her face. I saw the fear, and I saw the shakiness in her little legs and there was nothing I could do for her. I wanted to throw the van in park, ruin the drop off line orderliness and run up the sidewalk and hug her with all of my might. (If it happens again, I just might do that) But what I realized is that I want to teach her how to speak to God. I want to teach them that they have the Spirit inside of them and if they need peace, they have access to the Prince of Peace. If they need self-control, they can pick the fruit of self-control like a super power.
So how? How do we teach them? We have to be the influencer. We must be the visual for them to see. Phew...what a tall order. An order covered in grace and mercies and countless opportunities to try again and again. We will be known by our fruit not by our gifts. We will be known by being a person of peace rather than a person of many talents. We must practice and prune our gardens of the fruit of the Spirit. I long to plant and nurture a garden of patience and joy so that my children can walk through and pick its' fruit. They will know what it looks like, they will know what it feels like. Even before they fully understand it all, their worldview is being shaped by you.
As mothers we have an incredible opportunity to empower our children to know how to access God the Father. How you see Him will be how they see Him. How you pray will be how they pray. When the pressure is on how do you respond and react? Have you already been practicing joy that in the midst of the current circumstance, you can claim the joy that you have been nurturing?
Can you bridle your tongue when your heart is under pressure? That's how you show that you are wise. An understanding heart keeps you cool, calm, and collected no matter what you're facing.
Proverbs 17:27 The Passion
And what I SO love about the true pure heart of the Father is that when we miss this moment, He gives us another chance. He isn't mad, He is patient. He doesn't focus on our mistakes. Jesus already nailed all of those to the cross. The Father is focused on making you new. The Father is focused on your righteousness, He focused on the second chance He is going to give you tomorrow to be an example of kindness to your children. And He will smile and be a proud Father, because that is who He is. He is for you and He wants to do this with you. And He sent us the most incredible partner for this crazy season of life. The Holy Spirit. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not asking the Spirit for help! Constant help mothering these beauties I have been blessed with. Because I am not just simply raising children and staying at home and playing all day. (Oh the comments I get from strangers) I am raising:
My children will not need me forever. But they will always need the Father. May my garden be rich and plentiful of the fruit of the Spirit that my children's children's children will walk through and be nourished.
Today matters. And what you are doing today will echo in eternity and for generations to come.
I am sorry it has been a while since I have been writing. I have had some writer's block for the past few weeks. I have been asking the Lord for fresh inspiration and it came as a big smack in the face like it sometimes can but nevertheless, I am so excited to share.
This is all about creativity, about the atmosphere we can create as mothers. This is about cultivating. This is about your identity, and this is about what we do when no one is watching, the mundane, the 95% of your life that is hidden, because let's face it that's the part that matters the most. That's where all of the growth happens.
It had been a rough week. I was in a slump, unmotivated, and absolutely exhausted. I couldn't pull myself out of how I felt, and it began to show in the girls and the atmosphere of our home. We were watching a lot more TV, because I could easily justify how I was feeling. I wasn't being intentional with the girls and playing with them. I was on edge and they felt it. They seemed unsettled, restless, and aggressive. Like sitting on top of each other, yelling, crying and lots of fighting. It was not the way I envisioned my life as a brand new 30 year old. It was not the way I thought I would mother my children and it was not the way I wanted to spend my days. But I just felt stuck. Ever been there? Oh but the lesson I have learned out of this is so sweet and fragrant and rich and life changing. And it came at a place of "feeling off" and overwhelmed. I started claiming peace and love and joy. But I felt like it wasn't happening. But that's just it...the fruit of the Spirit is not something you reach out and grab whenever you need it. It is something you cultivate and prune and practice.
To have the fruit of the Spirit you have to tend to the fruit of the Spirit.
If you have a garden, you must work on it and tend it every single day. Flowers need water EVERY SINGLE DAY! This is why I don't have a beautiful garden or a luscious yard. I can't keep up with the maintenance. There is a reason they are called the FRUIT of the Spirit. Just like a garden, they must be tended to, nurtured. We must practice the fruit. Then the more we practice, in times of need it just flows, we can tap right into it, and it is effortless. Don't we all want a life like that?
Mothering has taught me invaluable lessons and one of those is the space we can create with our words and prayers. We teach our children how to create and imagine. Creating is a part of our DNA, our birthright and creating can change an atmosphere. The whole beginning of the Bible is the trinity creating. Waters rushing to the shore line, and then stopping wherever the Father desired to draw the line in the sand. Trees bursting through the ground full of fruit, flowers, and color. Animals running through woods full of life. There are lines and details and boundaries, and freedom and joy. Creativity is how the world is going to know that we are made in the image of God. I long to give my children the permission to create beauty. For we don't want to simply consume. Consume by watching TV, getting snacks instantly when we want them. But we create. So many times we want to skip the process. We want things when we want them right away, we don't want to go through the process to get the result. We would rather just have the result.
But the process is vital to our souls. The process of making food. The process of building, painting, drawing...we are missing out on the art of creating. Of taking ingredients, of kneading the dough, and working, and together making something beautiful and savory. There is something powerful in us that comes to life when we create. Because we can't do the mundane half heartedly and then expect for us to shine when people see us. No, it's the 95% that no one sees that changes the 5% everyone does see. It's in the mundane where you are pruned, where you grow, and when you hear from the Spirit. When you access the beauty, glory and sustainability of the Father in the parts no one sees, you have created authenticity. That is what the world craves. And that is what will set you apart
Gain authority in the places no one see so that when you stand on a stage you have something real to give the world.
I want my children, my grandchildren, my children's children's children to not remember me for what I could do, how many books I wrote, or any of my gifts and talents. I want them to remember me for the fruit in my life. That I was dripping with creativity, and kindness, and gentleness. That I looked them deep in the eyes when they were speaking, that I held their faces in my hands and mesmerized every inch of their God given beauty, that I valued their feelings and thoughts and dreams. Yes, it's the mundane, the parts of your life that no one sees that carry the weight, that change the atmosphere, that carry the legacy of your life. I believe that to be the most important part of it all.
I’m Heather a blessed wife and mama to four little souls who always keep me wild and free. My goal is to uplift and inspire as I share my life with you. Thanks for stopping by!