Why Free-Spirits Are Naturally Terrible Homemakers

free spirit homemaker

Some women are “naturally” good homemakers. They are innately organized, tidy, and clean. So there are never crumbs on the kitchen counter, or dishes left in the sink overnight. They have this God-given desire to bring order to chaos, to actually wash clothes according to their instruction labels, and to arrive to places on time.

This type of woman is put-together, goal-oriented, and methodical. Which means, her home actually looks like the Pinterest paradise you dream about. (And she probably created some of those pins, too.)

If you’re like me, maybe you’ve wondered, “How does she do it?”

I don’t think a woman like that just morphs into “Martha Stewart” overnight. Something within her causes her to be this way. And she probably has had a “Type A”, or “perfectionist” personality her whole life. (And I don’t mean that as a bad thing. At all.)

If you could peak inside her desk, way back when she was in 4th grade, I gaurantee the books and notebooks would be neatly stacked, her folders in order, and all her pencils, perfectly sharpened in her pencil pouch. Everything would be in it’s place—just like her home is today.

I am not a perfectionist. Sometimes, I really wish I was.

Because if you could peak inside my desk in 4th grade, here are some things you would find: pencil shavings, bits of broken eraser that I stabbed to death, a 1996 Women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnast team folder (which I colored all their eyes out with my blue pen), and a dirty sock.  (The sock, I found in my sweatshirt sleeve during class, and carefully inched it into my desk without my teacher noticing. Don’t ask me how it got in there.)

So you can imagine, now as an adult, how my house would look.

If you stopped for a surprise visit, you might see toys strewn about the living room, dishes piled up in the sink, and all of our underwear on the bathroom floor. And if you tried to microwave something, I would probably try to physically “block” you–because I wouldn’t want you to see the lasagna that was massacred in there, all over the walls.

And who knows what else you’d find? I may even have a dirty sock up my sleeve.

After six years of being married, I have realized why I struggle with homemaking so much. And it’s not because I’m lazy.

It’s because I’m a free-spirit.

And something within me causes me to be this way.

I love to be captivated by beauty, to follow my heart. And I would rather have my soul in order, than my pantry. I do everything very slowly, and I know the art of enjoying beautiful moments. Some feel too sacred to be interrupted by dishes or laundry.

What Is A Free-Spirit?

You don’t need to wear hippie clothes, or flowers in your hair to be a free-spirit. Because being a free-spirit isn’t something you wear—it’s something you are.

Deep inside of you.

And God made you this way. For His glory.

The free-spirit is just that, free. She is not calculated, or methodical—she is spontaneous. She searches for adventure, and meaning, and beauty in everything she does. She feels emotions very deeply, and enjoys the art of expressing herself through words, or pictures, or music. She tends to be artistic by nature, and is easily captivated by beauty. She is relational, and deep, and intimate.

And because of these things, free-spirits are naturally terrible homemakers.

Because homemaking requires some level of organization, order, and routine–all things a “free-spirit” is resistant to. It goes against their “spontaneity.” It takes planning to grocery shop, to make meals, to have some kind of rhythm for keeping the laundry going. It takes discipline to wash the dishes, and clean out the fridge. And sometimes just scrubbing the kitchen floor doesn’t sound that meaningful or important. Or fun.

But about a year ago, I realized something needed to change in our house. I knew that because of my free-spirit nature, I struggled with homemaking, but I had to believe it was possible to improve my skills. After all, my husband needed healthy meals, on-time for dinner, and not burned because I was reading “The Hunger Games.” He needed his clothes to smell good, and not left in the washer too long, because I lost track of time writing. And my daughter needed clean Sippie cups. And some structure we could build our week around.

It was just a matter of the value I placed on it. And I needed to place more. A lot more.

It wasn’t about placing more value on my home, it was about placing more value on the people in my home.

I started thinking, “If I spend all my time doing what I enjoy, instead of making my home enjoyable for others, or enabling them to do what they enjoy, am I really “considering others better than myself?” And if I love my passions, more than I love the people in my own home, am I really walking in love?”

