Life Giver

My very first photo as a mom right after giving birth to my 1st in a tub.

I helped create a human- 6 humans to be exact; one just met our Maker in paradise sooner than the rest of us.

I try to remind myself of that fact as I look in the mirror picking apart every flaw I see staring back at me.

My newest little beauty is only 4 days old. 4 DAYS old. I’m 30 now. I haven’t slept probably more than an hour and a half straight since she was born. Her nights and days are reversed. My usual birth weight loss accompanied by water weight of about 20 pounds the first half a week just didn’t happen this time. It’s a good morning now when I’ve lost at least her birth weight in pounds. Instead, I’ve experienced more swelling- I didn’t even know that was possible without an IV & having an all-natural birth with no interventions. My usual dark circles under my eyes have grown darker, my puffy face paler. My once, the only thing I can usually count on eyes seem smaller, and my hair limp. My once small midsection with a visible 4 pack of abs has long been separated & what has taken its place is more like a deflated air balloon that sadly hangs over. While I was hoping my screwed up back that I had at least the last 3 months of pregnancy would magically heal when I birthed my baby, it realistically didn’t & still causes such pain that I can barely walk or get up at times. I gained more weight this pregnancy than any of my others, and I’ve always gained a lot no matter what I’ve done to prevent it. Frankly, I don’t want to be seen. I find my body and myself embarrassing. When I think about having to show up places, I just cry. I keep telling my husband that someday I won’t always look this way and find myself crying all over again. Talk about embarrassing.

However, when I look at the beautiful 8 pound, 7 ounce human being I brought into this world, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. She was worth it. She was worth every pound I’ve gained, every battle I’ve faced along the way, and the slow-motioned finish line crossing I envisioned as I tried to breathe through the ring of fire pain of her crowning so that I wouldn’t experience another pro-lapsed uterus like I did during the one forceful push I got her brother right before her out in.

You see, these human beings I birthed into this world have birthed a warrior out of me. They made me realize I’m stronger than I could ever imagine. That I could push through and cross those finish lines even with abs separated, a screwed up back, and all odds against me. They’ve made me realize that the best, most beautiful and worthy treasures come not only on the opposite side of the most laborious pains, but through them. That the rainbows wouldn’t come without the storms. That the closest I could ever come to relating to what Jesus felt and how much He loves us was when I allowed my body to be a living sacrifice through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth, and how worth it I’ve thought all my kids were even on their worst days.

I looked into the mirror again tonight and I saw that I’m not what I want to be yet. I won’t give up where I’m at and look this way forever. My body will heal, and I won’t give up. If I were looking at someone else in the same situation as me, I’d tell her to look at all she’s gone through and what she’s brought into the world because of it. I would tell her, “You are not to be pitied. You are fierce; and you’re a warrior. You just went through a tough battle, and you need to be gentle on yourself. The enemy wants you to feel defeated and pitiful because that’s the only thing he has to throw your way now, and his lies are only powerful when you agree with them. You’ve already won when you brought life into this world, and the enemy hates any bearer of His image. Now’s not the time to back down now. Someday, the circumstances will change, and the life bearers you brought into this world will bring forth life in so many different ways, and all this time will be but a mere shadow that was quickly passed in the grand scheme of things. For now, please be gentle with yourself. God gently leads those who are with young, little lamb. Hold your head high. You would never see others the way you see yourself now.  You, beautiful life giver, are an image bearer of the King who brought life into this world. Enjoy the lives you helped create, and embrace the life giver that you are.” 

Let the Little Children Come Unto Me

3 of my kids in all their silly glory. ;)

3 of my kids in all their silly glory. 😉

“Let the little children come unto Me…”

I awoke as if to the sound of a whisper, yet knowing there was none to be heard. I couldn’t tell you what I dreamt about last night, only that when I awakened, my thoughts couldn’t be quieted.

That verse along with memories of my mom taking me to different Bible studies, prayer meetings, nursing homes, churches, and even a small group at our house as early as the ages of 2 or 3 popped into my head, yet knowing she probably took me even earlier than that. I don’t know if back then they had child care or not. I know at times I didn’t want to be there. However, I also know that I am so thankful she took me. I don’t know that I would have realized that God was all around us loving His children or that I would have wanted to give Him kisses and hugs at bedtime if she hadn’t. I know my memories of dancing and singing to “Sing unto the Lord a new song”-my favorite song at the time-would be erased. My collarbone that I broke around the age of 6 could very well still be broken, just like the doctor said. I don’t know if I would have had any of the experiences or memories I have at such an early age if it wasn’t for my mom bringing me along with her. There are so many more that I cherish every time I think about how God had His hand upon my life even at an early age-especially at an early age. How, even then, He was romancing me. Sometimes I feel like my memories then are stronger than my feelings of His love are now. When I start doubting at times, those are often the memories I turn to.

~*Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:*~
Ecclesiastes 12:1

Yesterday, my 3 year old daughter was about to eat her tortilla soup, and before eating it, grabbed a few chips, put them partially in, and started crunching them up with her spoon. Her older brother and sister laughed, asking if she was trying to be like me. She said, “Like mommy!” I smiled and asked if she wanted to be like me, she responded with, “Mmhm, just like mommy!” Now, sometimes that thought scares me, but I couldn’t help but smile last night. I started envisioning a year ago or so when I would turn on some praise music and dance and sing, seeing her right along with me, raising her hands, twirling, and praising God. It was the most beautiful sight to behold. “Just like mommy.”

There are so many kids wishing to be “just like mommy” or “just like daddy”, yet I wonder how often we turn them away for fear of them becoming just like us or just for the sake of wanting to be alone. Completely understood by me, by the way. Being introverted with 4 kids 6 and under right now who like to walk in on me every time I use the restroom can be extremely frustrating to say the least. However, I also know that at other times, these kids really need me.

I often wonder what message I’m sending them, that we’re sending them. My husband and I have recently had the invitation to attend 3 different groups-a couples’ group at one church, smaller life groups at our church, and a parenting class at my sister’s house. They all seem awesome. The people seem awesome, the topics seem awesome, but in every single one of them, the kids are separated-left in child care. Part of me wants to welcome the break of getting at least 2 minutes of uninterrupted speech, yet my husband and I both thought that 3 groups, or even 2, is too much now with him working longer hours, and the fact that they need him as well, and we as a family need each other together. And frankly, meeting 3x a week with any group of people on a regular basis is too much for me-even if they are awesome. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with getting a break from my kids and greatly need it at times.

However, I wonder sometimes if kids get the impression that they’re just a nuisance or a burden. I wonder if they think that God and His Holy Spirit are just for older people. If God enjoys worship from their parents better than from them. If they really think that God’s light in them is smaller just because they are. If anything, God’s Spirit often seems to shine brighter in a smaller vessel because it fills it more fully. There are less deceitful beliefs to diminish and overcome.

I don’t know what God wants it to look like for the little children to come unto Him at this moment. I just feel like sometimes kids aren’t given the opportunity to brilliantly shine as they are called to.