My world turned upside down

Two weeks ago my world turned upside down…  
We had been home with our newborn daughter two days when she stopped eating well and started breathing really hard. After a couple of phone calls to the doctor on call, we headed to the emergency room. 

That’s when it went from 0 to 60…

At first, we didn’t know what the cause was. We soon learned it was her heart. As the night progressed every update seemed to be worse and worse. Our sweet little baby had a broken heart. 

And it was really bad. Her body was shutting down. Her kidneys, intestines, and liver were in shock. 

Five days later she went to the operating room to have her tiny little heart operated on. It was a complicated surgery. The magnitude of how bad her heart was hit us when the surgeon met us after the surgery and the first words he said to us was, “she had a really sick heart.” 

All I could do in that moment was thank God we were here. Thank God we were in Texas so close to an amazing hospital. Thank God my parents were out here to help with the kiddos. Thank God for this surgeon who was skilled enough to operate on a heart the size of a strawberry. 

As I sit here now, staring at my precious baby, nine days post surgery, it’s amazing to see how well she is doing. We are in a much better place than we were just a little over a week ago. 

These past two weeks have been so difficult AND so beautiful. 

My mama’s heart hurts because my hugs and kisses can’t make her better. My heart hurts because I have three other kiddos at home who miss me. My heart hurts because I don’t understand why this happened. My heart hurts because I feel helpless. 

But I have seen so much of God’s hand throughout this whole situation. God protected my baby and is still protecting her. 

Because of my sweet baby so many people came together to pray in unity over her healing. So many have rallied beside us and we have seen how much family we truly have. 

I understand so deeply the peace that God gives. I have a deeper understanding of God being close to the broken-hearted. 

During these past two weeks there has been an overwhelming peace washing over me. I have no doubt that God perfectly knit this little baby together. He has BIG plans for her.

I feel as though I am wrapped in a big, warm hug, shielding me from the arrows of the enemy. I know my refuge and strength is in the Lord. He is guarding my heart and mind and holding me together. 

I didn’t choose this, I didn’t want this. 

But I choose joy. I choose to rejoice in all my circumstances. I choose hope. I choose to believe that God has big plans for my sweet baby. I choose to believe God will use this for good. 

Never Alone, but Lonely.

I never thought motherhood would be lonely.

But I am finding there are times when I find myself never alone, but lonely.

I spend all day with little humans demanding my attention, stealing kisses and hugs, giving laughs and love. I am surrounded by these little whom I love so much, but still craving something more.

As moms, we long for deep connections. We were made to connect with others. We were not meant to do life alone. In the stage of parenting little ones, motherhood can become a bubble that we build around ourselves, typically unintentionally. We are limited by the times we can go out, where, when, and who we can go out with.

Not only are we limited in our outings, but motherhood is exhausting, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. With so many aspects of our lives demanding so much of us it’s important we fight against the loneliness of motherhood.

I am learning the things I can do to combat the feeling of loneliness. I have not mastered this at all, I am in the midst of it. But what I do know is I am not alone, we are not alone. It’s encouraging to know there are other moms who have been here before and survived and moms who are going through this season at the same time.

Here are some things to consider in the fight against the loneliness of motherhood:

1. Spend time with Jesus!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our strength should come from the Lord. In our weakness He is stronger. If we are not taking care of ourselves first not only do we suffer, but our children suffer as well. It’s important we give every day to Jesus, sometimes we need to give Him each moment.

Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we, as parents, need to teach our children about the Lord and how to walk with him. They will never understand what that means if we are not first doing it ourselves. It’s an intentional time that we must carve out of our day to spend at the feet of Jesus. You can do it in the morning, during nap time, after you put the kids to sleep, whatever the time, it’s just important you spend time with Jesus and in His Word.

2. You and your husband are in this together.

The fight is not against each other. You are both parents to your children and on the same team. It’s important to stand together.

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Your husband is on your team. God calls us to be untied. When we are able to realize, an act upon, that we are on the same team we can accomplish anything! It’s amazing what we can do when we are moving in the same direction.

3. Cultivate your circle of friends.

Friendship takes work, like all relationships. We are not meant to go through life alone, and that is not limited to a spouse. Our friends are those who will encourage us and sharpens us.

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

It’s ok if you have a large circle of friends and it’s ok if you have a small circle of friends. However great or small, remember you have a circle of friends. Work at cultivating those relationships. You may not see each other everyday like you did before kids, but that doesn’t mean the friendship is gone.

Reach out. Remember, we all need someone. And remember how you feel today, one day you may just be that friend that helps another who feels lonely.

4. Do not give up! 

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test of time he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

It’s so important to never give up. When we are stuck in the mommy bubble it’s easy to stay in the vicious cycle of day in and day out. Make the choice to break through the walls of the mommy bubble and reach out to someone.

