loving fearlessly

29 weeks there. Picture on the left taken on Sunday, picture on the right taken on Saturday. Proof that angles + color choices matter. (& no I have no issues with my size. Just pointing out the obvious!)

30 weeks here. I could literally be pregnant forever. I honestly can’t wait to snuggle her chocolate cheeks, but am not quite ready to wrangle 3. I’ve heard that after 2, adding more isn’t really a big deal. I also heard that year 3 was worse than 2, but that hasn’t held true at all. So, so much for that.

At 30w, I’m feeling good, looking good, & enjoying this pregnancy. Still avoiding the issues I had during my pregnancy with the twins, thankfully. Pregnancy absent of swelling, major inconsistence, pain, sugar cravings, & exhaustion has made this pregnancy a lot easier. I’m taking my supplements daily + am so thankful! I did have some minor swelling a couple of days last week, but I was also on my feet a lot more and hadn’t drank as much water as I usually do. But, compared to the girls’, this is incredible.

There is a quote that says “Relationships teach us how to love & love better.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 teaches us that: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails……..”

Loving that way is the only way relationships are maintained…….. even while creating + maintaining boundaries. A relationship between two people who are constantly sinning towards each other by intentionally or unintentionally offending is hard. And, can easily get to the point of unbearable.

Over the past few days I’ve been hurt-ing out of exhaustion. Being tired mentally + emotionally…. tired of carrying all the things. The load gets heavy & those silent tears fall on the days you just can’t & your baby sees you + says “Mama, you cying? You ok? I wipe it.” Which put the biggest smile on my face + at the same time reminded me that all the things I’m carrying just or not, right or not is for them. Doesn’t make it easier, don’t make the load lighter but it gives a little bit of perspective. Also the fact that Jesus is not only watching & my struggles matter to him, but he is walking with me, strengthening me, & offering to carry my load.

It also reminds me that so much of who these girls are & will be comes from lessons that are caught and not nearly as much as are taught. They mimic my facial expressions (Lord help them), they repeat the most random things you say, they imitate how I worship in the car, they know how to do so much because they watch what it constantly done in front of them on a day to day basis. For much of their lives, they have been visual learners and they’re little copy cats. They copy each other & they absolutely copy their mama + their daddy. (Lawd help! Lol)

Over the weekend, the Lord dropped a thought in my lap that I had to deal with. This thought made me recognize that yes, while relationships are naturally hard because we are sinners, they’re made to harder because we do not (ahem, I do not) copy our Father.

The thought:If two people claim to love the same God, why can’t they get along?

How is it that we can love & worship & desire to be like a God of unity & reconciliation who is patient, enduring, forgiving, gracious, kind, fiercely protective of us, always encouraging, always giving second chances, always has a posture of ‘come on back’, who never leaves us, & whose presence brings out more of his qualities in us………. but constantly be at odds? Why aren’t we copying our father?

Now, understand that I’m a firm believer in boundaries & maintaining mentally, physically, & emotionally safe spaces. So, aside from the extremes………….. why?

I don’t know what the actual answer is. lol. As I believe that our answers vary because we all struggle with different things. I believe that a person can exacerbate & trigger certain behaviors, while others can much more easily handle those same issues that won’t cause as much friction.

But, at the end of the day, our selfishness, our desire to have our own way, our fear & disbelief that the Lord really won’t win the battles of spiritual warfare, our hardened hearts, our unforgiveness, our arrogance, refusal to grow & mature, to listen, to change, to give up ground, to be considerate………. the waiting game of “you go first”, being tired of….., always having to be right, not doing our parts, not operating in our roles, not turning away from sin, & not being loving or respectful kills opportunity for unity exist. Kills the desire to be one. Totally disrupts the healing + reconciliation process. Relationships are hard.

… and then we hurt. And, we heal. We learn. We grow. We become better. But, because we are sinners engaging with other sinners, the threat of brokenness and hurt is always present. And, where there is a threat there is fear.

