A Letter To My Daughter

Dear Baby Sweet Daughter of Mine,

By now we are getting to know each other and going on the biggest adventure together. We get to do life hand in hand.  You are the girl that made me a mom. I don’t have words for that. I want you to know that you were a desire of my heart that God saw to bring to fruition when I least expected it. You were a surprise, the promise of life in a desert time in your dad and I’s life. Someone told us when we first found out about your coming that you would usher in a season of life for us. You would bring a new thing, a glorious thing. After all, new life is a treasure and a gift. God knew when you needed to come into our family and we are delighted that he chose you to be our little girl.

I always wanted to be a momma, and always wanted a little girl. I don’t know what you are going to be like. I have tried many times to imagine you. But the truth is I know you will be better than what I could come up with on my own. I can’t wait to find out what makes you laugh, what makes your heart beat with excitement and the things you delight in.  We may be nothing alike, or you may have qualities of mine. But I want you to know that no matter who you are, I am committed to loving you and helping you become, in time, the woman God made you to be. I pray that you will brave and bold and love life with all that you are. I pray that you will always see people who are overlooked. My hope is that the things that are important in the Kingdom of God are the very things that you adore. I pray that you discover early the love of Christ and what it means that he died on a tree for you and me and all of humanity. I pray that you are confident in how wonderful you are, not because you are self confident, but because you understand the heart God has for you. That your confidence would be rooted on the Rock Himself. I pray you have a voice that rings loud to your generation of a Love greater than all it tries to give you. I pray that you will be willing to go where ever he asks and do things that shock you because he helps you. And I pray all the more that your Dad and I will show you these things because we follow Him in that way.

There will be things you face in this world that will be unfair. There will be times I fail you in the worst ways. I am a very imperfect person. But I want you to know that I will always love you. There will be times where you mess up, but I want you to know I don’t love you for what you do or don’t do. I love you because of who you are. I don’t know what we will face in life together, but I want you to know that you are enough. The world is going to try to tell you that you aren’t enough. It’s going to try to get you to sell yourself short and give yourself to things that will actually destroy you. I want you to know that God already says that you are perfectly and wonderfully made. He made you with intension and delight. He chose you and loves you fiercely. The only One you should give yourself to is Him. He is a good good Father. He loves us. He loves you. Unlike your dad and I, He is perfect. He will not fail you. He will never mess up or leave you. He is the One you need.

I want you to always try. Even when it’s hard or tempting to give up. We want you to give life your best effort but want you to know that we aren’t too worried about the outcome. If you truly are trying your very best, it’s enough even if the outcome is failure. You know why? Persistence is hugely important. You don’t make it in life just because you feel you deserve something. You have to work at it. You don’t become good at something without working hard. This world will try to present shortcuts or tell you that you deserve something just because you showed up. There will be times where your work and effort are overlooked. There will be times when no matter how hard you work, it won’t be enough to gain recognition you may have hoped for. But I want you to know that it is enough if it’s your best. Effort matters. God always sees your effort and work and takes note. Work for His eyes only. He will reward you. If not in this life, in eternity. Also, don’t ne afraid to fail. Failures and successes are not your identity. But be bold enough to try new things even if it doesn’t go well. And then pick up again and keep going. I will be there to help you up when you fall.

I pray that you hear the song He sings over you. That it is so loud in your heart that nothing can draw you from it. I pray that as you grow, you will have a tenderness to his Word and a strong conviction of the truth. We will do our best to help you navigate in a world that tries to tell you that everything is true. That alone makes no sense if you think about it sweet girl, but it’s what this crazy world wants you to think. This attempts to cheapen what really is true and makes things confusing. There really is Truth and things really are false. Everything can’t simultaneously be right. Your dad is very good at this. Listen to his wisdom. He will help you navigate your questions. Also, questions are a beautiful thing. Never be afraid to ask us things and question what people tell you. Even us. God gave you a brain and the ability to reason for a purpose.

One of the scary things as a mom is to know that you have an enemy. It’s the same enemy that I have. He isn’t creative, but he will try to destroy you. He has tried to destroy me and your dad too. He has one mission, steal, kill and destroy. I promise to always help you fight the fight against him. God has given all we need to be victorious against this enemy. But he will try and try to get you to forget that. And he will still attempt to rob us. Just know that “greater is he that is in us, that he who is in the world.” You are covered. And one day your dad and I will tell you our stories of how he tried to take us out, but wasn’t successful. Stories of how God is so much greater and is a redeemer of seemingly impossible things. I have to tell you that our family history on both sides is that story. Truthfully, it’s everyone’s story. But I want you to always know that God is bigger, greater, mightier, stronger than even the deepest of pitfalls and painful things. And then he takes those things and redeems them in powerful ways for His glory so all will know who he is and how he loves.

My job as a mom is to remind you who you are and who God is. It’s to help you know him, help you become like him. You were uniquely created by him with gifts and talents to give to the world for his glory. Let’s discover those things. And just like you, I am in process of learning to love him with all that I am. It will be an adventure. Just know, you are completely and totally adored and loved.