Introducing “The Free Spirit Homemaker Series”

I should be the last person to write about homemaking. But God has had such grace on me in my many homemaking “weaknesses.” (And so has my husband!) And though I’m a big work in progress, I’ve learned a lot about my home, my husband, and my heart when it comes to making my home, actually feel like a home.

So, for the month of September, I’m doing a series called, “The Free Spirit Homemaker: How To Maintain Your Home, Without Losing Your Soul.” It’s a series of posts about some really simple homemaking skills that have begun to transform the atmosphere of my home. For the better.

I have some incredible friends who have taught me some great insights, (Polly and Rachel from Thriving Home, and Jeanne Harrison from Loving My Lot). They will be sharing some really valuable and practical advice (you can actually do) like:

  • How To Create A Schedule (Or Rhythm) For Your Day or Week
  • How To Meal Plan and Make A Grocery List (Not scribbled on a napkin)
  • How To Make (Healthy and Easy) Freezer Meals (And Save LOTS of Time and Money)
  • How To Manage Your Time For The Glory of God (And Keep Your Goals And Dreams Alive)
  • How To Find Out What Blesses Your Husband Most (It may not be what you think!)
  • How Your Attitude Affects Everyone In the House

Such grace awaits you here! And I will be sharing some of my own homemaking “fails” and lessons learned (the hard way). I’m so excited for some of these guest posts, because I know how helpful they have been in my own home. It’s amazing that learning some of these “methods” has actually helped me spend less time in the kitchen, and less time grocery shopping, and given me more time for spontaneous adventures and beautiful moments, as they come.

Whether you are a “free-spirit,” or a stay-at-home-mom, a new wife, or just someone who wants to take an honest look at how well you are “loving” your family in the area of homemaking—I really hope you can join in on this.

Because when homemaking becomes simply an act of love, and nothing more, for the purpose of blessing and ministering to the people God has given us, it suddenly becomes, something beautiful.

And free.

 


Don’t miss the upcoming series, “The Free-Spirit Homemaker: How To Maintain Your Home Without Losing Your Soul.” Just “Follow” my blog by entering your email in the top right side of my blog, and never miss a post. Or, you can simply “Like” my Barren to Beautiful Facebook Page, and new posts will automatically appear in your newsfeed!

The Zombie Mommy In The Mirror

scared woman
Last night, when I saw my reflection in the mirror, it actually startled me. My daughter was simply brushing her teeth, and I was helping her steer her toothbrush into her mouth and away from the nasty drain (where she likes to put it). And when I glanced up into the mirror, I jumped. Because this woman with black mascara and eye-liner drooped about half an inch lower than where it should be, and looking much like a zombie, was staring back at me. “Whoa!” I exclaimed, and quickly grabbed a tissue and wiped off the melting mascara that had somehow turned me Zombie Mommy by night fall.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised I hadn’t scared anyone else in the house with my horrifying looks. You’d think as I was coaxing my two year old daughter, with my arms wide out to, “Come here!” she would have shrieked with panic and hidden under her bed or something.

But she didn’t.

You see, before I saw “Zombie Mommy” in the mirror that night, we were actually having a lot of fun. And I was doing something I don’t do nearly enough–I was playing with her. Not like, “Oh, that’s cute honey,” while I distractedly went through my facebook newsfeed. But I actually put my phone and iPad away, and was fully hers. We were in the living room playing what she was calling “the boat game.” (One of my childhood favorites.) It’s where you take the couch cushions and make them a giant raft on the floor, and then the big storm comes, and you save each other from the sharks, and rescue each other from drowning in the “water,” and you scream the whole time. (I highly recommend it.)

And while this was going on, and we were shrieking and saving each other and rolling around on the floor–I had no idea my hair was a wreck and my eyeliner had smeared below my eyes, and that I looked like a zombie. I just knew I was having fun, and so was she, and in that moment, that’s all that mattered.

The great thing about being Zombie Mommy is that before you look in the mirror and see a zombie staring back at you, you are usually having a fantastic time.

I fully agree with John Piper who says, “The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.” (pg. 33, Don’t Waste Your Life) You wouldn’t take someone to the Alps and lock them in a room full of mirrors. Because the greatest joy doesn’t come from seeing how great you look, it comes from gazing on a majesty that is greater, and more powerful, and more glorious than yours.

toddler play

And in motherhood there is something greater than the Alps right in your living room. There is this glory right in front of you, staring back in the eyes of a little boy or girl who very much bears the image of God.  And His glory.

