A healing birth after trauma.

Before I write this I want to specify that a healing birth after having a difficult one doesn’t always happen. Often women are left scared, and forever changed from the one birth that left them traumatized. I was there for four years. I was hurt, wounded and angry. Sure that I would never view birth the same. My heart longed for just one more positive experience to end that note on.

For me, that happened. For you, I pray it happens. But, if it doesn’t , please know there are ways Jesus can heal you heart, other than birth. There IS hope for you. Your pain doesn’t have to stay.

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As soon as I knew my labor was real, unlike the three other false labors I had experienced, I literally prayed for the pain to come.

Some would look at me like I was insane, asking the pain to overtake my body. I understood that I lived and flowed through the new covenant with Jesus, the one where it was his will to take the pain of labor away. I knew women that had experienced a pain free birth, and I believed their stories. I also knew deep down in my wounded heart that I needed to feel the pain this time.

There is something about agonizing pain that makes the ending of the pain beautiful. This deep breath after holding it underwater. A gasp of oxygen.

With each wave of pain I welcomed it, not to accept punishment, but to FEEL my body do something I had longed for. Something I prayed into, long before Luca was conceived.

Each pain I felt, I grew closer to Jesus, allowing my body to lay at the foot of his feet and to soak in his presence. Each tear that formed in my eyes, everytime I looked at my husband and cried out for him to pray over me, I felt Him. I felt his joy over this life I was bringing into the world in the way I wanted.

The pain was unbearable, so much so that I shook with each contraction, and yet I loved them all the same. Each pain brought me closer to my promised baby.

When you are in such great pain, you cannot think of anything else.

I couldn’t think of anything else but meeting my son. I imagined how Jesus must have felt on the cross that day, thinking of only us, his children. I imagined how he literally welcomed the blood, the pain and the tears as a sign of his love for you, for me.

The pain was something I needed to experience for myself, in my walk with him. The pain did something in my spirit that a perfect, pain free birth couldn’t have done. I laid my pain at his feet, my every whim and move HAD to succumb to his presence. I was weak, but he was strong.

I needed Him, I needed to need Him.

After pushing him away for so long after my traumatic birth, I know that he allowed me to experience a long, painful labor , all the while holding me in his arms. I needed to be weak as a child needing her Daddy to fix it.

He allowed my pain to kill my pride. He didn’t WANT me to be in pain, that is not his perfect plan, but he allowed it.

I will tell you that I have never felt closer to him. I have never lifted my head to the heavens, begging for him to comfort me more that I did that night, and into the morning hours. I needed my Dad. He met me.

Just when I thought I would pass out from exhaustion, he lifted me up, to keep pushing until my son was earthside.

After two hours of pushing, with no progress, I lost all my couth. Every ounce of dignity I had went out the window and I screamed out to my husband:

” PRAY FOR ME RIGHT NOW. I CANNOT DO THIS!”

The room fell silent as everyone began to pray out loud. I had nothing left in my physical body to give. I was depleted. Done. No strength left in any bone of my body.

Right then I decided I would put aside MY strength, and allow HIS to overcome my physical body. It’s just a body right? It doesn’t define my very soul, and who he has created me to be! It’s my shell, the one that long ago I had given to him to reign.

I stood up and Luca started to descend, just as everyone had prayed.

I was unaware of his birth position being dangerous, I could only focus on one thing, to get him out.

With the incredible knowledge and fast thinking of my midwife, he finally arrived.

Seeing his face and instantly connecting his soul to mine forever was immensely emotional for me. All I could do was breathe in his presence and allow my body to relax. I hadn’t done this alone.

It took my Heavenly Father and a relentless team of loving people to bring him into my arms.

When I was so very weak and helpless, they were strong. It is completely possible to draw strength from other people cheering you on. That’s exactly what I did.

Absorbing their passionate desire to see me succeed was intoxicating.

This wave of love overcame me as I held my longed for son for the first time, teaching him to breathe on his own. Awakening his senses to the love that surrounded him in me, and especially in my arms.

Though I knew of other people in the room, I could only see his face. Our eyes meeting for the first time in the physical, a rush of love filing my senses. Nothing else in my life mattered, my pain was whisked away in the moment of his birth.

Suddenly I wasn’t wounded and alone, but a proud Mother embracing her gift.

I was still intoxicated as I climbed into my own bed, in my own home.

This cloud of joy and overwhelming passion for this tiny human overcame me as I welcomed our three other children to meet their prayer over sibling.

I have never felt more loved by Jesus than I did that day. Every ounce of me was filled with his strength. My body that was once so hard towards the world, so blistered and bandaged, hiding my weakness , was opened up.

My wounds for the world to see were healed in my weakness, only because he needed me to reveal them to him.

My body was infected with grief, yet he healed me that day.

Jesus is a gentle Father. He respects us to the point of allowing ourselves to harden to his presence. It’s only when he admit that we are weak that he swoops on to help us.

He respects our grief that he feels with us. It’s never his will for us to hurt, but it’s always his will for us to heal.

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Finding a foundation at ULTA, my personal hell.

There I was, alone and very afraid of what would come next. My palms sweating as I opened the double doors to my fate. The night my confidence and dignity was zero percent.

