180 Into Momhood

red carnation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It started with a carnation.

Just over 20 years ago I walked into my church service on Mother’s Day Sunday. A divorced Airman, stationed in Japan, I assumed everyone knew my status. But a boy handed me a red carnation, my favorite flower. I started to give it back, saying I wasn’t a mom, and he told me not to worry about it. I could keep it.

As I went to find my seat, I saw a friend who was a mom. I told her I felt bad for keeping the flower, and she said, “Don’t. It’s a promise from God that you will one day become a mother.”

A few years before that day, I nearly made an appointment to have surgery so I wouldn’t have children. I had a sad, awful childhood, and I didn’t want to bring kids into this world full of such ugly hatred for innocence and vulnerability. A friend talked me out of it.

Today I have 4 children. Each one carried and formed within my body. Their lives are so different from how mine was.

The change to motherhood began in my heart, a seed desiring children was planted the day I received that carnation. I wasn’t in a relationship, but I began looking into adoption options. I pondered the future, thought of ways I could include a child. I thought I’d be a single mom. I believed I’d never find a man I could trust to be the father of my children. I refused to have children with the  man who divorced me because I did not trust him.

God did a work in my heart that caught me off guard. I don’t know how or when He made the changes. I made a list of 50 things I believed I’d find in the man He would bring into my life, if He wanted me to remarry.

Months passed. I forgot about the list I had written. I was introduced to a guy, and we started walking and talking together. We went to church together. It wasn’t long before I found the forgotten list. I could check off 46 out of the 50 things, and I recognized evidence of God at work on the 4 things unchecked. A short time after, he asked me to marry him.

I said yes!

The next year and a half was a jumble of long distance, high phone bills, separation anxieties, misunderstandings, making up, praying together, wedding preparations, family frictions, and finally we were together as man and wife. During that long year and a half, God spoke to my heart about the promise of a daughter, and He gave me her name. Deborah.

I got pregnant immediately after rejoining with my new husband.

It was not an easy pregnancy. I had awful morning sickness, and a terrible rash some first time moms carrying girls got… I knew that child was fulfillment of God’s promise of a daughter. Everyone thought I was carrying a boy, but I knew she was a girl.

My water broke 30 days before she was due to be born. She was a tiny 5 pounds 8 ounces. Then she lost a full pound the first week. Our first two weeks together were the hardest I have ever endured. I was fighting to keep her alive. She slept all the time, nursed constantly. I was sore, tired, scared… I had no family nearby to get help from. There were ladies at our church that supported me and prayed for us, and I know God used them to help me continue.

When my daughter was born, my mom-hood was born as well.

I went from fighting as a survivor from my own circumstances, to loving a tiny human who was part of me and yet separate– loving her so much I could feel my heart tearing to be able to fit more love inside of it.

With each child, my heart has stretched and broken apart to fit even more love inside of it. The eye can’t see that, but I have felt every tug, pull and tear. Each child and I have our own story, our own bondings, as well as our own conflicts.

God has been incredibly good to me. He fulfilled His promise and gave me so much more! He provided me with a safe, healthy environment to raise my own children, with a man who selflessly displays so many of God’s characteristics.

I am indescribably thankful that God helped me find my way on to a different life course than I started out on.

 

 

 

Un-rule-y Status Update

heard

We are often in a rush to get somewhere or do something. Facebook has become so much of a part of our lives, it’s what we browse through to get caught up on just about everything– friends, family, world news, local news, political speculations, animal videos, cute baby pics… We have this quick, easy, soundbyted information summary at our fingertips, 24/7/365.

Do we take time to think about the people behind the statuses?

Here are 15 things on my mind I probably won’t say over a Facebook status:

1) My cover doesn’t look anything like me.

2) I binge-watched a whole season of Royal Pains the other day.

3) The last church I became a member of hurt and disappointed me.

4) I eat food I don’t even like because of the health benefits.

5) You hurt my feelings when you walk past me and pretend you don’t see me, but you don’t devastate me.

6) I’m blunt, but overflowing with compassion, and I have comfy shoulders to cry on.

7) I prioritize relationship. If there is miscommunication, I’m quick to try work it out, and make sure there isn’t unforgiveness or bitterness left to fester. If you don’t want to talk or work things out, I will move on– most likely without you.

8) When I feel afraid, I embrace it. When I feel pain, I embrace it. The only way to conquer is to face challenges. They won’t just go away. (Okay, except in the case of spiders. I might be a tree hugger, but never a spider hugger.)

9) My family is the ministry that God has given to me. They are important to me and to God.

10) I don’t play games. I am who I am, and I am me with everyone.

11) I have conquered things you would never guess. Alone but with God.

12) I’m generous with my time and attention, until I’m patronized, belittled, or shown what I say is of little importance.

13) I’m harder on myself than you will ever be towards me. That being said– I don’t have enough gentleness, kindness or genuine respectful concern from others. Respect is important to me.

14) Those who come along side and offer friendship on equal terms stay my friends– for life. Those who treat me like a victim, or don’t value the wisdom I have gained through hard circumstances–  won’t. I despise being treated like a victim.

15) I wish people could see past the opinions blinding their sight.

/end status update.