counting down and preparing

I’m (generally) a planner. I (generally) like to know what’s going on at all times. I like to have things in order and I enjoy being overly prepared way in advance. It makes me feel comfortable. Calm. Happy. And, at peace. PLUS…. it gives me a chance to make changes or adjust when things come up. Because they always do.

So, days away from my 28th week, the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I’m counting down.
Thanksgiving Day I’ll be 31 weeks. 31. 31. 31. That’s insane.
New Year’s Eve I’ll be 36 weeks.
My ob tells me to be ready the first week in January (37w), but to not be surprised if these girls make their debut in December.

whoa.

Nothing new. I’ve mentioned this in my last few posts and I guess I keep saying it because this is real. And, it is happening. But, I’m having a hard time believing it. God’s faithfulness has blown my mind. The tangible truth that he gives good gifts is difficult to grasp. And, I just. can’t. get a handle on it.
Now, considering the type of person that I am….. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I feel like we have so much to do, purchase, organize, wash, and just make ready before the girls get here. Even though I watched my belly grow, my tops shrink, and my dresses fill out, December/January felt so far away and this reality felt so unreal. Yes, I saw these babies grow before my eyes from a little ball of cells with a beating heart, I watched their limbs grow and develop, their little faces mature…. I felt their kicks grow stronger and watched them vie for space in my belly but to know that I will be watching them grow on the outside in a matter of weeks is unreal. I can’t believe it. I literally cannot believe it. And, I’m not ready. {I don’t think.}

I love movies. I mean, I love movies. And, we’ve been going quite a bit lately. I want to see all the best movies out… My favorite are romantic comedies & films that depict love conquering all. I’m intentionally putting off  all of the girlie movies for the days/nights I’m stuck at home or will be at home. So, we’ve been watching the deeper more thought provoking movies (which I love, too!!!) and ended up catching The Judge last night. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. For more than a few reasons, but left me wallowing deep in my feelings and more than ever adamant about preparing for raising our children. (No, I’m not telling the movie, so you can relax!!! lol). All of this felt great because just a few days ago, I sent Thomas and email with a list of things I wanted to begin focusing on, discussing, and working toward in terms of spiritually preparing to raise our girls with a heart for Jesus.  I went to Flourish in June and was about 6 weeks pregnant. It was a beautiful conference which scheduled quiet time with Jesus. During that time I wrote down every character trait I wanted our kids to have (and, yes…. I wrote children many times and felt silly for doing so but that was what was on my heart), wrote scriptures associated with those traits and attached women in the Bible who portrayed the traits I longed for them to have.

After the movie, I was left encouraged to do all the things I’ve been running from, personally writing about, and convicted to do. I rambled on and on about how important it is for me to deal with hard things, emotions, hurts, and disappoints and to communicate because doing so builds and strengthens relationships, not doing it tears them apart. And, hardens us. I’ve hardened in many ways and although I’ve been praying that God soften my heart, I truly don’t feel as if I’ve surrendered enough for Him to do it.

I know that not dealing with our own personal shit before we have kids and after they arrive, leave them be the ones shoveling both theirs and ours. If we don’t deal with our own junk, we pass that junk onto them. I know that our issues impact our kids, shape their lives, their perceptions, and experiences. Noyhing will ever be perfect but my goodness I want to give my kids the best foundation possible.

I don’t want the things I suck at to impair my children. I don’t want the fact that mommy hates crying and being emotional so she doesn’t like really digging deep and dealing with things to hurt them. And, it will. It will hurt them, my relationship with them, how they see me interacting with their daddy, and their view of me being a person who is supposed to be the heart and lifeline of our home. All of my decisions will shape and impact their lives. For better or worse. 

Treating them with grace, freely and relentlessly showing forgiveness, and intentionally guiding them to truth that they NEED Jesus will be all of our saving grace.

Especially when the less than attractive side of mommy comes out…. when she’s impatient, harsh, hard, seeking perfection & the best from herself and everyone around her, is HARD. It’s stressful. It’s limiting. It doesn’t help to build relationships or people.