1John 4:7-21 is hard to swallow.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Thankfully we serve a God who is who + what he says he is. He is love. He is the perfect example of 1 Corinthians. He is that example moment by moment and if we are truly abiding in him, how he is showing us to treat others should be caught, right? He is the example of patience and endurance – we see it in our own lives. His love for us is faithful and never fails. That kind of love takes on a lot, it keeps giving, it keeps holding on, it closes its eyes and takes a deep breath & says “Okay. That wasn’t it. Try again.” It doesn’t wear thin or roll its eyes. And, God says if you don’t (vs can’t!) love like that, you cannot love me. But, if you love me, you can absolutely love that hardhead, selfish, stubborn, never wrong, petty, struggling with all the issues, and can’t get right person over there…………… because I loved you & you’ve been and are that, too. With a perfect love. That constantly welcomes you back. Constantly forgives everything everytime. The best part? HE is the reason our relationship with him is in tact, yet WE are constantly offending & sinning against him. ugh. Eye roll.

He expects us to catch these lessons. To learn when we are taught, when we read, when study. He expects us to look like him. To sound like him. To do what he does. To be his copy cats. To be salt & light, not only in the world but in our relationships with each other as Christians. To cover a multitude of sins. We should be different. Our relationships should have more depth, greater longevity, more joy, more compassion. They should be safe places. Each of them. Not just the ones that are easy. Not the one that we will have when the right person “who gets us” comes along. Not the relationship that will work out when they get themselves together………… When we have the posture of Christ that says “You mess up, I’m here. You get it right, I’m here. I will make sure our relationship remains in tact…. and, if you choose to go, you are free to go. But if you ever want to come back, I am here with open arms, ready to reconcile & continue to love.” I believe that’s what made the prodigal son so thankful. He realized that he could return & that he would be met with Love. (And, I’m sure boundaries & natural consequences – I mean….. no more inheritance. Ouch.)

I had to take a break from the conviction of all I just wrote….. lawd. They’re cute, right?!

I do not relate like that at all. It’s become more and more difficult for me to love in that way over the past few years, but that doesn’t change the standard, expectation, or truth. I’d dare to say it’s a faith issue, believing that God will work it all out for my good when I am so vulnerable. goaling to be a woman worth copying, one my girls want & strive to be like.

These girls are my joy and I’m so thankful the Lord blessed me with them. They are so happy and love so well. But, I truly want them to love each other (& their sisters) like Christ loves them as they go through life. And, I want them to relate well. To be encouragers + to see the best in each other and others. So I have to give them something to copy. Not only when it’s easy, but especially when it’s hard.

Heavy thoughts.

Deep conviction.

Lots of work.

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..the best

We’re bumping right along, knocking on 3rd trimester’s door……….

Completely shocked. Unprepared. Confused. Startled.
Yet……
Full of anticipation. Excited. Impatient.

I’m literally flooded with disbelief that in a few short months, there will be another little person in our world, in our home, & who we are completely taken by and wrapped around her tiny, little finger. Even if we aren’t ready for her! LOL! Not sure if this is a third child thing or vet mama move, but the poor child has nothing but a onesie + a pair of pants……. and, a sista ain’t worried! Lol. We have a pack and play + stroller, so aside from a couple other needs – there’s nothing to worry about, right?! I can’t believe the time has flown by so quickly. It almost feels unreal that “the time” has nearly snuck up on us the way it has.

Thankfully, I’m feeling so good and doing pretty well.

And, if you know me, you know what I’m attributing that to! Plant based supplements, y’all. Small differences a couple times a day that have kept me from swelling like I did during my first pregnancy… my blood pressure is perfect… I’ve only gained 12 lbs and my days aren’t colored with “pleasure” eating or cravings! I drink my water. Eat my fruit. Have 3 meals a day. I may have a cupcake or something sweet once a week. There have been times I was eating out multiple times a week due to poor meal planning or rushing in the morning, but overall….. we’re doing well! I’m not crunchy, don’t eat majority organic, or anything like that – I just understand that eating well, drinking water, and balancing my body is incredibly important and I prioritize it! …and, the baby is growing super well and is incredibly active!! … but, not gonna lie. Mama isn’t. We haven’t seen the inside of a gym since I was a couple months pregnant with the girls! Haven’t ran since…… they were one, maaaaybe two. But, no bets, k?! 

The girls are doing so very, very well! Growing so very fast… I’m definitely enjoying their vocab and personality burst! So much is seemingly coming out of nowhere and being able to watch it from the front row of their little lives is such a gift.