But sometimes we miss it.

I wish I could say I don’t care what I look like. But I still do. And while I’ve come a long way from the girl who used to check her make-up during 8th grade Social Studies class, and reapply my lip glass and Champagne eyeshadow (anyone else?) during study hall–I still care very much about that girl in the mirror. And she sometimes the girl in the mirror takes me away from the little girl in the room that is waiting for me, and longing for me, and crying for me to come and play ” the boat game.”

Though I don’t want to totally “let myself go,” I have to say, sometimes I really admire Zombie Mommy. Because, there is a reason she looks like a zombie, and no matter how “ugly” she looks, there is usually a very beautiful reason behind it.

And to the mom who looks like a zombie tonight–you are exactly where you need to be. Every time you nurse your baby, or change a diaper, or fall asleep in the glider–you are being a living and breathing example of love. And while you don’t need to feel guilty if you do find time to primp, you don’t need to feel bad about the times you don’t. Because those times you don’t, and you are blissfully unaware that your mascara is down to your cheek bones and your hair looks like Medusa–are actually some of your most shining moments, in your kids eyes. They won’t remember if you had your make up on, or your hair was straightened, or if it was in a giant messy bun–but they will remember that you made them feel loved. They will remember the time you rolled around on the floor and played “the boat game,” or any game at all. They will remember your laughter, they will remember your joy, and the way your eyes shone when you looked into theirs. And they will remember always, your arms open out wide to embrace them, and hold them close.

And as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t make you a zombie. It actually makes you quite beautiful.

 

To The One Feeling Major Anxiety With The Start Of The School Year

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When I was a kid, I used to be terrified the night before school started. So much, that I couldn’t sleep.  So much that one year, my little sister and I decided to get out of bed and do jumping jacks–just to make us tired enough to sleep. (Of course we got in big trouble when my parents heard “thumping” coming from our second story bedroom. And soon, we were back to laying in our beds, just staring into the darkness, and praying for the apocalypse to come before morning.)

I’m no longer praying for the apocalyspe, but “Back to School” season still brings me some major anxiety, even though I’m no longer a student, or a teacher. But just because the season is changing.

The other night we were driving home when I felt my stomach starting to twist into knots. I just felt…anxious. And I couldn’t connect it with any one thing. It was just everything. “Everything is making me feel anxious,” I told my husband. I couldn’t find the words, it was just…anxiety that slithered in like python, and was beginning to wrap around me.

I started to think about the start of the school year. And about the way our schedule will change. The new responsibilities I will be taking on. The goals I have. The expectations, and mounting pressure to, “Do more, and be more.”

And I don’t know if you ever feel this…anxiety.

But I do.

And I think it’s the same thing I’ve been wrestling since elementary school, when I was afraid I wouldn’t have someone to sit with at lunch, or I wouldn’t know the answer, or I wouldn’t be good enough for the team.

And the thing I fear is: Inadequacy.

My inadaquacy.

The fear of not being able. Of being insufficient. “Not enough.” Or too weak to follow through with my goals. The fear of not meeting expectations. The fear of failing. Of not performing well enough.

And as I thought about the year ahead, I just felt so sure I would drown in it.

“You will never be good enough. No matter how hard you try, you will always fail.” 

I  felt like I already failed—and I hadn’t even started yet.

“I’ll never have enough time to accomplish what I need to do. I’ll by flying by the seat of my pants as always. I’ll be stressed out. I’ll never have the energy. I will always do a mediocre job at everything I do.”

I felt defeated—and I hadn’t even tried yet.

And then came the worst voice of all, “What are you so worried about? It’s not like you’re even doing anything. People do tons more than you every day, and you don’t hear them moaning about it! Just suck it up!”

If you have ever heard a voice like this, or had a thought like this, I want to tell you right now: this is not from your Abba Father.

This is from the enemy of your soul.

And you want to know something? He wants to destroy you.