With two extra little firecrackers (which they will inevitably be) in our home, finding a new balance will be hard, but finding it will be our peace. Learning to deal with things…. learning to be gentle, assuring, and kind even when frustrated will be what shapes our girls to be kind and self assured. It is what will keep the feel of our home warm, safe, and sure. It is what will tether us together when we’re disappointed in each other… when we’ve hurt each other… when we’ve just been less than loving and gracious.

Wanna know what’s burdening me right now?

When you experience pregnancy, everyone is focused on gender, names, a nursery, cribs, and collecting massive amounts of diapers. We have checklists and baby showers to collect a bunch of (needed, albeit) STUFF. We have childbirth classes and hospital tours, lactation consults, pedi interviews. While there are plenty of THINGS our children will need throughout their short span of newborn-hood, toddlerhood, childhood and on and on. And, duh.. it’s an exciting time. But, why is the focus on all of that but not on shaping these children’s lives? Why aren’t mommy-friends sitting mommies to be and new mommies down and talking to them about their experiences as new moms who have to maintain homes, marriages, and learn how to be a good (read: God focused) mom and wife in this new stage in her life? What this life is really going to look life before/after/during and under the surface of the beautiful photoshoots, Insta posts, and funny stories?

No one knows it all, we’re all struggling. Bringing a person into this world and having the responsibility to raise them cannot be easy. Why are we avoiding the conversation? Why are we trying to appear to be these women who have everything together and in need of nothing? As a mommy to be, I can only imagine the stress of having to care for everyone. How can we be more supportive of each other in this new role is my question. How can we build honest, trusting relationships with other new mommies who we can go to for a release? For advice and wisdom? Yes, we have our girlfriend groups and they are tight knit and deep……. But, I feel that motherhood is so personal. I feel that mothers are so harshly judged that even with our closest friends it can be hard to open up about what we need and what we’re struggling with… difficult to tell a friend that the teacher isn’t all the way wrong about her child’s behavior… or to offer help in an area that we see our friend needs help with… or to share with a friend what the future of that child and her life may look like if she doesn’t ease up on the super strict discipline or reign in a child who could use a bit more structure and discipline…. It’s hard.

Because we’re fragile and offended easily. Because we don’t know if our relationships can withstand such truth, an opinion, constructive criticism. We’re doing the best we know how to. The best we can. And, can get angry when someone points out a weakness that we may even know we have. But, who does that serve? How is being hard, in denial about our struggles, our junk helping? How is it shaping our families and our children? How is turning a blind eye benefiting us?

Who is talking about postpartum depression? Who is talking about how frustrated you’re going to be with colicky babies or late night partiers when you’re exhausted and working on two hours of sleep? or sick babies? breastfeeding issues??
Who’s talking to mamas who have lost their babies?  Who is talking about REAL LIFE?? Who is willing to?

We expect everyone to show their best face at all times because dealing with life is hard, messy, and ugly. All at once. Yes, life can be beautiful, wonderful, and peaceful, too. But, truth be told it isn’t like that all of the time. I know that because we’re all sinners and we can all make the worst of the worst decisions at times. We like to serve ourselves at some points, in some way whether small or large, that hurts another person. This life, our friendships, marriages, and relationships are hard because we are, because we’re unforgiving, we have junk we want to hide, and because we just plain ol sin everyday.

I’ve pulled out my notes from Flourish and have been studying, reading, and soaking up all of the wisdom that was given that weekend. I’ve committed to dealing with all of the hurts and disappointments that I have felt, perceived, and experienced over the past six-eight months and I’m going to talk about them. Cry about them. And, truly work towards getting over it or learning how to carry it without allowing it to cause a negative impact on my life. I’m going to make more of an effort to build deeper relationships and open up much more to that close knit group of gals and really learn to lean on them and position myself to be leaned upon.

The quality of our lives depend on it. Our depth of our character, marriages, and relationships with Christ depend on it.
Our husbands’ lives depend on it.
Our children’s lives depend on it.
Our friends’ lives depend on it.
Those we love the most depend on us truly being able to deal with our junk and love them deeply, serve them with gladness, guide them with grace and wisdom, and relate to them in a way that they learn to truly trust us with all of them – both good and bad.

Post Jam: Kari Jobe – Here.
Healing and finding peace begins with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. We have to ask and trust that He will bring people into our lives and/or further deepen the relationships we have to help us along and to push us closer to him.

