Friday, February 9, 2018

The redemption of my story as a mom . . .

This blog post has been stirring in my heart the past 6 months. I haven't had the words to articulate exactly what it is I want to say. But this morning, while chatting with some good friends, they helped put to words part of my testimony that is still being written and encouraged me to write this post. So here it goes:

With the birth of our 3rd born 9 months ago, not only did I physically give birth, but a spiritual birth happened as well. God has and is redeeming my story as a mom.

Fact: I did not like being a mom most days prior to Baby #3. With 2 littles, I struggled with anger. So many days would include frustration, shouting, and angry demands of my two sweet little girls. It shames me to think of how angry I would get, especially with my first born. She did not like sleep, and most of my selfish expectations and frustration revolved around that. Along with that, I struggled with feeling trapped and without a purpose as a stay at home mom, which seemed to result in built up aggression towards my children.

With the surprise of finding out we were expecting baby #3, I really, really struggled. If I couldn't handle 2 children, how would I manage 3?!?  I felt myself spiral downward into a dark hole. Depression is real, and something I have watched close loved ones struggle with. I never thought it would strike me. But it did, and hard. My husband and parents grew concerned about me and encouraged me to reach out for help.

I reached out to a lady at my church who had a similar story. She encouraged me in an honest and raw way. I am also so thankful for the friends in my life, especially over that time, who surrounded me with love and LOTS of prayer. I had people checking in on me, wonderful parents who took my girls to give me breaks, and a hubby who didn't stop loving me despite my change in mood and behavior.

Weeks prior to Baby #3's birth, my friends gathered together and prayed for me. They spoke words of life and encouragement to me, and also gave me specific scriptures and God given words to hang on to over the weeks to come.

Having had 2 long and hard labors with my girls, baby #3's labor seemed easy. So easy that right after baby popped out, I told hubby, "I could do that again!" Haha! ((That remains to be determined))

With the birth of Justus Alexander, I feel like the Lord has and is redeeming so much of what I have lost in the previous years of being a mother, even down to my labor. He's given me a second chance. 

In chatting with my friend this morning, she commented on how patient I am as a mother. I almost laughed at this! Lack of patience with my girls was one of the key triggers of my anger previously. But since baby #3's birth, the Lord has graced me a huge dose of patience, something that I KNOW is God breathed because it is not in my nature to be patient. 

I'm also learning to  l e t   g o! Let the kids make a mess, let their clothes get muddy and maybe even ripped (gasp!), let myself have fun with them doing silly things, let the house be dirty to spend more time playing instead of always cleaning (BIG one for me!). For me it's a daily reminder to let go of my need for control and perfection (SO HARD!).

When we found out we were expecting baby #3, I cried, feeling so overwhelmed (3 kids, age 3 and under?!?!!). I went out onto our patio with my journal and cried out to the Lord. I felt the Lord say so clearly "my Grace is sufficient". I have CLUNG to those words, and they have proven true. 

I am a messy work in progress! Clinging to God, his grace and his truth, has birthed JOY in me. I can JOYFULLY say, I love being a mama. Are there still hard days? YES. Are there still days when I yell? YES. But GOD and his wonderful, forgiving grace has removed the anger and made me so aware of the huge purpose and responsibility of raising these little ones. 

My story is still being written, but this is part of it. I wrote all this in hopes to encourage maybe just one mama who may struggle with some of what I did/do. Let me say, we cannot rely on our own strength. Let the Lord be your strength and guide, and his grace will carry you!

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Psalm 28:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

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