I had only been to ULTA one time in my life, and that was in my prime. That was ALSO before a pre teen looked more put together than I ever will be. ( where is their ugly right of passage? How can they skip this? It humbles you. )

What is happening to this world? (( tiny soap box )) because I was ugly in middle school and most of high school, it’s made me a better person. They are skipping this compassionate and grounding season, now what will they do? Work at ULTA?

I knew immediately this was my personal hell as soon as the freaking UV LIGHTS hit my face, revealing every inch of blemish and sleepless nights. Surely I was getting sun burned walking in there. Do they want me to get sunburned so they can sell me more expensive products?

My first mission was to avoid eye contact at all times. Though I was clueless, I didn’t want to chit chat with perfect eyebrow Barbie about how I look like I am 56 at age 30. I had about thirty minutes to pick out a foundation that made me look rested and a liar before my baby wanted to nurse. I am not tired, see! I wasn’t up at 5:45 AM sipping coffee and contemplating running away to Puerto Rico.

I just wanted some foundation to cover up the fact that I haven’t slept in ten years, how do you explain this to a woman that you aren’t sure has your sense of humor? Will she feel sorry for me? Probably. Avoid the eye contact, keep walking. Act like you know what you are doing, just like being a Mom.

I would like to go back to the lighting in this place. I am fully aware that they make it this way to make you feel fugly so that you will buy more things from them. It’s basically a genius idea, I mean they had me passing every mirror in utter horror that I walked out into public looking like that. Even my own mother wouldn’t have claimed me as her own.

Each mirror I would pass I made a mental list of things I now needed to better my face:

No more pregnancies.

That’s all I could think of.

I realized I must have filled in only one eyebrow, the best I know how ,  ( like my 5 year old could do ) then must have gotten distracted by a child or 4. Or a husband that was looking for something in the kitchen, because he hasn’t lived here as long as I have.

After spinning in circles and crying from my blemish exposure and lack of self confidence I started the journey to find the foundation I had gone for. The one my sister ( cosmetology major ) had recommended. She said it would make me look 17 again, and I believed her. She’s so sweet.

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There are 4,457 types of expensive foundation in ULTA. It makes it difficult to choose. Luckily for me I have a keen sense of direction and it only took me 3 hours to find the brand I was looking for. Ha! Jokes on them.

So I find the brand, only to notice that there are more choices than an olive bar at Harris Teeter. First of all, who needs that many olives? Second of all how do I choose which one will make me look less homely?

I want one that makes me look responsible , yet rested and alert. Less dehydrated by coffee. Is that a 3.0?

I started testing different shades on my neck. Three shades to be truthful. If we’re being honest here, and since it’s my blog.. it was 6 shades. By then end I looked like I had a skin disease and I chose one that I thought matched the best. Actually I nervously took three of them into my hands, mixed them up and chose one. I had to get out of there. The fluorescent lighting was toying with my mental state.

Foundation, check. Now I needed something to help my brows since that is the thing everyone and their Mother is into right now. Right now I’m into finding LOL dolls on Amazon and eating my kids leftover Tyson dino nuggets. I’m also super into not getting pregnant. Do they have a brow package for this?

Several sales women passed me, looked me up and down and probably knew that there was no hope for me. I was dressed in my maternity Target sweatshirt, and skinny jeans that are two sizes two small ( THANKS BABY NUMBER FOUR AND CARBS ).

No one even asked me if I needed help because they knew that answer. Yes. Yes I do need help in more areas than my face. Are you also a nanny slash makeup consultant?

I found something that resembled a brow kit , threw it in my cart and hoped for the best with my life. They say a woman’s brows are the frame of her face, but I say how do you do that and can you teach me in very hushed tones while I drink a nice Merlot?

I army crawled my way to the check out after choosing something I knew everything about. While looking for face masks I found one that has red wine in it. It felt like home holding it in my hands. Mommy is here. Shhhh.

The cashier asked for my phone number and email address, I was hesitant to share for the simple fact of maybe she would enter me into a makeover contest…then the people would show up when I wasn’t wearing a bra. Everyone watching would be traumatized but my before and after would be redemptive to millions.

I walked out of there confident that I have a lot of work to do to be more attractive, a little baby weight to say goodbye to and a lot of concealer to use.

But most of all I learned to love myself more, so I stopped to eat my feelings with a Wendy’s frosty that I downed quickly so I wouldn’t have to share with my offspring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Santa, I’m awful.

Dear Santa,

 

I am writing this on behalf of my children that you would spare them my punishment for being an extremely naughty lady. Though I hate the term naughty and it makes me feel a little slutty, that’s the term you use. So I am rolling with it. I don’t even have time to be slutty. My lingerie drawer consists of my husbands old sweatpants and my Dad’s Carolina sweatshirt he gave me when we got married. If that doesn’t scream sexy I don’t know what does.

It’s no wonder I am so fertile with those threads.

Since I’ve been lying to them about you, I figured you could cut me a break this year. I usually give you all the fame, which is cool. But the deal is that I’ve been a bad mom this year. In fact, my seven year old is watching my baby so I could sit here for ten minutes and type this out just to feel sane.