Love,

Your Momma

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Expectations for Motherhood from a New Momma

Expectations of MotherhoodI am going to take a stab at defining some of my expectations of being a mother. And since this will post in my first week as a mother, I thought it would be kind of fun to look back at this and see if any of them were reasonable. This might be a little easier in retrospect say like a year from now. But in theme with the mini blog series I am doing on expectations, I thought I would give this a try. First, I have to confess that I am terrified and I have no clue what this is going to be like. I feel completely unequipped to take care of a little person and raise them to become a functioning adult. My parents and friends with children have reassured me that every new parent feels this way. Especially when coming home from the hospital. The thoughts are “Wait, where is the manual for this thing? And they really are going to let me take him/her home?”
Expectation number one is that I am going to be tired. Like really tired for the first few years of her life. Although, on second thought, I might be really tired all of her life because having a teenager sounds like a time where loss of sleep is guaranteed. Hmm.. maybe you get to sleep when they are in elementary school? I pray that by some grace of God, my daughter manages to have an easier go at being a teen than I did. But now I am getting ahead of myself. Rumor has it infants get up every two hours to eat around the clock. So I am expecting I won’t sleep. And because of this, I am expecting in my delirium to at times be grumpy. I am hoping and praying that I don’t hurt my husband/parents too much in this totally sleep deprived state.
Second, I am expecting I will love this little person more than I can even fathom. I am genuinely curious about a mother’s love. It’s something I have tried and tried to imagine. But I just can’t. Just like I tried to imagine what it would be like to love my husband before I was married. Seriously so much greater than I could even grasp until I was walking in it. Parents tell me that there is nothing like loving a child. So I anxiously await experiencing this great love. People have told me that it gives you insight into God’s love in a whole new way. I am eager to have this new insight as well.
Third, I am expecting that I will discover a new part of myself that I didn’t know before. The mom part of me. I have always wanted to be a mom. I have maternal instincts and attributes already; but I know that there are things that I haven’t developed because I haven’t had to. I am excited to develop in this way and figure out who I am as a mom. I anticipate I will become an expert on things like breastfeeding, baby things, responding to cries, multitasking, cleaning up puke, showering in two minutes, and many other things mom’s do that I don’t even know about.
Fourth, I am expecting to discover how selfish I really am. If I am honest, right now my life revolves very much around myself and of course Chad. It’s not that I never think about other people. I just anticipate learning just how much I prioritize my needs over the needs of others and how selfish I am when these things are in jeopardy. My time will no longer be mine. There will be another person’s needs that will come before mine. And while Chad and I do that for each other, there is often compromise involved so we both can have needs met in a timely fashion. Luxuries like spending a day at a coffee shop or a book store will be over too. Unless one of us is at home with her, she won’t have the patience to hang out while we read/write/code and hibernate a snowy day away.
I am expecting it to go entirely too fast. I think about how fast my pregnancy went and tear up thinking about all the milestones she will go through in just the first year. I know at two in the morning when she is crying, I won’t feel this way. I probably won’t feel this way when she is two and melting down in the middle of a store while I am a shade of crimson. But I want to treasure it all, because I feel like I will blink and I will be watching her walk down the isle getting married. I mean isn’t this just what happened to my parents? I’m sure my mom feels like just yesterday she was in my shoes, about to give birth. In my sappy hormonal state, I have already cried about her future wedding day and all the feelings I think I’ll have in that moment. Seriously people.
Finally, I expect this to be the hardest thing that I have ever done. I think I will be humbled with all the things that I thought I knew and don’t. (All those moments where you think “If I was the mom, I’d do blah blah blah and my kid wouldn’t do blah blah blah). I have been thinking about that lately and how the reality is you are trying to raise a person, who has an independent will, who is going to do their own thing and go through their own milestones of learning. One of those milestones of learning might be humiliating to me as a mom and make me look bad in a grocery store. Like 5,000 times. I think there will be days I am faced with serious feelings of inadequacy and other days where I feel like the best mom in the world. It’s a job title that I get permanently. It’s something that I will never stop doing, even though I know that my role will shift as she develops into a young woman. As my own mom says, “once a mom, always a mom”.
Most importantly, I think I will love it.
I’d love to hear from some of the Mom’s out there. What surprised you about being a Mom? I’d love to read your replies in the middle of the night when feeding. 🙂 You know, like a little something to look forward to.

