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.
It was a perfect storm. It was one of those days that couldn't have gone any worse. (I know so encouraging right? Just hang with me) I know you have had them. The middle and youngest girl just chose to wake up mad; mad at the world, mad at their cereal, mad at each other and mad at mom. Why? Just because. Because they were unhappy and they wanted me to know about it. (And our neighbor next door the screams were that loud)
The oldest was as sweet as could be, and she was eagerly wanting me to do everything with her. Play with her, teach her, read her the Bible no less, water the plants with her, and of course, like the perfect storm that it was I couldn't...literally couldn't. Someone was always crying or fighting or spilling something. So I had to turn her down time after time and turn to the other two and kiss boo boos, and teach, and discipline and correct ever so gently (which lasted till about...lunchtime), and to try to do anything to just stop the madness! And to top it off...Griffin was sick, like couldn't move, could barely breathe, coughing like crazy kinda sick. So I was going around with oils and diffusers, and spoons full of elderberry and natural lysol stuff just trying to quarantine the sick man while managing the monkeys!
At the end of the day I got in bed at eight and Griffin said to me, "You're going to bed already?" And I said, "Yes, I need this day to end. I really need to start over." And that was it. I went to bed with good intentions, took deep breaths, prayed through it all, did my nightly routine of stretching, lotion and pillow spray. (Griffin makes fun of me for this, but I sleep incredibly well. He is missing out) Yet, I woke up...and the cloud of yesterday had not worn off. My mood wasn't any better. I still felt discouraged and I still felt like a failure. I still felt the weight of all of the hard moments from yesterday and my attitude was sighing, "Great here we go again." The day hadn't even started yet but I all I felt was the angst of yesterday in my heart. I mean I hadn't even seen their faces, I hadn't even put my feet on the ground and I was allowing my feelings of yesterday to dictate my decisions of today. Do you do that sometimes?
I know I can be honest here because you have probably felt this way too. And I want to be honest because I desperately want you to know that you are not alone. This motherhood business is no joke and sometimes it can be so hard and lonely and we wake up overwhelmed by the day before us. We wake up feeling like there is no way we can accomplish all that is on our plates. But what God is showing me is that the sun doesn't rise in obligation for us but in affirmation of us.
When that new day dawns and we open our eyes, remember the sun is shining because God believes in you and God is in you and is working through you. Even when you had a terrible yesterday, you lost your temper, you didn't have patience, you didn't set the good example. Maybe you can't figure out the best way to discipline, to love, to encourage. Even when you are totally out of energy, and you want to let them binge watch Daniel Tiger all morning. (Nothing wrong with that either my friend) We must check our hearts. Because we don't have to live in the weight of the worst moments, we were not created to. We don't have to let the load carry over to the next day, we have to hit refresh. Refresh on our minds, our hearts and take a deep exhale and know, know that by "...His divine power He has given us everything we need." 2 Peter 1:3
He hasn't given you the things you might want but He has given you the things you need. And what you need, I need, we all need is access to the Spirit to tap into the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the goodness and the self-control (an extra dost of that one please) that He possesses. We need grace every morning, and peace at night. Rest I think is a reminder to us that we are not God and He is. And He isn't keeping score of your mistakes, He isn't keeping track of the times you lost your temper. He is picking you back up when you fall, He is wiping your tears and unclenching your fists, because He sees you, and He sees your children and He is with you.
Remember as you start a new day tomorrow that He has given you everything you need, which is, most importantly, Himself. Hit refresh and fix your eyes and heart on things above.
No one told me it would hurt this bad. No one said that having children was like having your heart walk around outside your body. No one said that having a child was the complete dying of self every single day. No one said watching them grow was like trying to catch the wind. No, no one said that the moment they stop being babies and turn into little girls would take your breath away because you can't keep them, you can't stop them, and you can't freeze time. No one mentioned that the moment you decide to be done having children, everything seems to go in slow motion. And as I watch my littlest grow, I can't help but to grasp on to each moment just a little bit longer. Because no one ever told me.
I have found myself in this middle ground between peace and angst. Between relief and longing. To experience conflicting emotions at the same time can make you feel undone. This season of my life, the one I am leaving and the one I am entering...it's a pure mix of emotions. Like trying to keep your head above water with the crashing of the waves, like trying to keep your eyes open, wide open so you don't miss a single thing. There are major transitions in motherhood we will go through, and handling them well can feel like trying to stop time...impossible.