Which is fine, she’s a better caretaker than I am. She remembers her vitamins and is always the one that catches me in the middle of a curse word. I’ve had to say I’m sorry to her more times than I can count, because she is more mature than I am.

Since I am on the naughty list, I don’t expect much. I feel the need to confess how I’ve lived my life lately, it isn’t pretty. I do really mean not pretty, I haven’t been pretty since baby number three. Now I am a busted can of biscuits just waiting to be baked in a hot tub of wine because my body aches in places I didn’t know I had. That sounds like communion. It is because I am so holy in this season of my life where I barely can hear myself think, much less get on Jesus’s wave length. I have to go up on my rooftop, light candles and hope a baby doesn’t wake up before I hit verse 3. OF GENESIS.

I’ve been studying Genesis for three years. It’s going well and I am learning so much.

Getting ready to teach a class on what I’ve learned actually, Santa. But I’ve put it off because of all the Holidays coming up and all the food I have to bake. Maybe next year. Also I don’t get any sleep at night because my baby has to be actually SOAKED INTO MY BODY LIKE BUTTER ON BREAD.

I feel like you’re pretty tight with Jesus, so if you could tell him I love him and have been sending smoke signals for years now.

( kidding. yall. )

 

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I practice fake patience with my children daily, you know what I mean. That fake I want to run away smile with a side of a little kiss on the cheek. I really love my children, but there are some days I am not sure I was made for this life. So I smile, and prepare dinner with two children on my legs and one on my breast. While making chicken breast. It’s ironic yet horrifying at the same time.

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I’ve determined that I am a mediocre adult with special hidden talents such as, skipping pages of a 123 page bedtime story while making up the story and looking at the clock wondering if I have enough time to shower before I fall asleep… I can breastfeed and pick up toys with my toes at the same time. I’ve been known to pick up a grain of rice with the baby in the Ergo.

I can cry about my day of my five year old acting like a small rabid puppy in the car rider line, and no one will ever know because of my fashionable sunglasses. That’s TALENT. That’s also called hiding, which I am famous for when the dog pukes in the house. I miraculously am consoling a teething baby so that my husband can clean that ish up.

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My mini van is in no way an impression or mirror image of my actual home. My Mini van is our vacation spot , really. There are enough snacks to last a week if need be. Luckily my children only like preservative filled crap, so no worries on the spoiling. Nope! Fresh goldfish for everyone.

There are most likely Chick Fila chicken nuggets, enough for a Thanksgiving feast. That’s actually what I signed up to bring for this Thursday. I even have the specialty sauces on hand and a few spare fries that made their way into my van by tiny, greasy fingers.

And Santa, if I am late to said gatherings of the Holiday nature, please note that it isn’t my fault. I have children that take their sweet time to look presentable, while I look like a walking dead extra. That is my specialty. I don’t want to upstage anyone. It’s my pleasure to look decomposed.

 

Santa, being a Mom is my greatest adventure and my greatest journey to feeling peace that I’ve ever been on.

Be kind to them this Christmas. I’ll just be here praising you for all the presents I wrap at 3 am.

If you could possibly drop me a box of cheap wine down the chimney, I would be much grateful. It can even be the Aldi brand. I don’t discriminate. I see all wine as equal value until it proves me wrong.   Which basically never happens. Because 4 children.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Field trips are the WORST.

If you are a Parent that thoroughly enjoys spending time with your children when they are supposed to be in school, and you could be grocery shopping alone… this blog isn’t for you.

If you dread that form that comes home every few months asking you to be a chaperone on a FIELD TRIP, this one’s for you buttercup. Pour yourself a nice glass of vino and let’s talk field trips.

The number one thing I loathe about Field trips is that they always start early in the morning. I am one of those Moms that runs, no literally RUNS out the door with my undressed baby on my hip, lunch boxes hanging by my teeth and children still in denial they are going to school. I am also still in denial I am even taking them to school. Did I forget one ? How many did I birth?

I am no perky morning person. My perk left me after I weaned our first child if you know what I mean. The only perk I have now is if coffee has also been perked. I need lots of it before I can even talk. Words try to form and come out of my mouth but nothing is happening. I need to go back to bed and start over. In three hours.

Field trips be like ” We are starting at 5:30 AM , so parents, if you could be there by 5:45 to help set up the crafting area that would be great.”

At this ungodly morning hour when my children whom I love DEARLY should be out of my hands, they are in fact right at my hands asking for the 11th snack of the hour. To their dismay I only brought two snacks so they will starve before the lunchtime break. It was nice raising them. It will be my fault that they starved , but they will make lovely pine cone christmas tree ornaments that they can break on the car ride home.

In these early morning hours where I am forced to talk to other adults before I would even talk to my husband, I am also forced to make my face look like I am having a great time. Yes honey, I love hay rides when it’s 45 degrees out and your baby brother is trying to claw his way into my shirt to breastfeed. It’s my pleasure to be here for your special day that you will not remember next week. I love you. You’re my favorite.

Listen, my children get plenty of interaction with other kids. Plenty of vacations and play dates. They lack nothing as far as a social life and educational outings. They go with my husband all the time to the dump. They learn a lot from Youtube videos ( don’t freak. I kid. ) and pretending to be mothers in their playroom.