Their conversations are hilarious:
Lo: Wyann, come ‘ere…. Wyann… Whyann…
Rhyann: (with a sigh) Yes, YoYo……

There’s a lot of:
“Like this… like this, Wyann!!”
“oh! Did you hear dat?”
“I want yogurt!”
“I tickle you!!”
“Wyann… Wyann… where are you?”
“I want lisstick” (with a pucker)

Lots of singing. Lots of fighting. Lots of hugging and playing so very well together. Lots of bedtime struggles and dressing a still sleeping babe because they played and chatted way into the night…. or until Logan falls asleep!

Me: “Rhyann, why are you out of bed?”
Rhyann: “YoYo is seeping.”
Me: “Okay, but why aren’t you in your room??”
Rhy: (90% of the time a “look” and hands slapped on her thighs “YoYo seeping!!”
***Then she cimbs in my bed and knocks out 3 minutes later***

I still cannot believe I’m about to be a mama of three little girls. Sometimes that thought thrills me, other times it is pretty daunting. The realities + uncertainties of life can be hard…. even after struggling with termination and believing I made the right choice, I still wonder what the heck this life is going to look like….. While having no idea what I’d be doing right now if I wasn’t pregnant. lol. Would I be this motivated? Would I be this trusting of an unknown plan? Would the things that are happening for writing and  speaking opportunities be present?

Isn’t that funny.. that the very things you never thought you wanted could be the very things you need?
I can’t imagine.

but… but… but……. what I do know  and rest on is that God is so good. Good in a never makes a mistake, never stops loving us, never is impatient, never wants to throw in the towel kind of good. Nothing slips through the cracks, nothing is missed. Nothing. So, he can be trusted. And, because he can be fully and completely trusted, I don’t need to be afraid or worried. I just need to snuggle up really close to him, abide in him, and listen. Listen to his whispers, to the nudges I get, and obey. I’ve been really focused on doing what the Holy Spirit whispers for me to.. acting on those “ideas”, those urges, and the best things have come out of them. Whether it’s immediately saving time or being able to help someone – I see the goodness and benefit of following closely behind our God and doing my best to be flexible enough, teachable enough to become the woman he had in mind when he imagined and formed me in my mama’s belly.

Praise the Lord; Praise God our Savior!
For each day he carries us in his arms. 
Psalm 68:19 (NLT)

Praise the Lord; Praise God our savior!
who daily bears our burdens!
Psalm 68:19 (NIV)


***** I mean… they’re both good… how do you choose just one?! ****

Of course I goal to be the best mama to these girls that I could ever be. The best listener. The most patient. The most timely and organized. The best homemaker. The best cook and snack preparer. The best braider and outfit coordinator……..

But, I know I will [ahem, do] fail daily. I know that the “best” is only the one who operates in their strengths, respects their weaknesses, asks for forgiveness, snuggles well, gives full attention, shares lisstick, and kisses + hugs often.

The best I can be isn’t perfect…
It’s loving. kind. affirming. silly. patient.
It’s present.

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…. single motherhood

I posted this photo and a short run down who I am and why I do the things that I do in a Facebook group a couple weeks ago, and I felt even more moved to do and share a bit that has been on my heart lately.  

(And, this is totally not a Valentine’s Day post! Lol.)

Of course with a nudge to be vulnerable, can come thoughts of judgement and “who do you think you are?”, “no one cares”, “they’ve heard enough”, and more. But, I’ve learned to take certain thoughts captive and lay them at the feet of my Heavenly Father believing that what he’s given me is purposeful. I’ve also realized that those questions are almost meant to cause you to second guess yourself, but when you know that you are valuable and were created with intention, you can answer those same questions boldly & empower yourself bh speaking life! Respond with exactly who you are + why your voice, your service, your heart, and perspective are needed………. by someone. Whether everyone agrees or not. There is a reason you endured that season & like Psalm 34:3 says “Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness and exalt his name together.” Sharing reminds you of whose you are and gives you (and others) a reason to worship! So, yes…. your story matters!

But, I wanted to address the struggles of the single mama and let her know that she isn’t alone. 

Now. As a second disclaimer….. I don’t think single moms are any better than married or coupled mamas. We all wipe booties and have kids sitting in our laps while we poop. But, the difference is that we’re loaded with the work of two but with the same 24 hours and in some cases, less “time” to do those jobs………. and, yes, family dynamics vary which affects every mama’s experience, but at the end of the day one is less than two. Whew. That’s done. 