The moment you become a mother, there is a transition in your diet, sleep, intake of water, vitamins, etc. You are suddenly aware of your ever growing stomach, the pains, and aches. You feel the need to constantly google every symptom, and double check if this sandwich you are about to eat is safe, or how much caffeine can I really have in a day? Or will this nausea really ever end? It is all transition from making one little life much more important than your own. And that is only the beginning.
"What transition was harder? One to two or two to three?" I get this question a lot, and honestly it was zero to one. When Harper came into the world my transition was shaky, unstable and fear driven. What if I can't do this? What if I am not the best? What if I drop her? (I did by the way, but she is fine) What if I don't know what decisions to make? (I didn't, still don't but so far so good) And what if what if I completely fail at being selfless and meeting her needs? And then Jesus said, "Love her like I love you."
Now here I am, Harper is soon to be five, and Paisley just turned three, and my little Sky baby is 19 months and I cannot slow them down for a second. The little dimples on their knuckles are fading away, the baby toys are being packed up, and no one told me that when you know it's time to be done having children that there is an ache in your heart because it all is coming to an end, but at the same very moment...a start of something new and beautiful. When your children are young, they break you, and make you and shape you. You never knew a four year old could humble you to your knees, and this area of your life that you knew so well...well it's time to step into a new one, a new season that you know nothing about. You see it's the transition that can leave you afraid. It's the unknowns of what lies ahead and all the thousands and thousands of more decisions that you have to make that can keep you up at night.
But you know what I think? I think the transitions are the seasons that show us who we are, Whose we are. The transitions in life are those moments of going from the known to the new. And the new isn't meant to scare us, it is meant to solidify to us that the God who walked with you through all of your past is paving the way through this next path. It's faith in action, it's trust in His word that it doesn't return void, that my unsettled shakiness will lead me to His unbreakable readiness to come in and show up for me because that's who He is and that's what He does. And in an ever changing world we can always count on an unchanging God.
The transitions in life are those moments of going from the known to the new.
So if, today, this month, or this year is a transition for you like it is for me. Exhale Hard. And breathe in deep. Breathe in deep the truth, the predictable, sound, real, raw ever consistent truth that He is one step a head of you. Because honestly how your little ones take on new adventures knowing that we are right beside them, I think that's the way it's supposed to be for us...knowing He is right beside us.
Here's to looking ahead.
Today I want to share a snippet from the book I am currently writing...I hope this lands on the right person's eyes. God told me to share this today.
Genesis 16: 2-4, “And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.”
One thing I love about winter is the trees. I know you might be thinking, “What trees? There are just sticks.” And you’re right. What I love about the trees is that they don’t block your view. Think about it, you can be standing at the edge of the forest and you can see all the way to the other side because all of the trees are just so thin. There is something about winter, that allows you to see if you choose to. There is a lesson from these trees. The reason they don’t break and fall over and die from the bitter cold conditions is because their roots are so deep.
There roots are so deep that they can withstand whatever this season may bring. Their roots are deep in the ground in who made them, who created them. They know their source of life and they dig as deep as they can to grasp for any nutrients because they know winter is upon them. What we see from these scriptures is that Sarah was given a promise, yet it wasn’t happening on her time. She began to lose hope and decided something needs to be done so she can have a child. She took matters into her own hands. We see that she didn’t really believe in the promise. Her roots were not deep enough to sustain the waiting that can happen. Her roots were easily uprooted and she was not sustained by the Sustainer.
Maybe you are in a season of waiting. Whether God has given you a promise or you are looking for an answer, you might be waiting. Well I want to remind you that God is never late. He was not late with Sarah, and he is not late with you. Maybe the place you are in with your child is trying. They are pushing you, they are defying you. That can make you feel overwhelmed, and completely undone. I will never forget a month we had that I thought I would never survive.
It seemed that all of my girls needed me in the most intense way. No one was sleeping whether it was a sickness, a nightmare, or teething I was up every hour or someone was constantly trying to climb into our bed. I would tell Paisley, “Please don’t touch the stove”, and like a moth to the flame she just had to touch it. Harper was realizing she was stronger than her sisters and was enjoying teasing them just enough to cause screaming. And any moment I tried to accomplish any task, my sweet baby Skyler would cling to my legs begging to be held leaving me one handed to complete any small task. I was overwhelmed, absolutely exhausted, frustrated and depleted. I had nothing to offer them, my patience was running thin, and I felt like I had completely lost myself. Anyone feeling this way today?