Conquering My Nerves Around a C-Section

***Today is the day we have a scheduled C-Section. It’s at 12:30 MST. If you feel so inclined, we would love your prayers. We appreciate you and can’t wait to introduce her to you. I have a few things scheduled the next week or two to celebrate her and when I am well enough I will hop on and share all kinds of pictures and of course the name 🙂 Thanks for being patient while we get to know our little person and adjust to being a family of three.C-Section
Since scheduling a c-section for our little peanut’s arrival, I have been a somewhat an emotional wreck. It’s a major surgery and it completely wigs me out. I know, I know, it happens everyday (ha! and I having one as you read this). But as my awesome OB says, you don’t know how you are going to react to it so it’s normal for the nerves to be there. Quite frankly, bringing another human being into the world is going to make you nervous. Your body is going through something huge, and there is another person affected by the whole thing to. One you love before you have even seen them face to face. It’s completely normal to feel nervous, anxious and kinda freaked out by the whole thing.
I have managed the experience of my emotions in a couple of ways.
First, I have let myself feel what I feel any given moment without guilt or shame. If I feel upset, disappointed, nervous or just plain scared I take note of it. I feel it. I am not good at suppressing emotion. I don’t particularly think it’s healthy or helpful. I have friends who are able to be extremely optimistic. Perhaps they are able to deal with their emotions in a different way, but I have to acknowledge the emotion, process it either in writing or verbally and then let the emotion pass.
Second, I have processed these emotions and the roots of them with trusted people. God has majorly provided me with an awesome support system in general. Different people have walked different parts of my journey in different ways with me. He did not make us to do things alone. Community is so important and needed and there is a reason we are called to community and are made to be known. I am so thankful for people who have been there, who understand the many emotions that come with giving birth via c-section and understand the importance of just listening. I have come to peace with giving birth via c-section largely because of God’s provision of people in just the right moments who have been patient enough to just hear my fears out.
Third, I have a counselor who has helped me resource for the day itself. I am a HUGE believer in counseling. It’s something that has radically changed my life and something I know will be a part of my life on and off probably for all of my life. I think everyone should have a counselor in their lifetime. There is something sacred about the counseling space where you can be laid bare to a certain degree and heal. Truly, God is the ultimate Counselor and I am very aware the ways that he moves through my sessions and does the work. The counselor is truly a vessel of his healing when done right.
My counselor does a technique called EMDR for processing trauma. If you are stuck in a “loop” of trauma, meaning that you cannot move through the emotion or experience of something, there is a technique that integrates your experiences and stores them in your brain properly. I have found major major healing/success in pursuing EMDR. (more on that in a later post). Now you aren’t supposed to do EMDR when pregnant unless it’s approved by a doctor. Mostly because you don’t want to have trauma responses when pregnant. You want to keep your body and system as calm as possible for baby. But you can do a certain type of EMDR called positive templating without risking baby experiencing a trauma response. With the okay from my doctor, I found this experience very very helpful. Positive templating is all about walking through the day and processing how it could go, how you want it to go, and how you would respond to things that are unexpected. What I find sacred about these spaces is how God meets me in them. When I did EMDR last week, our Heavenly Father showed me how he is with me and will be with me through the whole surgery. He was very tangible, showing me the ways he has prepared and provided through staff at the hospital, the team of doctors performing the surgery, and then just his actual presence. He also comforted me in my pain and loss of the birth I had expected. I was able to see that much of my panic was coming from a fear that he wouldn’t be there with me. I know that sounds absurd, but I think when you are responding to something with previous experiences where you felt abandoned and rejected (no matter if that isn’t the case) it’s easy to in the depths of your heart fear that you are doing it all alone and that somehow God won’t be in the midst of it with you. To experience the Holy Spirit reminding you that he is in fact always with you and showing you that he will be there is very comforting.
Fourth, prayer has played a huge role. I had a sweet prayer session with some people who are dear to my heart. It was funny because the day before she called me up to pray with me, God told me that I needed to pray with this particular person. So had she not beat me to the punch, I would have reached out to her. The prayer session addressed so many of the things that I needed to remember are true. One of these things was the reality that God’s plan for a baby to come into the world is always the best plan. It’s easy to feel like this is the second best plan. But if she arrives via C-section, this is his best. There is almost an idol of natural child birth in my generation, especially living in Colorado, where there is a high value of all natural everything. While natural (as God created things are good) he also moves through so many things. He created a c-section that has saved countless women and babies lives. Remembering that He is in this and that this isn’t a rejection of me or a personal failure was hugely important. Another thing we prayed about was walking in the freedom of Christ and that she reminded me that fear isn’t my inheritance. She got this beautiful picture that I am learning how to walk through valley’s where darkness seems to be all around, but that I am actually clothed in victory. I can be confident in Christ no matter how over my head I feel, and he will be with me. The work on the cross has happened. It is finished and now I can walk fully in what he has done.
Finally, renewing my mind in scripture has also been very important. I need to remember what God says is true. This morning I was reading in the Psalms. I found a great deal of comfort in a a few particular verses. I will be repeating these to myself during surgery. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  Psalm 34:4-5. He has delivered me from all my fears. He is lifting my head and holding my heart reminding me that he is for me; even in things that are hard, unexpected, disappointing and scary.I have nothing to be ashamed of.
He is bringing new life into the world. It’s worth celebrating!