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.

Rainbow baby.

Since the term ” Rainbow Baby” has made its debut in society, on Mommy blogs and Parenting forums, I’ve noticed that everyone touches on the healthy pregnancy of a baby after a deep loss, and the birth of bringing the longed for baby into the world.

But when life really settles in and the mundane tasks began to take over your joy and relief of a live baby, does this baby still carry the pressure of healing your heart?

This is something I’ve asked myself in these last few weeks after giving birth to our son Luca after three losses.

Do I feel differently about him than I did my others who came before loss?

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The moment Luca was finally born after a long and tiring labor at home, I felt instant relief from physical pain. The weeks that followed I could feel my heart mending from the trauma of my last birth, and I became fixated on my new bundle.

The joy he brought to my husband and I spilled onto our other children, everyone was immediately  in love with him. His siblings doted on his every need and movement, their hearts open wide for their new brother.

I began to notice myself in a panic driving down the road, quickly turning to look into the back seat.

Had I accidentally forgotten Luca at home?

Then the irrational fears set in:

When I stopped for gas did someone reach in and take him while I turned my head for 8 seconds?

I admitted to myself that I was terrified of losing him too. This baby that was gifted to me after lives taken too early.

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The romantic idea of having a baby after loss is lovely. It’s healing and needed after a Mother says goodbye to a child made in love. I understand the theory, a rainbow after a storm. I’ve lived in that storm three times. I know how the cold rain feels against my face, punishing my need to feel warm again. The umbrella that isn’t there, the comfort you ache for. The constant need to embrace a child that isn’t in your reach. That your arms scream to hold.

I understand why I referred to my son as a Rainbow baby. He is that. He is my Rainbow after my storms.

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Color in my life again after the dark shades of gray. He’s my bright light, my morning song.  My proof that Jesus loves me. My hope after my body failed me.

But I have to be honest here, vulnerable with you all.

He hasn’t saved me, Jesus has.

Luca didn’t come to replace my babies in heaven. He came to celebrate the fact that Jesus loves life itself. He loves our dreams and our hopes for our lives. He loves to show us that he is merciful when we are hurting.

My life is blessed because he is here. He’s alive and well. 

But his presence doesn’t wipe my slate clean of grief. 

 

 How do I know this? How can I sit here late at night when all of our children are asleep and confess all of this to you?

Because three years ago today , I said goodbye to our son Jude. I sat in our bathroom weeping and in great pain. For hours I cried out to God for pain relief, for his mercy to overtake my body and make me feel whole again. I said goodbye to his little body that left mine at 11:04 pm. I felt his soul leave me as he made his imprint on my heart. I instantly felt alone, he was gone.

My curly headed boy.

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Today surrounded by our four children and my wonderful husband, in the chaos of the day, I felt alone again.

It’s very possible to feel alone in a room of 50 people. No one knows what your mind is racing with. No one knows what your heart is filtering out as your words reach your mouth. Your smile can be fake and your words can be rehearsed. Your laugh can be genuine while your heart longs to cry.

Today as I held Luca, my precious son who is so loved and so wanted, I missed Jude. Feelings of guilt and ungratefulness tried to plague me. I sent those feelings back to hell where they came from.

I am telling you this because I want you to know that it is okay to miss a child, to not put that pressure on your Rainbow baby to fill that void.

Each child that dwells in your womb is an individual part of your very soul. No new creation can replace that.

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Tonight if you are missing a child as you hold another, you are not alone. You are heard. You are loved. You are STILL grateful, Momma.

That’s the thing about us Momma’s, we love each child so deeply. So passionately that we love them all, the big the small. The here, the there.

But they are everywhere aren’t they? Our babies. They are right in front of us. In our mind’s eye.

Loved from the time love exploded in your womb, to the time it left.

Even though I get sad, I know where you all are, you’re in my heart.

I write things in my head all day long. I promise that I have book two written, it’s just not on paper yet. My heart yearns to write and share my heart over and over again, but in this season of motherhood I’m currently doing semi-okay in…

it’s hard.

It’s hard to find time to wash my hair, much less share my heart. I haven’t lost passion for blogging, I’ve just lost the time.

This afternoon my heart was pulled back into it’s rightful place, here with you all , sharing my heart.

God placed two women that I had met once before, years ago to push me to start writing again.

” Have you finished book number two?”

” Oh, in my head I have. “

Then , our six year old said something that made me want to show our children to stand back up when you fall. To fight for the things you love, make time for them, and nurture them. Our passions are so important and life giving. Our children are watching us, focusing in on the things we love and the things that trip us up.

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Rhema’s face grew solemn as she held our newest baby Luca, almost three months old. I thought perhaps I had phrased the question wrong, did she not understand me? So, I asked her again.

” How many Grandbabies are you going to give Momma? You know I LOVE babies!”

silence.

” I’m not going to get pregnant. I’ll just adopt.”

” Why baby? I think that’s great, but why don’t you want any of your own?”