Less discipline. Less support. Less backup. Less help. Less margin in the budget. Fewer experiences. Less downtime. Less tidy-ness.  More guilt. More pressure. Less time. LESS.

And, mama, I know you’re tired. We all are. I literally turned off the lights in the living room and dining area & just came to my room. There’s laundry on the couch, the kids’ puzzles are on the floor, but house will wait. Because, right now, mama needs to rest and that comes first.  Wellness is my number one priority right now. I’ve come to be okay with being tired & wanting to do nothing but crawl into bed at 9:30p and go. to. sleep. It seems like we pride ourselves on being “so busy” and “exhausted”. But, who really benefits that?
And, there are days questions of inadequacy and doubt can be overwhelming; literally second guessing every aspect of my parenting and abilities. Am I disciplining them enough? Can I actually build a successful, sustainable business AND work 40hrs a week AND parent well AND keep my house organized and together? Can I take another hand hitting me on my thigh asking for something for another hour until bedtime?? …… because how can I possibly be doing a good job at this?!

When I first split from my ex husband, I used to stress so much about the house looking so perfect, my kids behaving a certain way, and things looking like I had it together. I wanted to be the divorcee/single mama who bounced back and did it well.  As if we never missed a beat…….. In reality I was sleep deprived, resentful of the things I had to do to take care of my kids, and tried to do it all everyday. That got old so quickly and I’ve learned that it is okay to not always have everything together. I was fighting so many stigmas and perceptions and wanted to beat it. I didn’t want to look like my circumstances. I wanted to …… focus on myself in a selfish way. Everything was about what I wanted and what I needed and how all of these things are keeping me from doing this, and I was blind to the gift I had. 

Having to do it all yourself (most days) sucks. It’s not the plan (I believe) the Lord had for families and there are real consequences for that. No qualms about it, it’s hard. and I wouldn’t say that it’s a “gift” in itself. What comes out of it is the blessing. Which I’ll be writing more and more about in the coming weeks……

But, know……. that if you’re a single mama or in the process of becoming one, and you are struggling with the moment to moment and daily demands of your family, kids, home, and your own wellness know that you can make it. And, learn to enjoy the time you have with your babies and rest the days you don’t. 

It’s not easy, but the Lord is El Roi….. he sees you and has gone before you to work what is, what has been, and what will be for your good and his glory!!

…… he’s even been at the struggle of bedtime and kids getting out of bed 8 times! In those moments he’s offering you the patience and endurance you need to nurture & console your baby + be consistent with putting them back in their own beds. 

He’s offering you the beautiful opportunity to lean into him & trust him. He cares about what concerns you …. which includes ruining them for life after you’ve given up and just allowed them to sleep with you. What I’ve learned and accepted is the fact that I do love much more than I fuss, that I’m patient much more than I lose it, that I love my kids deeply & tell him multiple times a day. Rhyann and Logan are happy…. they are carefree, generous with hugs and kisses, laugh and play loudly everyday, all day and that has to mean something, right?!  

They’re happy and so is their mama. Even with the stress + frustrations of work, having very little downtime, and juggling so many things…….. even though life can be pretty uncomfortable at times, there’s so.much.good happening at the same time. It’s hard not  to be anything but hopeful & grateful, & just pleased. Paul said he knew what it was to live with plenty and to be in need…. he learned to be content in both situations because he can do all things through Christ. 

So that’s pretty much where I am right now. Feeling incredibly well mentally,  emotionally, & physically. I am still taking my plant based supplements which has caused this pregnancy to be completely different than the twins’ pregnancy. Between being regular (praise God!) and not having to deal with constipation and just being uncomfortable, my cravings are controlled, I have sustained energy throughout the day & my body naturally slows & gets tired at about 9p. Lady go round, my feet swelled horribly and after seeing the start of that last week, added another supplement and haven’t had a swollen foot since! These products have been a major difference maker & I’m glad that I’m still able to take them while I’m growing a healthy baby!! Such a gift!

Mama. I’m with you. I get it. And, doing it solo or not….. this parenting gig is hard, but so worth it!!! Do your best and go easy on yourself ……………. the kids will be alright!

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