Because no matter what your “job” is, no matter if you get paid the big bucks, or none; no matter if you are teaching, or homeschooling, or just walking your child to the bus; no matter if you have six kids, or one; no matter if you have lots of supervisors to report to, or you are self-employed—you may be hearing these whispers, too.

They come from a deep and dark place, and they are the voice of the enemy. And they just keep whispering, “Inadequacy, inadequacy, inadequacy.”

Direct Your Deeds To The Lord

The morning I was wrestling those whispers, and my stomach was churning with anxiety, I happened to read Hosea 5:4, “They do not direct their deeds toward turningto their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the Lord.”

What pierced me, was that God says,“They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God’… ‘And they do not know the Lord.” I looked down at my list of “to-do’s” and realized something BIG: I was not directing my deeds to the Lord.

And that’s why insurmountable stress was building. I was taking on goals, and responsibilities, and jobs myself—and not directing those “deeds” to the Lord. I was not even asking Him for help.

I completely believe that God wants us to call on Him during even the most minor tasks. So yes, call on His strength when you are scrubbing the toilet, ask for His patience while your internet is being slow, ask for His love when your husband desperately needs a back massage and you are tired as a dog. Because…

This life was never meant to be lived apart from the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

And we desperately need Him to invade every single area of lives with His grace. And something happens when you call on Him—He comes. He gives you the strength. He brings you the peace. He fills you with the joy.

When Anxiety Meets His All-Suffiency 

I know the voices that rise against you, because they rise against me, too. And I could try to encourage you by telling you how great you are. How talented. How there is no one like you. But at the end of the day…that doesn’t actually help.

See, God spoke to my anxious heart. And He didn’t encourage me by telling me how great I was, He encouraged me, He empowered me by telling me how great He was.

And as I looked over my scribbled to-do list, and prayed for the strength to do it, God just spoke so simply and softly to my heart. This is what He said:

“My Grace is where your “not enoughness” meets My all-sufficiency.”

My Grace is where your “not enoughness” meets My all-sufficiency.

Dear brothers and sisters, there is so much grace in Jesus Christ. And for the one who feels like you failed, before you’ve even begun this year…To the one who feels defeated, before you’ve even got started, maybe it’s today is the day you lay your insufficiency down at the cross of His all-sufficiency.

It was as if He is shouting,
“Hey! All you insufficient ones! I will make you sufficient!
All you weak ones! I will be your strength!
All you unable ones! I will make you able!
So call to Me! Cry to Me! Because I am going to blow your mind this year!
And you won’t be impressed with what you can do! But you will be in total awe…of what I can do! And at the end of it, you will fall down and weep with joy because with your own eyes you will see and behold Me!” 

God is going to give you everything you need this year.

God is going to give you the energy you need. The financial provisions you need. The mind you need. The motivation you need. The organization you need. The vision you need. The weakness you need. The brokenness you need. The humility you need.

And He is going to give you Himself.

And He will fulfill His purpose for you.

So the pressure is off. And we can send the whispers of anxiety back to the father of lies, where they came from.

Because we have a good, good Father. And as long as we fall on Him, we cannot fail.

His grace is sufficient for us. His power is made perfect in our weakness. And when we are weak, He is even more strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

And God did not entrust you to anything this year that He will not overwhelmingly empower you to do.

So come, indadequate ones and fall on His grace, that beautiful place where your not-enoughness meets His all-sufficiency.

“For He who calls you is faithful, and He will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

All I See Are Blooms

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She’s supposed to be sleeping, but instead, I hear her across the hall. She’s laying in her bed, telling her “knock knock” joke to her stuffed horse. And chattering softly to herself, to her stuffed animals. And to any angels who may be listening in.

I’m sitting on the bed, typing, just to let my soul breathe for a second. Just to inhale this moment. Just to breathe in His grace. And all the love He’s lavished right here in this place. Just to pause for a moment and look around at all He has given me.

Our room is messy, with the clothes we decided not to wear tonight still scattered on the bed, the dresser drawers are pulled out unevenly of the furniture that doesn’t match. Our curtains are ones that I picked up at a yard sale in June.

And I feel like a queen. Not because of anything I’ve done, or accomplished, but because of how great a thing I’ve been given. Because what I have is so good.