Just know you are not alone. Just know the season will end. Maybe it’s a month, or a week, or a few months, God is right there, He truly has not forgotten you, even when you feel like you have forgotten yourself. He sees you, and if you have your roots deep in Him you might not be able to see the end of winter, but you can see Him. You can see truth over lies, you can see the promises He has laid out for you in His word, and if your roots are deep in Him He will give you the eyes to see your children the way He sees them. Even more, you will see yourself the way He sees you. It is easy to feel lost in this calling, but Motherhood does not define you. It will make you and shape you but it is simply not all of who you are. You are a child of God, free, lovely, amazing, talented, one of a kind, and redeemed. Stay rooted and know He has His eyes on you.
I have a new practice I do at the end of every month. It is incredibly healthy for my soul. I journal all of my "take-aways" from the month. From lessons I have learned, to truths the Lord has laid on my heart; it helps me to gain perspective and sit back and look at all the Lord has accomplished, and to see all the areas where He is trying to grab my attention. And there is usually a lot of moments of Him grabbing my attention, or simply grabbing me.
And if I am completely honest, and I want to be...this week has been one of the worst..actually the past few weeks have left me weary and worn. He has definitely had my attention. I was incredibly sick for 5 days, stuck in bed for 2 and unable to eat anything. Griffin was gone for a week after that, which is always so hard. I can't sleep without him...anyone else like that?
Then this past week...my sweet Paisley...oh my Paisley; my wild child, my free spirit has been so sick. I have never seen her like this, to the point of sleeping all day, barely opening her eyes. She didn't dance, barely could get her to smile. She was just miserable. She wanted me close but not too close, she screamed for me all day but I couldn't give her what she needed. I would have taken every ounce of her pain upon myself in a split second if I could, oh I wish I could have. I need to share that before this week, her and I were not getting along well. We were having a lot of talks in time out, we were working on not getting what we want when we want, we were understanding how powerful a dirty look can be.
And needless to say I was absolutely exhausted and feeling like a failure. But through this the Lord revealed to me...my Paisley, His Paisley.
My children do not all look to me the same, they do not see me the same, and they do not hear me the same way. They all need different types of love from me, and I can't just simply interact with them in the way that comes easiest to me And this little girl...needs an extra amount of grace. Do you have one of those? The one that wanders but is never really lost. The one that has to touch the flame because they need to know for themselves that it is hot. The one that seems to make a mess out of the most simple things, and the one that will truly march to the beat of their own drum. I have one, and the truth is.. she is just like me. Fragile but strong, messy but fun, free, loud, joyful, strong willed, a feeler, needs alone time and needs to have quiet, curious, and won't color in the lines.
The Lord showed me that with this type of heart and mind, must be held with fragile hands. They are not a problem, or "too much". They are not wild and frustrating. They are not a child to be tamed they are a heart to be trained and encouraged, and guided and enjoyed. They are dreamers, they are leaders, they won't follow the crowd they will go their own way, and if we guide and gently direct that way, they will be used by God and they won't be stopped.
And this week, she was not this girl. She barely moved, I carried her everywhere, and she didn't dance. My Paisley wasn't dancing and anyone who knows her knows she must dance. This week was scary, trying and sad. Our house was different, everything felt off. It was because the spark of the family was gone. She has always been the spark. Her birth was a crazy story in itself, and she has always changed the atmosphere of a room. And her eyes, those eyes have always been able to pierce right through me.
I share this jumbled mess of a post to say that maybe you have a strong willed one. Maybe you are at the end of your rope and just so frustrated and tired. You feel walked all over, disrespected and pushed to your limit. Maybe you don't feel cut out to parent him. Maybe you don't know how to get through to her. I am here to say I understand. I know being consistent and loving even when they are pushing back with all of their might can take everything out of you. I will say...as I laid next to Paisley Joy as she fell asleep exhausted and weary this week, God whispered to me a powerful truth. "She is first mine. I hold all of her time in my hands. I need you to finish strong. She needs you to nourish her spirit."
We have been given assignments, and these assignments don't define us, but they do mold us, break us, and make us. We are to honor God with our parenting. We are to take care of the possible and to trust God with the impossible. We must learn the difference.
I love the scripture that says, "I will gently lead those who are with the young." (Isaiah 40:11) So many times I get so caught up in my day, the emotions I feel, I forget to invite the Holy Spirit in. Before I walk into that room, to stop and just simply say, "God what do I say? God help my tone to be kind." This has been my undoing. This has been my un-rushing, these little moments. And it took my Paisley Joy being so sick for me to see her like He sees, and yes give her a little extra dose of Grace.
Lord knows I need it too.
I’m Heather a blessed wife and mama to three beautiful little girls and my son who always keep me wild. My goal is to uplift and inspire as I share my life with you. Thanks for stopping by!