” Yes Laura, come on over! My house is a wreck but I have wine!” 

They don’t need field trips. Not until they are well into Middle School and can go without their loving Mother dragging them out the door in the wee hours of the morning. It’s bizarre to me that I torture them FOR THEM. Like, I get them out of bed to go to a place that is for them. Not for me. Why am I the one pushing this issue here? I feel wronged.

 

Thank you for reading, and if you see me at a field trip anytime in the near future, just give me a gentle side hug and hand me a coffee. Maybe hold my baby. It’s an emotional morning for me. Please know that I went through hell to get here on time and I was still late. Also, I may have gone to the wrong location first, and then made it here even later.

It’s no ones fault but my own. I am the one that signed up to be here as soon as that pregnancy test turned positive. I held in my hand a life long membership to all the field trips in the world.

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We are daughters first.

I stood there in worship with one child on my hip, the other three begging for my attention. Trying to close my eyes and enter into his presence to refresh my soul. I often find myself frustrated on a Sunday morning.

Why did I even go to church? Is this even worth it? Am I gaining anything by coming here while my children act feral in the back of the church? This is every Sunday for me. I lied when I said often, it’s every Sunday that I feel defeated. Exhausted. Hungry for more of Him while tending to my little flock. Trying to get them to be quiet, so that other people can worship. But not me. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my worship time with Jesus is while nursing a fussy baby, cooking dinner while Daddy entertains, and late at night when all is quiet and I can hear my own thoughts. With a big glass of red wine. His first miracle is the best one. Amen.

I closed my eyes and was taken into a quick vision of me at Jesus’s feet. I had three hats on my head , and something in my hand that I was holding tight to. I was bowing at his feet, surrendering all of my different talents and roles that I play as a woman.

One by one he took my hat’s off of my head. The first one read WIFE. The second one read MOTHER and the third one read AUTHOR. In that order he placed them on the ground beside my kneeling legs. My hands placed in front of my knees, weeping at his holy feet. Exhausted just from getting four children ready for church. They didn’t look THAT homeless, and we had made it only 15 minutes late. I was desperate for a touch of his robe, desperate for a taste of Him as I had had many times before I had children. The intoxicating touch of his love that I burn for. The feeling that nothing can replace or mimic even when I try. Homesick to be in his embrace above all the chaos of motherhood.

I looked up into his eyes, so green. So full. As he placed on my head a crown. He smiled and laughed as I wiped my tears dry.

” Oh Rachel! You are my daughter first. Know that and all else makes sense.”

How had I forgotten this?

My crown had so many different points a top of it, that I soon learned I could place my different hats on each point of the crown. The crown was sturdy enough to support all that I had accomplished, and had yet to accomplish. The foundation of who I am as a daughter of Christ.

The vision ended, and I opened my eyes to see our middle daughter resting her head on my Father. Completely at ease, resting in My Dad’s embrace, just as I had as a child. When you are resting in a good Father’s lap,  you know you are capable of being loved, and loving others. Your faults are overtaken by your strengths. Your doubt replaced with hope.

A good Father has the authority to speak JOY into your life. A good Father has the RIGHT to call you into your destiny as HIS child.

As Momma’s, we have to remember and embrace the fact that we are a Daughter first. We are , at the risk of sounding clique, we are Daddy’s girls.

I know in our family’s case, my husband is completely wrapped around our daughter’s fingers. It’s rare that they do anything wrong in his eyes. He’s soft with them. Gentle.

If you have a daughter, think back to the very first time that your husband met your daughter. The look in his eyes. The smitten smile. The pride that shined upon his face. The joy and accomplishment he raved about.

Now imagine Jesus looking at you, his daughter. So proud, so accomplished that He can love you and mentor you all the days of your life. Be pleased in you. Proud to call you His daughter.

A Daddy’s girl has a soft spot in her Father’s heart. You are that soft spot in Gods heart.

Know this as you go about your day. As you tirelessly give yourself to these tiny people you love , and sacrifice yourself daily for.

Remember that you are a daughter first. That takes the pressure off to be perfect, doesn’t it? If we are daughters first, we are free to be just His. Free to sit at Daddy’s feet, and ask for his advice. Lavish in his affection.

Twirl in our dresses just to see the grin on his face. The love in his eyes. The pride in his voice as he tells you how loved you are.

That means that even in our two day dirty yoga pants, and our tank top from 7th grade that we just can’t throw away because it’s the best nursing bra, we are gorgeous to Him.

His baby girl.

Soak this in. You are his daughter first. You are loved first. You are wanted first. You are a daughter about all else. All the other roles fall into the fact that you are his daughter.

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Be you, Momma.

She just stood there with all the wisdom on the subject of comparison. She’s a single , young, gorgeous gymnastics coach with the phrase that has forever changed the way I view myself as a Mother.

” At our gym, the coaches tell each child to pick a goal. It’s rare that any of the children have the same goal to reach, because everyone has a different goal in mind. Everyone’s skill level is different. That’s what I love about our gym. Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.