And I don’t always see it. The treasure that is my life. The treasure that is my husband, that is my daughter. The treasure that is my God.

But tonight, for these couple minutes of quiet, the blinders are off my eyes. I can see.

And what I see, is so good. Many people who are more successful, more wealthy, more “whatever” could look on me, and see failure. But I don’t care at all what others might see.

I care what He sees. And I care that He sees me, seeing Him. All of Him, and only Him as the One who has blessed me beyond all I could ever ask, or hope, or imagine.

And all of the best things, are coming with me to the next life. All of the best things aren’t the ones that thieves can break in and steal, or moths and rust can destroy. Because Jesus said, that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And my soul is free tonight. For once, even if just for it a little. I can fly. The thing I’ve dreamed of doing all my life.

And if Peter Pan was right about one thing—it was the happy thoughts.

That happy thoughts make you fly.

It’s easy to be weighed down by all the evil, all the horror. I can think even now of the terrible news I read on news feeds tonight. And it’s so easy to let my eyes grow dark with the darkness. To let my heart grow heavy with the sins of the world, and it’s aching groans.

I’ve always had a bent toward sorrow, toward grief. Almost like grief would keep me sober. Grief would keep me ready for anything. It would protect my heart from being naïve. And so, I only listened to sad music, I identified with it. It seemed most real to me. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been more captivated by sorrow, than by joy.

Until now.

Because I feel God wants to open the floodgates of joy. Because joy is more powerful than anyone thinks it is.

Joy is the heartbeat of the other world we were all made for. The world to which we are all waiting, and longing to go. The one where all of our treasures are.

In the movie, “Luther,” there is a monk who says, “All my life, I have lived in a world that has hated evil, more than it’s loved good.”

A world that has hated evil, more than it has loved good.

I know I am guilty as charged. Perhaps many other Christians are as guilty as me. It’s just that the bad things are so…bad. Sometimes I don’t realize that the good things are so…good. Or that the good things are all…from God.

I remember one night several months ago, there was such outrage on Facebook, about a very broken man who was trying to become a woman. And there were photos of him, and there was anger, and perversity, and nasty comments going back and forth. And my heart felt so heavy, over our world, over the confusion, over it all.

But just then, as I was feeling so discouraged, an email from the other side of the world popped up in my inbox that said, “Xavier was born!” He is my nephew, born to my missionary sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Niger, Africa. And when I saw his face, his little tiny newborn face, in the photo attachment—I just cried happy tears because, he was so beautiful. And the news was so good.

He was my happy thought.

And in the week to come, I kept thinking of his little face. I kept feeling I could fly. Just because of him. The joy he was. The evidence of “good.” Of God.

And I began to learn that however large those dark clouds hang, they are not bigger than the light that bursts through these good and perfect gifts from God.
Last spring, I was weeding my flower bed and I felt sure I heard the Lord speak to me. Not in an audible voice, but in my mind. But He said, in an Irish accent, (and I know how crazy this makes me sound) but He said, “Do you hate weeds more than you love flowers?”

And right away, I knew exactly what He meant. “Do you hate weeds, more than you love flowers?”

Do you hate the bad, more than you love the good?

Do the weeds invoke more anger and irritation in you, than the joy of these blooming flowers?

Do you mourn the losses, more than you celebrate the victories?

In this life, there are always going to be weeds. There are always going to be flaws, there are always going to bad things, and people that are not perfect. There are always going to be problems, and trials, and evil. There will always be weeds.

But there will always be flowers, too.

And when I look out on my life, on other’s lives—am I going to see the weeds, or the flowers? And am I going to hate the weeds, more than I love the flowers?

I think God likes flowers. And maybe that’s why He hasn’t “rototilled” us all to pieces by now.

He’s more gracious than I can comprehend. And sometimes, when I read about King David’s life, all I can see is this lying, adulterous, deceitful man, enslaved to sexual addiction, and lust.

All I see are a whole bunch of nasty weeds.

But that isn’t what God sees. God notoriously calls David, “A man after My own heart.” A man who passionately worshipped, and cried out to God from his bed, and who sang with his whole being, and knew his own brokenness, and God’s own goodness and mercy, and trusted in it, all the days of his life. That’s what God sees. The flowers. The beautiful, glorious flowers.