It takes vulnerability. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes willingness. It takes more than we have on our own. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit who is able to strengthen us. Lean on that and draw from the Lord’s strength.

Cherish every moment with your littles. This season won’t last forever. When you make it through, remember how you felt and reach out to another mama who may need a comforting hand.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

 

Choosing to Abide

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Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

There are so many seasons we go through in life. In everything we have great seasons of reaping and seasons of sowing. Through it all, if we are not connected to the Lord we will be thrown this way and that and we end up on the ground looking up wondering what happened.

In order to thrive as a woman, wife, parent, friend, leader we have to abide in the Lord. The fruit of our labor only comes when we are connected to the one who gives to us the wisdom and strength to bear good fruit.

I have been through alot in the past few years. My husband and I have had doors slammed shut in our faces only to turn and hear the Lord saying to follow him. We’ve struggled with finding jobs and providing for our family. Our family has been growing, and growing, and growing. We have struggled financially and physically and emotionally. But through it all I have remained connected to the Lord.

Every day I make an intentional effort to spend time with Jesus. We cannot truly abide if we do not open up the Word of God and make an intentional effort to open our hearts and ears to the Lord.

The secret to thriving through each season is how intentional we are to spend time with Jesus and allowing His Word to penetrate our hearts. It’s a daily choice we need to make if we are going to thrive at all in life through all the seasons we go through.

Courage Doesn’t Always Roar

Courage

In this season of parenting for me, it seems I have more days where I find myself at the end of the day finally putting my head on the pillow saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” There are many times I feel like I’ve failed, like I am the worst parent ever, and thankful I made it through the day.

It takes courage to parent. It takes courage to walk through the day and fight through breaking apart each wrestling or yelling match or constantly being called upon. Our children deserve to see their parent’s courage, even in the midst of exhaustion and failure.

Courage is a choice. We can choose to fight, run away, or pee down our leg. Courage is not easy, it’s not always loud either. Courage is getting up every morning, taking each day one moment at a time and making the choice to keep moving. Courage is choosing joy in the midst of it all.

God has called me to motherhood. He has blessed me with three beautiful children and another one to add to my crazy circus.. Courage in the midst of my world comes from turning to Jesus and saying I cannot do it anymore, please carry me. And He will!

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with yo wherever you go.” 

My strength comes from the Lord. Thank goodness because most days I am in short supply. So today I will choose courage. I will choose joy. I will choose to fight.

Today I will fight to spend time with Jesus, at His feet. I will fight to fuel my heart and energy with the strength and joy of the Lord. I will fight for my children. I will fight for their eternities, because in the end that’s what I have been called to do.

The Art of Vulnerability

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Being vulnerable is an art.

It’s quite a daunting task if we haven’t been first honest with ourselves. I struggle with this. I am the momma bear, the caregiver. I naturally want to take care of everyone. However, I am not able to give my best when I am not OK.

I am learning that it is OK to not be OK.

We each have our strengths and talents and for some we can push through a lot. We can take on a lot of stress, worry, anxiety and push aside our insecurity and fear with our pride to make it seem like we’re ok. But learning to be vulnerable starts with first being vulnerable with ourselves.

Paul reminds us in Corinthians that God is the one “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort we ourselves are comforted by God.” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

Someone recently shared with me that in order to comfort others we must first be comforted and being comforted means opening ourselves up to allow someone to see us in those vulnerable moments and give us comfort.

When we withdraw from those whom God has placed in our lives, we are not allowing God to comfort us. We are called to carry the burdens of each other (Galatians 6:2), we are not meant to do this life alone.

I’ve been challenged to take a look at what I am enduring or pushing through just because I have to and realizing where I might need to stop, be vulnerable, and allow someone to come alongside me and help. After all, we don’t get  a village without asking for help.

God wants to comfort us. We shouldn’t let our pride or fear or anxiety get in the way of being vulnerable and opening ourselves up to the comfort from others. Let your village surround you and support you. No one expects you to be perfect and OK all the time.

Children are Blessings

psalm 127

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a blessing and sometimes we don’t always remember that. In those moments of craziness, when you are hoping your children will be worn and tired from the events of the day they surprise you and the opposite happens. You now have children amped up and running in circles around your already exhausted self.

In those moments patience and self-control should be present but seem to fly out the window. (At least for me). I usually end up having to say sorry and let’s start over tomorrow on a better note to my children.

But what if we hit the reset button in the midst of the chaos? What if we figure out a way to redirect their energy into something constructive, something that ends up more like play time?

Our children remember more of how situations made them feel rather than what was actually said or done. So instead of yelling and trying to control the chaos to make it stop, redirect all that energy into something fun.

Remember children are a blessing and we need to remind them that they are a blessing to us. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of controlling the chaos that we forget our children need to hear how much they bless our lives, despite the chaos.