I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped for a total of 39 seconds before I could speak. I had just spent the day cleaning the girls room for a Bridal shower that was the next week, held at our home. I beat myself up for letting their closet get messy, unorganized and downright chaotic. 

” WOW! Um, I needed to hear that for reasons you don’t know. Thank you for sharing that with me.”

Little did she know that that one paragraph would repeat in my mind for the following week. It was a God thing that I desperately needed to hear.

If only I had listened. 

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I basically thought I had all my crap together, and then I had a fourth child. I naturally like things to be in order, but not to the point of some Mothers. I don’t mind if I use the same towel for a week, or stuff toys in a closet so that they are out of my sight for a bit. What is not seen on a daily basis doesn’t bother me that much. I choose my battles with the kids rooms and how often I fold laundry.

I basically set one goal when I wake up in the morning:

Keep kids alive. Drink coffee. Feed them. Bathe them. Repeat. 

I will admit that my anxiety gets sky high WHEN things are out of order. I don’t like people coming to my house when it’s a mess. It makes me feel inadequate as a housekeeper. I think these are all normal feelings a Mother has.

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Today was the first day of school for our two oldest kids. Instead of enjoying my day off, I began to allow comparisons to come into my mind. Comparisons that came from small comments meant to be light hearted.

The fact is that when you are insecure in an area, any comment on that area can flare up offense and hurt. It can surface your hurts and shortcomings into a festering wound waiting to be mended. You immediately put up a wall as a defense mechanism and roll with the rest of your day. Pretending that comparison doesn’t have an affect on you.

:: Maybe I should be like Stacey, her tupperware is always in the right spot. Each container has a match and she never has anything out of place. HOW DOES SHE EVEN DO THAT WITH FIVE KIDS? I need to work harder. Stay up later folding laundry. Be a better Mom. Be more organized. ::

All day I spent my time organizing cabinets, throwing away unmatched tupperware, organizing the snack drawers so that they were just right. To the point where I found myself in tears that it just wasn’t perfect enough. I could never be perfect enough. My house would never be perfect enough. Never clean enough.

I had given myself this ultimatum:

If you are are good Mom, your pantry will always be organized. If you are a good Mom, your tupperware will be in perfect order so that when someone asks for it, it’s there. You will not have a messy house, ever.

 

Four trash bags filled with old tupperware and things forgotten and stuffed away sat in  my garage as I broke down in tears. I would never be enough. My house will never be clean enough. I cannot work hard enough to please others, or myself. It’s impossible.

It was then the phrase came back into my mind, one that was so significant, yet I had tucked it away.

“Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.”

I kicked a trash bag of junk, sat down and sobbed. I had done this to myself. I had allowed myself to be so consumed with others opinions and goals for their own houses that I became fixated on having the perfect house for my kids to come home to.

The cleanliness made me feel accomplished, and happy, yet angry at myself for working myself to the ground to achieve it.

This isn’t who I am . I am a laid back person. I don’t care what others think of me. I love my children. I love my husband. I love the chaos and loudness of our home. The more children we have the more busy life gets, and the less time I spend on baseboards and organization. My identity isn’t in the cleanliness of my home, but in the way I love so deeply and openly. The way our home is always open to anyone that’s lonely or in need of some good laughter and fun. 

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 I opened the van door and welcomed our oldest two in after school. Their faces lit up as they told me about how much the loved their teachers and classrooms. About how it was the best first day they had ever had.

I was still wiping tears from my eyes behind my glasses from all these self expectations I had for the day. I didn’t finish organizing the snack drawers. I still needed to dust the living room mantel .

My ears were filled with the joy of their days and all the sweet conversations I missed while I was busting it cleaning, ( for them I thought ). For them I would make their home perfect and clean. A place where they would feel loved and at home because of my hard work.

We all walked in, bookbags thrown on the floor as papers began to fall out. Papers for me to fill out, more work for me to complete. Each kid went to the pantry and choose a snack before heading outside to play. Still grinning from ear to ear from their successful days.

” Hey Mom, did you like clean today? It looks clean.”

” Yeah, a little bit. “

Bites my lip, as if I was waiting for a compliment.

” Cool, can I play outside?”

It was then that I knew what I had known deep down all along. My kids could care less if the pantry was clean. If they had a gourmet meal for dinner.

All my expectations and goals I had placed on myself to please other people. I had exhausted myself for the sake of looks and appearances.

I love to have a clean house. It makes me feel good. But I had allowed myself to get to the point of COMPARING myself to other Mothers. Mothers that had different personalities and life situations than I do.

Bottom line here, No one is like you. No one has the same goals as you do. Each Mother’s day is so different that we cannot even begin to compare ourselves to another Mother.  Everyone walks through battles we know nothing about.

Comparison is toxic. We can literally poison our self worth by doing it.

You are YOU. You have a different goal for the day than your neighborly Mother does.

Look at this paragraph as if you are reading it in the context of a day in the life of a Mom:

 

” At our gym, the coaches tell each child to pick a goal. It’s rare that any of the children have the same goal to reach, because everyone has a different goal in mind. Everyone’s skill level is different. That’s what I love about our gym. Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.”

 

Make your OWN goals. Your goals are yours alone. They’re special and vital to your family. Don’t focus on the gymnast next to you. She’s training for the Olympics and you are there to have fun.