And I want to see how God sees. In my own life, and in other people’s lives. Because I think He sees and appreciates and rejoices in beauty more than anyone thinks He does. And when we join Him in this—we feel His pleasure.

Oh, I want to feel His pleasure!

So I’m going to love the good, more than I hate the evil. I’m going to love the flowers, more than I hate the weeds.

Because flowers are beautiful.

Last night, I fell asleep to my husband playing his guitar and singing in the other room. And there was no sweeter sound in all the world. I just lay in our bed and soak in his voice like the most soothing lullaby I’ve ever heard.

I forget the miracle he is sometimes. I forget the mystery of the way we met. I forget how precious he is. I forget the softness of his voice.

And just to lay and listen, as tears form in my eyes, and love him all the more—just because he’s mine. Just because I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Just because God gave him to me, as a gift. A good and perfect gift. Not because he is perfect, but because He is from God, and that makes him perfect for me.

Right now, Selah is sleeping across the hall. But tonight, when I put her down, I lay with her in her bed and as we lay in the dark, she held my face in her hands and smiled wide at me, looking at me like she was a proud grandma. With her hands still on my cheeks, I said, “Hey Selah, did you know that I always wanted to have a little girl named Selah?” And she just giggled. And after a few minutes I said, “Hey Selah, what do you think is in heaven?” And she said, “Toys.”

And we both laughed with the blankets pulled up to our chins.

She’s two, and the youngest miracle I know. And I don’t know what heaven holds, but when I hear her laugh, when I hear my husband sing, I feel heaven breaking through.

I feel the treasure they are. I feel my heart move into that place where no one can steal my joy away. And I see flowers breaking through the dirt.

And I love flowers because they are beautiful. Even with the weeds, they are beautiful.

And tonight, all I see are blooms.

Three Little Words That Ignite Friendship

friendship

They are just three little words.

But they are hard to say.

And they’re not, “I love you.”

They are more honest than that. They are more desperate than that. They are more powerful than that.

And they are what real friendship is made of.

I heard my little sister say those three little words to me on the phone, as her 8-month-old cried in the background, and my two-year-old spread oatmeal through her hair, and because she said them, and the way she said them, I dropped my plans and met her an hour away at an outlet mall–because I knew she meant them.

I said those three little words last fall, the night I stood at my friend’s door in the pouring rain, frazzled and overwhelmed, because I felt like such a failure as a mom, and she invited me in. And we hugged, and I just cried on her couch. And somehow all my questions and all my fears were answered in her very simple smile. And her gentle nodding, and offering me tissues, and brownies.

And that same friend said those three little words in a text message last week, along with the news that made me bury my face in my hands, and cry for her, and drive to her house with a bouquet of white roses that weren’t enough, but they were all I could think of. And we just sat on her couch, without words, and tried not to cry, while her toddler daughter sat between us and held both of our hands, as if she understood it all perfectly–as if she were the very peace of God.

***

The three little words are not profound, but they are powerful. And when it comes to friendships, they move mountains.

So what are the three little words? They are,

I need you.

“I need you.”

It’s what my sister said on the phone, before we both took off to meet each other at a random “food court” rendezvous point, so we could see each other in person. So we could, even for a couple hours, be the sisters we were as children, the sisters that used to jump on the bed together, and talk late into the night–the sisters we desperately still need to be. And that day, I went to meet her because she needed me. But I drove home, realizing just how much I needed her.

“I need you.”

It’s what I said to my friend when I felt I was losing it as a mom. When I felt I was going to break from all the sleepless nights and crying. When I just needed to know she understood me. That she was for me. And that I wasn’t alone.

“I need you.”

It’s what my friend texted me the morning after a very long and dark night. “I need you…and I need you to pray for me.”

And she said later at her house, “I’m so sorry to drag you through this with me.”

And my heart wrenched because, what she didn’t know, what my flowers couldn’t say, what my words couldn’t express, was just how honored I was to be at her side. Just to walk with her through the valley. Just to sit with her until the dawn. Just to be her friend.

“I need you.”

They are just three simple words, so why are they so hard to say?

Maybe because we don’t want to believe we really need anyone.