I’m definitely encouraged to deal… to take a deep breathe and do hard things that will expose my heart and cause me to be vulnerable. To dig in, take root, and grow in ways that will honor God, strengthen my family, support my friends, and build my children. I know I’m not alone in wanting these things, but are we willing to take the leap to take hold of them?

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mocha kid magazine!!!

So, I’m pretty sure you guys have seen this pretty little face…..

IMG_4529.PNG You may have also seen a few of these…..

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IMG_4532.PNG And, I know you’ve seen a few shots from this shoot…..

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At any rate, IF you by chance haven’t, let me introduce you to my real life friend, Christin McQueen, the founder & creative mind behind Mocha Kids Magazine, the photographer of my maternity pictures, and mother & wife of the cutest little chocolate family you ever did see.

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(See, I wasn’t lying!! No bias here!!)
She was introspective/kind/supportive/etc enough to ask me to share our full story of our journey through infertility for MK Magazine! I was, of course, excited & honored, then terrified and challenged in so many ways to do so!
So. So. So. I’m ELATED to announce that our story is featured in the 3rd edition of MK Magazine that can be found, read, and bought HERE!!!!!

Thank you so much, Christin, for caring about me enough as your friend & this issue to see that our struggle was not an isolated one. I’m glad that you saw a way for our story to be used to help many other women & families walking the same journey! xoxo

Want to see more of Christin’s work??
Look here!!
IG: christinshootspeople
Facebook: Mocha Kid Magazine
Website: christinshootspeople.com

See ya there!!!!

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the giver

Have you ever received a “simple” gift from someone you were just completely in love with? That gift was cherished and honored simply for your love of the giver.
What about loving someone more because of the effort, time, thought, and creativity they put into an act of kindness, service, or gift for you? Your love for them swelled because you understood the gravity and magnitude of their thoughts toward you & how they motivated such selfless behavior.

It’s nearly impossible to not love and respect someone who feels so deeply for you.
(Of course, keeping in mind the consideration that they’re mentally stable and of sound mind! lol)

The more these little babes become real to me (read: cause my belly to swell), the more and more I honor and thank God for him just being who he is. Y’all….. These babies are my heart’s desire. I’ve wanted a large family, lots of children, multiples ever since I was a young child. And, even through difficulty, heartbreak, and time God proved to be and do just what he said that he would.

Although they weren’t planned or expected, these kiddos definitely weren’t random; they have been planned for for quite some time.
My brother in law and I were once talking about the sovereignty of God and he said that God moves “at just the right time…..” When giving good gifts or vindicating his children, his timing is perfect. It definitely doesn’t always seem that way, but when we have faith that God is good and that  all things work together for our good, how can we not have faith in God’s timing?

A provider. A comforter. A giver of good gifts. Kind. A hiding place. A source of strength. GOOD. Faithful. Loving. Patient. Ever present. Giver of peace.

With infertility, the ups and downs of that life literally steal the ability to live in excitement and expectation of anything but serious disappointment following a great upswing.

I know a lot of you are struggling with loss and heartache. I know how the roller coaster’s up’s get shorter and shorter while the downs  increasingly deepen. I know that you’re numbing. Crying. Hardening. You may be closing yourself off or self medicating in various ways to keep yourself going. I appreciate each of your emails and comments, I hope you believe that you don’t have to isolate. You aren’t broken. You aren’t any of the foolish things that the enemy tries to convince you that you are – alone being number one. 

Y’all we never lose the label of “infertile”. We can never fully get over the losses. We are forever a part of a group of women who are burdened deeply. But, at just the right time, God will give you a peace that you never thought possible. He will comfort you and give you an understanding of who He is and the purpose of your journey that makes it all worth it. We can walk and talk through all of it together.

Keep emailing. Keep talking about it. Continue building relationships!
Surround yourself with people who have been there,who know, who are in one way or another on the other side of this difficult battle. Who are supportive. It’s great to know you aren’t alone, but there’s a comfort that comes with feeling a part, understood, and supported.

Keep hoping. Keep waiting. Keep trusting.
Learn to accept and love the process – not because you will one day receive the desires of your heart, but because there is a benefit in what you’re going through. Because there is a God who you have the opportunity to get to know intimately. Because the struggle is for your good!

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