” I think mine will die just like yours did.”

There are not many words I can describe to you of how that felt for my daughter to say that sentence, much less the minutes that passed by as tears streamed down my face. I don’t know how long we sat there in silence, or what was going through her head.

Rhema is our child that constantly adds in her two sisters and brother in heaven to our bedtime prayers.

” God bless Judie ( Jude ), Haddie and Alba. Kiss them for me Jesus.”

Every.night.

She relentlessly tells me that I have 7 and not just 4 children. She is very invested in their lives, not by my own doing, but by her own sensitive spiritual gifting that she has been given. Constantly telling me that she sees them as she’s playing outside , and how much she loves them.

I’ve never pressed talking about her siblings to her, this has come naturally.

She knows what each one looks like, and their personalities.

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What seemed like a decade passed before I muttered the words:

” Oh baby, just because Mommy lost babies doesn’t mean you will.”

” Yes, I will. “

It was the first time in my motherhood journey that I didn’t have an answer for her. I didn’t have anything comforting to say. I felt helpless, with my hands tied behind my back. I wanted to give her comfort, and reassure her that that would NEVER happen to her. That she wouldn’t have to say goodbye to a child too soon.

But I can’t promise her that.

I can pray with all my might, I can bless her womb and I can call life forth. I can pray over her pregnancies and love each child she brings forth.

But I cannot protect her from a loss.

I think my heart broke today. I think I’m finally learning what it truly means to hand your children over to Jesus. Really, really hand them over.

My clutch on them until now has been air tight. It’s coming to a season where trust will have a new name for me.  I can’t control their environment outside of our home.

I’m not meant to.

Life can be heartbreakingly hard, and we can love Jesus with all of our might and follow him, but inevitably things happen that don’t always feel good.

I would never wish the pain of losing a child on my worst enemy, much less my own daughter. But if I can show her anything it’s this:

Life is hard, but Jesus is good. His character isn’t determined by my experiences.

I have to get up every morning and remind myself that though we live in a harsh world, my Father is not harsh.

I refuse to let my grief, my shortcomings, my anger or resentment define who I am in Christ. Who I am as a Mother.

My response to Rhema was eventually this:

” You and your siblings made me a better Momma. All of you. Even though I get sad, I know where you all are, you’re in my heart.”

I will always strive to be real with our children. Show them that when the enemy steals from us, it is NOT forever. We will always get back what was stolen, in this life or the next.

We cannot live in fear of the unknown, or possible outcome. We have to live and walk in his great love that casts out all fear. We have to live boldly.

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I’m writing because I love it. I’m writing because it’s who I am. I’m writing to cast out fear. I’m writing for her.

When a man goes to the grocery store.

I want to discuss this text conversation I had with my husband person. Can I get a huge AMEN here:

When you find out your man is at the store, you immediately think of 3,987 things you need him to pick up for you in order to avoid taking any children with you for said things.

The grocery store is a scary place with alcohol you cannot open and drink while you shop.  Hey Food lion , you would get a lot more of my monies if I was drinking Chardonnay while my 4 year old begged for honey buns that she knows I won’t buy because I feed her healthy things like the goldfish she’s currently eating. I would even bring my own glass and opener. Party on aisle 4 for sanity reasons.

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For real, Matt loves when I send him my list of grocery items he has no idea where to find. His complaint is usually ” There like a mile apart from each other.”  Welcome to my life. I know the grocery store like the back of my hand. After all, I am there daily for the three things I forgot yesterday and clearance wine.

I remember as a child, my Mom would send my Dad to the store and he would come home with items she would never dream of purchasing. For the most part we were thrilled with the weird items. I always noticed he bought things my Mom hated, which I don’t blame him. I mean, if matt did all the shopping I would never get dry shampoo.

After the picture I did not send him, because after a fourth baby I look like a busted can of biscuits trying to fit into Juniors clothing. Each fat cell holding on for dear life as I eat more and more crap I shouldn’t be eating, but you know.. breastfeeding. You can find me in a wet suit this Summer with a beer in my hand.

His selection was that of various forms of Ramen noodles,  mangos and pickled okra. I swear he isn’t pregnant, I just had him tested.

When the kids went looking in the pantry the next morning for cereal, there were great eruptions of celebration that MOM HAD FINALLY GOTTEN RAMEN NOODLES AND THESE COOL CUPS THAT YOU PUT IN THE MICROWAVE.

Screw mom’s steel cut oats. They taste like shit.

It’s my theory that he is trying to overrule me in the kitchen, and to that I say, please do bro. I’ve spent over a decade trying to feed everyone healthy stuff, all the while treading water holding babies.

I still try my best to feed these tiny people nutritious foods, but this is my white flag. There are too many of them to manage everything that goes into their mouths. Like, I don’t have a business management degree.

After four kids talk of salsa gets us all hot and spicy. Then we have to take a bath to cool off so we don’t reproduce again. That would require more groceries.