30 May 2014

A Dream Come True


I'm going to Israel.  On Tuesday.

I am not even sure if my mind adequately comprehends what I am about to do.

I've always loved the land of Israel, always had a desire to go.  Ever since I was 9 or 10 years old, I have been dreaming about the day I would see the land for myself.

I want to go where history began.  I want to see the land God chose for the people He chose.  I want to walk where the heroes of my faith walked.  I want to be the place where my Lord stepped out of eternity into time, where He grew, and lived.  Where He died, where He rose, and where He is soon returning.

The fact that I'm actually going hasn't quite set in yet.  I've already spent some tears in anticipation, but the bulk of my emotions will probably hit me halfway over the Atlantic.

Speaking of which, if you think of it, please say a prayer for me.  I struggle with minor travel anxiety and I would love to not be affected during this trip!  I get knots in my stomach and have trouble eating whenever I am in new places.  And since Israeli food is so yummy, I would really love to eat a falafel every day that I'm there. ;) Thanks, y'all.

(And if you think of it, please also pray for my children, that they won't miss their mama too much while I'm gone!)

I purchased a new journal for my trip, and am prayerfully anticipating the Lord speaking to me a lot while I'm in Israel!  Hopefully I'll be able to turn His voice + my thoughts + notes from our trip into blogs when I get back.

If you'd like to keep up with my journey, you can do so via my Instagram feed.  I will have wi-fi at the hotels and plan to post pictures and thoughts each evening.

13 May 2014

To the Mamas of Angels

I know the pain that Mother's Day can bring.  I know the feeling of the hurt in your heart that you experience every single day, the one that is only magnified on this day that celebrates everything contrary to what you feel:  Life.  Love.  Hope.  Motherhood.

Even as I snuggle with my three sweet children, my heart yearns for the two that I will never know on this earth, my two precious angels in heaven.  My heart will forever be incomplete.

When you lose a child, you lose a part of your heart.  And you never get it back.

Two pieces of my heart will always be missing.  The loss of a child is not something your mama's heart ever gets over.  To tell the truth, I'm not sure it's something your heart was made to get over.  The very nature of my heart, of your heart, of every mother's heart, was made to hold that child.  Forever.

For whatever reason our arms our empty -- miscarriage,  stillbirth,  abortion -- it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how they died.  It just matters that they lived.  No matter how briefly, your child lived.  

I can't pretend to understand the agony of infertility, nor the despair in the inability to carry a child to term, nor the pain of abortion.  But I do know the heartbreak of miscarriage.  I do know what it feels like to have babies in heaven, to have a heart that will never be whole.

One of the hardest parts of my first Mother's Day was the feeling that I wasn't a mother.  I felt like I was drowning in grief, having miscarried only a few weeks before, watching all the mothers in the church stand to be honored.  I fought the tears that threatened to overwhelm me.  Drew squeezed my hand, gently urged me to stand also, but I couldn't.

I'm not a mother.  I may never be.  The thought glued me to my seat.

But it was a lie.

was a mother, even though my baby was no longer living.  Believing that lie was like saying my child had never existed.  But he had.  For almost four weeks, he had lived in my womb.  And as soon as he ceased to be alive, he awoke in the arms of Jesus, where he still lives.

Hear me, mothers.  That voice that denies you your rightful title of mama?  That voice that dismisses the life of your child, however brief?  It is lying.  Please don't believe that lie.

You are a mama, an angel's mama.

05 May 2014

My Happy Blessing

Dear Readers,  I have been struggling with whether or not to share part of this post with y'all for almost a year.  Above all, I want to be transparent.  I don't want to only post about the good times, the easy parts of parenting, the cute things my kids do and say.  But at the same time, opening up to anyone who happens by my blog is scary.  However, I keep coming back to this post, so I'm thinking God wants me to put it out there.  Maybe someone needs to read it, to know that they're not alone, that others have been there and are there, that what they're going through is normal.  Thanks for reading. 

In those first few moments after Asher's birth, when they handed him to me and he lay on my chest crying, I fought feelings of near-dislike.

With my first two babies, as soon as I laid eyes on them, it was instant love. Instant connection. But with Asher, it was nothing.

He smelled funny and he would not stop crying.  I was crying.  

Why don't I like this child?

I held him, trying my hardest to love him.  I knew I did, I just didn't feel it.

When I found out I was pregnant with Asher, my emotions were so conflicted.  On the one hand, I was excited.  How could I not be?  A new baby to hold and love!  But at the same time, I was not ready to be pregnant again.  I wanted more kids, just not right away.  My last labor and delivery hadn't yet faded from memory and I just didn't know how I could go through that again so soon.

And here I was... committed to just that.

I fought this anxiety my entire pregnancy.  Thinking about labor would cause a sort of panic in my mind.  So I tried not to think about it.  I tried to focus on the fact that in a few short months, I would be holding a new little life.

However, trying not to think about it didn't really work.  It would come to me randomly, this dark cloud of apprehension.

I read blogs that other moms had written about postpartum depression and wondered if there was such a thing as "prepartum depression."  I felt hopeless, which then made me feel guilty that I wasn't as excited about this new baby as I had been for my first two.  But I could not seem to shake it.

So when I went into labor, I was freaking out internally.  It was so hard mentally, and I knew I could not do this again.  Fortunately, my body, my husband, and my midwife knew what to do.  And I did it (obviously).  At 1:41am on May 5, 2013, Asher entered the world.

And I didn't really like him.

What kind of mother was I?!

The next day in the hospital, I laid my new little boy on the bed and bent over him, studying him close.  He was alert, staring up at me, so I smiled and started talking.

And then he smiled.

He smiled at me.

Immediately, my heart burst with love for this wee little guy.  Something had broken and the feeling was tangible.  I picked him up and snuggled him close.

Asher hasn't stopped smiling.  He melts my heart on a daily basis.  There is just something about that little grin, the way his eyes crinkle, the sight of his little teeth.  It's wholly unlike anything I've seen before.

His smile is contagious.  When we're cruising around the grocery store, or out running errands, he just beams at everyone.  Perfect strangers smile back and comment on his happiness, and I just nod in agreement.  He really is that happy just about all the time.

I call him my happy blessing, which is what his name means.  And it couldn't be more true.  I feel so blessed that God gave this happy little boy to me, especially after how hard I struggled over the timing of his pregnancy.

I learned a much-needed lesson in trust and God's sovereignty.  Even though this was not what I had planned, not even necessarily what I wanted, at that point in my life, God knew better.

I still cry, even today, when I think that if I'd had it my way, my timing, Asher would not be here.

And I can't imagine life without him.  

Happy first birthday, Bugga Boo.  Your Mama loves you more than you'll ever know.

And now to share a few of my favorite Asher-smiles with y'all...

Fiesta-themed birthday party with a sombrero, mustache, and maraca!
First smile caught on camera at 4 days old!
Typical Asher at almost 4 months!
Enjoying springtime at 9 months! 
Normal happy vs. scrunch-faced happy (11 months).

I hope he brightens your day as much as he brightens mine!

01 May 2014

May Printable --- FREE

To me, May is Mom's Month.  Partly because the month hosts the day dedicated to celebrating mothers, partly because May is the month I became a mama myself, and partly because both of my boys claim May as their birth month.  It's just Mommy Celebrations from beginning to end!

I made this print of one of my favorite scriptures for you to download.  It might just make a nice gift for a special woman in your life... (hint hint)!