Growing through Motherhood

 

I always dreamed of being a mom, I wanted children to love and take care of my own little family. I heard motherhood was tough, I was told it will change your life, I thought I understood what it meant to be completely self-less. But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

Motherhood changed my life completely. It all began the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had a little human growing inside me, a miracle, a blessing. It was like I was given a different lens to see life. Everything changed.

With each child new challenges arose (I currently have a 4 year old, two year old, one year old, and one on the way). I never imagined how difficult it would be to have young children. They are quite a challenge, not just in their life stage but learning how to nurture your children, provide for them, all the while keeping yourself fed, happy, healthy, spiritually growing, and thriving.

I reached a point where I was just surviving. I am in the middle of finding that sweet spot between thriving and surviving. It ebbs and flows. But through this I am learning how to have peace in the midst of all the chaos. I am learning in order for me to successfully be the woman, wife, mother, friend God has called me to be I first need to go to Him.

phil 1.6

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

The process of growing and being refined as a mother will not stop until Jesus returns. At first that seems discouraging, “You mean I have to keep surviving knowing it won’t stop until Jesus comes back?!” But the beauty of this is that we can grow. We can thrive. We can do more than just survive. Jesus promises that He will refine us and prune us so that we can become more of who He has called us, purposed us to be.

Finding beauty in the midst of surviving and thriving is the most rewarding of being refined as a mother. Yes, motherhood is challenging in way I never knew, let alone even existed. Yes, motherhood is the most rewarding knowing this is what God has destined us to be.

I am learning to embrace the Truth: Jesus began this work of motherhood in me the moment I learned I was pregnant. He will be with me every step of the way!

Unrealistic Expectations

Businesswoman Mother Concept

There is so much pressure to be supermom, I’m here to say you don’t have to be. You are enough!

 

Expectations breed frustrations.

You are not supermom.

Let me say it again, you are not supermom. You don’t have to be. You are enough.

Now that we’ve said it out loud what does that even mean? Understandably our littles require so much of us and we have so much to responsibilities. But we don’t have to do it all. Somewhere the expectation for moms to “have it all together” became the norm. Society puts so much pressure on us to have perfect children, a spotless house, a wonderful loving husband, a great marriage…the list goes on and on. We set ourselves up for failure when we try to measure up to that line.

The reality is we won’t have it all together, and that’s OK! We need to remember God entrusted our children to us because He knew we are the best parents for our children. In the midst of striving to be the perfect supermom we tighten the chains that we’ve placed on ourselves.

We can only be truly free of the bondage of these expectations when we allow ourselves to be released from them. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and accept our limits we break the chains that keep us from experiencing all that God wants us to experience.

Our husbands and children will be so much happier if we are not striving after a mark that we rarely or ever attain. Afterall, God doesn’t call us to be perfect. He calls us to be His.

Turning off Autopilot

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Sometimes I find myself wandering through my life in a blur; I am on autopilot.

Parenting can do that to us. Ministry can do that to us. Marriage can do that to us. Life does that to us.

It’s important that we take time to make sure the fuel going into our souls is rich with nutrients. We turn on our autopilot when we are getting just enough (or not enough) to sustain the momentum we are running at.

Each day it’s important to start with Jesus and have him interwoven throughout the day. We cannot resort to autopilot during the day because we are setting ourselves up for failure. That is when the enemy will come in and attack.

The bible tells us the enemy is prowling like a lion, seeking to devour something. If I were a lion and I saw two zebras one galloping and running around and the other walking around in circles just going with the flow, which would I choose to attack?

Something I am learning more and more is how to rest, in midst of chaos. As a mom, your job is not ever really over. But as a mom it’s so important that we take the time to draw near to the Lord.

We do our best at preventing autopilot when we are intentional about drawing near to God, quieting our constantly running minds, and letting Him fill our needs.

It’s so important we turn off autopilot so that we can intentionally focus on the calling and purpose for our lives.

 

You have to start somewhere

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You have to start somewhere.

Praying, dreaming, planning, designing, hoping, seeking wisdom are all great things to do to prepare to start something. But they don’t replace it.

Hoping to be good at something doesn’t mean you will become good overnight. It takes practice, diligence, endurance, and most importantly it requires you to start.

Everyone who has mastered a skill had a beginning.

What is your beginning? What are you ignoring? What are you doing that you shouldn’t be doing? What aren’t you doing that you should be doing?

For me, this is where I begin. I have been told I should write. I fought through many interfering thoughts-I don’t have anything to say, no one wants to hear from me, there’s already so many blogging, writing, speaking, etc. that I wouldn’t make a difference.

I’ve realized these are just excuses for not writing, for not doing the very thing I know I would enjoy, for not doing the thing I know in my heart that I should do. At the end of the day this is not for anyone other than myself.

Alas, I have to start somewhere.

So here I go…