Smile at her and focus on your own goal.

My pantry is now organized. My tupperware has a mate. My girl’s closet is now in perfect order. I’ve exhausted myself to the point of break down and tears.

Guess what? My kids didn’t notice the clean pantry, they noticed the bedtime story I read them. They loved the kisses they gave their baby brother before bed and the reassurance they are loved and safe as I kissed them goodnight.

We have to stop the madness of comparison.

Be you Momma. 

Mothers are like Jesus.

I heard the bathtub start and the splash of Asher, our 9 year old settle in. He had been at church camp for five days, and I was unpacking his suitcase. The stench of boy sweat and testosterone waiting to blossom filled the laundry room as I heard him say:

” MOMMA! Which one of these soap bottles is for my hair?”

That’s funny. Shouldn’t he have figured that out this week at camp?

I walked into the bathroom to see him holding the very two bottles I packed him.

” Is the red one for my hair?”

” Honey, that’s the body wash I packed you. Did you not use it this week?”

::Sighs, shrugs his shoulders. ::

” They kept telling me to hurry so I didn’t use soap. But gosh Momma! This stuff smells GOOD!”

It was then clear as to why he smelled like a dumpster when I picked him up.

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Along with the chaos of four children under the age of 9 , I’ve found that my biggest struggle is feeling like I do not have a voice. Can they even hear me when I speak? Often times I say things five times before I eventually yell out an order.

I play this repeat game all day long.

“Brush your teeth. Wash your hands. Be nice to your sister. Give her her doll back. Get in the van. Eat your food. Get in your bed. Stop fighting. Do I need to call Daddy? Please stop fighting. Don’t hit your sister. Don’t pick up your brother. Go outside. Be nice. Be quiet, your brother is asleep. “

I’m in this middle of the drawing board trying to find the line between giving them grace for their mistakes , and teaching them respect for authority.

It’s really hard. I feel defeated daily. It’s exhausting.

But I know that all of this is necessary to train up children that are kind, responsible and loving.

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Tonight after getting a good laugh out of Asher’s camp mishaps, the Lord spoke to me over all the loudness. Over all the fighting and the dirty dishes. The working late husband and the whiney four year old.

” Even when you feel like you have failed, you are more like me than you think you are. Do you know how many times I’ve given directions to my children and they ignore me?”

It was in that moment that I felt closer to Him than I had in MONTHS. It’s been so very loud in my mind that it’s hard to hear him. Hard to hear my own thoughts, much less His words to my heart. It’s not that I don’t let him in and invite his presence to reign, it’s that I am so tired. I am worn out. I am in Mommy mode from sun up to sun down and not one day with children is ever easy. I feel in over my very own head.

In desperate need of refreshment and sustained vision for my life. I understand that this is a SEASON, one that will pass in the blink of an eye, and I will always miss it. I’ll always long for the late night nursing sessions, and when I could fix my 6 year olds problem with a snuggle session. I know I’ll miss back to school shopping and solving my daughters fights over Barbie dolls.

I know my childrens problems won’t always be able to be solved by me. But that doesn’t make this season any easier. It’s my reality now. I’m knee deep in sibling rivalry and refereeing confrontations.

But I may never be more like Jesus than I am in this phase. 

Mommas, we are the most selfless beings there are. We do things without expecting a thank you. Our job isn’t a paid one. We never stop being a Mom.

How many times has God given us directions ( his word ), told us how to live our lives and we turn our backs on him? So many.

The pain we feel for our children when they do not take our advice, and we see them fail or get hurt, that’s the same pain Jesus feels when we sin.

He knows he tried his best to guide us, but we alone make our own choices that come with an end result.

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Mommas: When you are having a day where your children won’t take your advice, where you feel like you perhaps could turn blue from repeating yourself, know that HE hears you. He understands what it’s like to be rejected.

Satan wants nothing more than to discourage Mothers who are trying to raise warriors in Christ. He wants us to feel alone, isolated and defeated.

But I say to you today that we are never closer to Jesus than when we are laying down our lives for another.

That’s what Motherhood is, we serve. We give our whole lives to tiny people that will most likely never say thank you. And that’s love.

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MOM SHORTS

I was standing there on the Juniors aisle with my four month old in the Ergo carrier and my four year old daughter in the Marshall’s cart. Scanning the American Eagle brand shorts with my eyes, looking for a size that may fit over my new thighs that my son gave me for Valentines day.

The thoughts running through my mind weren’t kid appropriate , so I just was silent trying to find SOMETHING that I could wear. Anything really.

:: Oh hell no, these are V shaped. Ain’t nobody wanna see my crotch in the shape of a V. Too many babies came out of that area, it’s jaded. Things would hang out. Things I don’t even know what to call. ::

:: These are high rise. Cool. They can hide all the extra glasses of Chardonnay I have had. I never work out because I don’t want to. Maybe these would work.::

:: These are low rise. Dear God. People would be able to see my C section scar. Even my husband pretends to not see it. Or maybe it’s just because he ignores it. Either way, these won’t work. I’d look like I was trying too hard to be slutty. I don’t have time for that.::

” Can I help you find with anything Ma’am?”