Because maybe that makes us needy. Maybe that makes us incapable of doing it ourselves. Maybe that makes us no longer self-sufficient.

But do you know what God calls that kind of do-it-myself-at-all-costs type of self-sufficiency?

Pride.

And pride makes a person very lonely.

It’s not just about having friends. It’s about having friends who you can fail in front of. Who you can be weak in front of. And it’s about giving your friends permission to serve you, when you need it.

We all want to be the stronger friend. We all want to be the advice-giver, not the advice-seeker. We all want to be the one ministering to others. We all want to look like we have it together (and typically hide away, until we do.)

But what if this is actually killing our relationships?

What if this desire to appear stronger, and wiser, and more peaceful than we really are, is actually making us weaker? What if it’s destroying our friendships, not saving them?

The generation we live in is more “self-sufficient” than any generation prior. We don’t really need each other anymore. I don’t need to ask my mom for parenting advice, I can get that online. I don’t need to call my sister for that recipe, I have Pinterest. I don’t need to ask my friend how she overcame a difficult season, I can just Google it.

It’s easier than ever before to become isolated.

But something beautiful happens when we need each other. And we’re not afraid to admit it.

Maybe the people closest to you don’t really know, how much you need them. Maybe they don’t realize how much they need you. But realizing we need one another, is the beginning of something; it’s the beginning of friendship.

So I’m going to dare you to tell them, to say those three little words:

“I need you.”

I don’t know who needs to hear it, but I guarantee someone does.

Maybe you need to say it to the friend you can’t imagine life without. The one who wipes your daughter’s runny nose without being asked. The one who broke a sweat putting your car seat into her car, just so you could ride together. The one who reminds you—you aren’t alone.

Maybe you need to say it to your sister, who you used to be so close with, and somehow have grown apart over the years. Maybe she feels you’re too busy with your own world, to enter hers. Maybe she doesn’t know that no one else in the universe can take her place, or make you feel like a kid again the way she does, or laugh the way she makes you laugh.

Maybe you need to say it to your mom, who feels you are too grown up for her now, or that you are too modern for her now, and that you don’t need her 80’s and 90’s advice–because you know better, when really you don’t. Because everyone needs a mom, no matter how much they deny it. And maybe she hasn’t felt needed by you for a very long time, not since putting on your diapers, and packing your lunches, and helping you pick out your prom dress–and she needs to hear you say those three little words that transform you back into the child she used to hold on her hip, the one one that used to lay her head on her chest when you were scared. You know you spent half your childhood calling out for her, even in the night, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” And maybe…she just longs to hear you say it again, “Mom, I need you.

And maybe you need to say it to your husband, who feels estranged from you, even in your own bed. Who lives in your house, but feels a million miles away some nights. Because you’ve gotten good at serving him, but you’ve forgotten how to be his friend. And maybe he just needs you to lay on the couch and watch a football game with him, or to watch a movie (he picked out) together, or to stay up late and play a game of cards at the kitchen table. Maybe you’ve forgotten how to laugh together, how to have fun. And you’ve forgotten, he didn’t marry you to do his chores, or to oversee his schedule, he married you to be his wife. To be his friend. And just like everyone else, he waits to be needed. So maybe tonight you need to roll to the middle of your bed and whisper those three little words, “I need you.”

Oh weary soul, where are your friends? Perhaps they are all in waiting, waiting to be needed by you. Waiting to hear, those three little words, “I need you.” And if you can say them, and mean them, I think you will find a beautiful exchange of grace waiting for you there–in this place called “friendship.”

“For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:8) And when the door opens, I bet it will open faster, and stronger, and wider than you ever imagined. And when it does, and you’re just standing there on the porch, all you have to say, is three little words,

“I need you.”

 

Does Infertility Affect Friendships?

friendship

“So…do you guys think you might, I mean, someday, ever want to have kids?” My friend asks me as we play with her toddler on the floor. I see the curve of her belly, pregnant with their second. She doesn’t know we’ve actually been trying for over a year—with no success of conceiving. She doesn’t know I actually ache to be in her shoes. Swollen feet and all. “Oh, yeah,” I say, “We definitely want kids.” And I roll the ball to her toddler, trying to act as natural as possible.