“” Oh please don’t call me Ma’am, I’m not even thirty yet. I have a few more months of bliss.”

” No, thank you though. I’m just looking.”

:: Actually, I am on a Mommy daughter date with my child who has bucked me since day one of her birth. Could you bring me a Prosecco , chilled? I am out with her tonight to make her feel special and loved, as she has been driving me insane trying to get attention. Thanks for the booze. Can you hold my baby? ::

” Oh ok, let me know if you need any help!”

:: I would love a Nanny.::

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I couldn’t try on any of the shorts, as I had my sleeping baby in the Ergo. I held them up,

one by one. Each one I had an issue with. This wasn’t like picking out cheap wine, I mean I had to wear these. Work them. Chase our kids and bend over to wipe tiny butts. They must be durable, yet fashionable.

After about an hour in the Juniors department something caught my eye. It was classy, yet screamed Mommy. My eyes gazed up towards the lights, the lights that would guide me home. Home felt warm as my infant urinated and leaked onto my ugly Mom shirt.

Women’s shorts

What is this area that I am suddenly drawn to? The place where it is sized by number and not by small medium and large. The shorts were classy and not risque. Longer lengths and many of them said ” PTA MOM” on the bottom right side.

All these years I have been living in the past. Living a lie. I am no longer a Junior. Junior is dead. I am now having to shop in the Women’s section of life. I am now Senior. Senior mother just waiting to graduate out of the stage of life I am in, all the while trying to find clothes that I can unload the dishwasher in without being shanked by my husband. I don’t want anymore kids.

Still unable to try them on, I held them up to my growing waist line as my daughter shouted:

 ” Momma, those look like Grandma shorts.”

” Oh honey, Momma thinks these are cute. You don’t?”

Just then my baby woke up and farted like a grown man. The Grandmothers in the aisle with me snickered, then soon became aware of the stench of baby ass. Their swooning smiles soon changed to horrified and I kindly buried my face in a pile of Clearance item scarves. I don’t wear scarves. Too much work. Kinda like bedtime stories. Just please go to bed before I eat my hair.

I mean , can’t we be friends? We are both here trying to find shorts. We all know how undignified and revolting this act is. 

I am convinced that there is a group of women, in a galaxy FAR FAR AWAY that sells shorts that actually don’t give you a camel toe. They fit nicely and you are free to run after your children when they refuse to take a bath after a long day of sweating actual buckets of toxic waste and cow manure.

I walked out of that store with a few cute V neck T shirts. Some coffee. The ugly flip flops my daughter begged me for. Some Epsom salts for my aching everything, and one pair of shorts I didn’t even try on. Cheers to hoping they fit without making me look like a Prostitute.

I just want to publicly acknowledge that I am from this day forward, never going to shop for shorts again. Unless I am childless and can try things on. Which will never happen, so I will be unable to.

If you see me in public , please know that the shorts I have on aren’t supposed to be that ugly, or tight. I am not trying to steal your husband with my ugly shorts. I am wearing them because I sweat like a man laying shingles down on a new roof on a 99 degree day without any lunch breaks. Just sweltering heat , dreaming of quitting time. Add a baby with a piss diaper on his back to that stench.

 

Dear Husband, I miss you. 

Dear Husband, 

Tonight I realized I missed you standing right next to you. Both of us within arms reach of each other, yet unable to embrace the way we once did. 

You were holding our 4th baby, and I was consoling our 4 year old for the 47th time in an hour. Our eyes met and said what we didn’t have the energy to say: 

I miss you. 

I miss being alone with you. Being able to stand close to you in a crowded room without a child fighting for our attention. Now our social functions are spent making sure our children are behaving and fed. Did they eat their dinner before they were offered a cupcake?

Our life together as parents isn’t always easy. In fact it’s rarely easy. What it is is loud and chaotic and blissfully beautiful. 

Quality time together is something we lack in this season, but I want you to know that I see you in our children daily. I don’t have to look far on the long days of you working late to see your face. 

It’s in our middle Childs smile, the way she comforts her sister and carefully kisses her baby brother on the cheek. I see your affection, especially when I miss you. 

I miss you in the middle of dinner, one of us cutting the children’s chicken in bite sized pieces while the other wrangles a toddler into a highchair. I miss the nights with just the two of us, adult conversation and quiet. 

I miss you when we are in bed after a long day of work and strife between the kids. Too tired to even talk, just sighs between us. Your hand reaches for mine and we drift into a deep sleep until we are awakened by one of our babies. 

I miss the way we were, I always will. I’ll always miss the late nights and constant phone calls. The dates and the heart stopping kisses. The way my heart fluttered when I knew it was you calling my phone. 

But I want you to know that even though I miss you, I love the new us. 

The beach vacations with four kids that go to hell so fast that all we can do is laugh. The middle of the night nursing sessions where you rub my aching back. 

Each time we added a new baby to our family, I loved the new you even more. The joy I witnessed upon your face when I handed you our child.

I miss the old you, but I daily praise God for the new you. The new normal we have. 

Throughout all the newness and the obstacles we’ve faced as parents, I’m loving the new us. 

Honey, this season is hard, but isn’t it what we’ve always wanted? 

I forget that on the long days of parenting. I seem to forget that we are doing exactly what we asked God for.

The exhausted, snack fixing , butt wiping , bill paying , sleepy and or quicky sex having us. 

We just didn’t understand it would be quite this trying, did we? 

I miss you from the moment a date night ends until the next one begins. 

The fact is that our chaos is what other couples may be believing God for. 

At the end of the day, when all is quiet and dirty dishes greet me at the entrance of our kitchen , I miss you. 

But then I remember, I’m washing our dreams. 

Baptism of my babies. All of them.

Today was so emotionally intense for me. Three of our seven children were baptized at the church Matt and I met in and got married in. Each one has been dedicated as an infant. This place is so very special to our hearts.

I awoke this morning already feeling the weight of the Holy Spirit upon my heart. Our middle daughter Rhema ( 6 ) came into our room with a horrific sounding cough. One of those that you wonder if it’s something serious, or just a morning cough trying to break through and recover. Her voice was hoarse, and her forehead warm.

She knew she was being baptized today, and mentioned to me that she felt she couldn’t go through with it. She was too tired. Wasn’t feeling up to it.

I try really hard not to over spiritualize things in our lives, but I am very aware of the spirit realm in a real way. I’ve seen spiritual battles with my own eyes. I knew this was an attack on her little body. The one that was going to be given freely to Jesus in front of friends and family that morning. I knew I needed to pray over her.

We prayed, and I gave her some cough medicine. Put some essential oils on her chest and had her drink a large glass of water. Within five minutes her cough was completely gone, and her little voice back to her normal raspy self.

I could feel that it was the first of many victories that the day held.

At church we had worship first, and the presence of Jesus was strong in the room. I was peaceful and praying over each of our children that was going to be Baptized. I vividly remember my own Dad baptizing me as a young child. The rush of the water on my face, the release of perfection I felt as I came out of the water. I knew then I would choose to follow Jesus, even when life was hard. Especially when life was hard.

Worship ended, and I could feel a shift in the atmosphere. A presence that was different from before. My heart began beating out of my chest, and tears came falling down my cheeks. I knew they were there.

My three in heaven, they were there watching.

A mentor and deep friend came up to me and said:

” Just now a cloud of witnesses entered the room. They are praying over all the children being baptized. Among them are your three children.”

Holding our youngest, Luca ( 3 months ) I couldn’t help but hold him as the tears cascaded down my face. THAT was the presence I felt moments ago, unable to explain it.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

Hebrews 12:1

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It wasn’t long before I could see all three of my babies sitting patiently on the stage, behind the baptism pool.

Jude looked to be around 12, so handsome and tall, a protective big brother, with his arm around my brown curly headed Haddie who looked to be 5-6 years old. Little Alba, my blonde haired beauty sat silent, soaking each detail in just like her sister Adah. Each one of them with their arms stretched out long and wide to their siblings and Matt and I.

So many days of suppressing their lives to in my memory in order to function came exploding out of my heart. They were there with me. Literally there.

My soul embracing each detail of their faces, the ones I long for each day.

If this was a year ago, I would’ve rushed up on stage just to sit with them. To soak in their presence, to try to at least touch them with my own hands. What my eyes have seen has been a torture and a blessing to my spirit at the same time. The two spirit worlds separating us, yet the kingdom of Jesus connecting us. My children, and yet my brothers and sisters in Christ.

But today I was at peace not being able to embrace them, knowing full well their love for me. Their love for their siblings. My arms still aching to hug them.

A hard concept for me to grasp, even though I try. I let myself cry, wiped my tears and rejoiced that they were here with us! Ready to bless their siblings, all of whom love them with a passion.

We had a time of prayer before each of the children were baptized. It was in that moment that I knew by our children’s faces that they deeply understood what they were consenting to. They wanted life and life abundantly with Jesus. They’ve seen what Matt and I have walked through, they’ve seen their Mother weep after losing a child. They know what pain and hardship looks like, yet they still chose to surrender their lives to Him. Our healer, our maker.

There was a loud celebration in the room. A party! Everyone shouting and rejoicing in new life. Our kids smiles were contagious as they waited their turn to get in the water.

I can truly say that each one of them had a new smile as they were lifted out of the water by my husband. A new joy and a new laugh erupted from their mouths.

As they were all finished, they joined in on the celebration of everyone else’s baptism. Clapping and shouting and praising Jesus for their friends who were experiencing just what they did.

If this is the peer pressure they accept, Lord let it be so!

Processing today will be for me, a release of our children into His will. A trust and a bond that I have chosen with Jesus to keep them in His hands. Whatever his mighty plans may be. I trust Him.

I’ll remember this day forever, and remind them of the joy I could see. The tangible peace that their baptism brought my heart.

All of our children in one place at one time.

My mothers heart is happy for the first time in a long time. I finally feel at peace with their deaths, that were resurrected to life today.

All at once, they are alive in Him.

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I thank God daily that our children have a Father that passionately does what Jesus commands and loves them so well. I love him so much.

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THANK YOU LORD FOR THESE GIFTS ENTRUSTED TO US.