Inside, I have no idea if I will be able to have kids. And I wonder if she knows, we’re trying. I wonder if she knows I would be a mom by now, if I could. And that as disheveled and chaotic as she feels, and as unattractive as she thinks she looks, with her postpartum curves—she actually looks incredibly beautiful to me. But I don’t know how to say this. Not today. 

My friend is sweet, and doesn’t press further. And I feel relieved when she doesn’t.

***

I was completely blindsided by it: infertility. I remember so naively waiting those two minutes for that first pregnancy test, feeling so sure it would be positive. I envisioned us jumping up and down in celebration. But instead, we just stood there. “Maybe it will just take a little while,” my husband said. “Yeah,” I tried to shrug off the disappointment, “Maybe.”

But month after month of trying to conceive, my period came back. And months turned into years of waiting. And crying. And praying. And wondering…

What was wrong with us?

All of our friends were on babies #2 and #3, but we could not get pregnant with one. As our friends’ families grew with new babies—it was just still just the two of us. As our friends traded in their cars for SUV’s and minivans, and turned offices into nurseries—we would walk by our extra bedrooms and pray God would fill them someday. Somehow.

Sometimes it felt like the world kept rushing past us, while we just stayed still, frozen in time. Waiting for God to move.

Now looking back on those years of waiting, I see God was moving the whole time. In fact, He did some of His best work in us during those years. And He did it, before I ever got pregnant. He opened my eyes to see. And instead of seeing my life as a barren wasteland of disappointment, I saw Him. I saw His beauty–and that though my womb was barren, my soul didn’t have to be. He began to make me alive in Him and began to birth something in me that would change the way I see forever.  (You can read more about my infertility story here.)

But what about in the meantime? How does infertility affect friendships between women? And if you are already a mom, how should you approach a friend who is possibly unable to conceive?

I can’t speak for other women—I only know my own experience with infertility—but here are a few ways women who are already mothers can honor their “childless” friends, whether they are “childless” by choice, singleness, or infertility.

1. Realize the Mommy Club can be slightly exclusive. Being a mom now for two and a half years, I have grown to love the Mommy Club. I love swapping labor stories, poop stories, and tantrum stories with other other moms, just to know I’m not alone in this. Motherhood is an incredible bond between women (even women who are just passing by in the grocery store!) But the “Mommy Club,” as wonderful as it is, can be a little exclusive at times to non-mothers, especially in the Church. And this often happens quite innocently. All the moms are laughing and going on and on, swapping war-stories from the mommy trenches, and raving about the best butt paste, and the non-mother has nothing to contribute except, “I babysat in high school once.” (Cricket, cricket.)

Now, this doesn’t mean you should drop your mom fellowship time. (Not at all!)  It’s just something to be aware of, so that you can love, and include, and value the woman who is not a mother, just as much as the one who is. And in order to do this, we as moms have to, “Look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

2. Include Your Non-Mom Friends. I think many moms assume that “non-moms” would never want to come to a play date, or meet up at the mall when your kids are present.  But I loved when my friends would include me in things like this, without the prerequisite of being a mom. I’m so thankful for friends that invited me into their daily life at home with kids because this helped me see what it was like to be a mom, and made me desire to be a mom.

Although motherhood is a strong bond, it’s not the only bond women can have. For Christians hopefully there is a bond even stronger than motherhood, and that is being a part of God’s kingdom together. Being a daughter of God connects me to every other female in the body of Christ—whether she’s two, or twenty-two, or sixty-two. It’s a sisterhood that began long before I ever conceived my daughter. And it’s one that will need to exist while I raise my daughter, and long after she has a family of her own.

3. Be Sensitive In Approaching The Topic Of Infertility. If you are already a mom and curiously wondering if, or when your childless friend will ever have children, try to be patient. I never minded at all if someone asked, “Do you think you ever want to have kids?” It was what happened beyond that question. The moment you ask, “Well, are you trying?” You are pawing at a box she might not want opened—or hasn’t initiated opening, anyway. For your friend who is battling infertility, it might feel to her like you are going through her underwear drawer. It might feel like you are saying, “So..when are you gonna have kids? Are you having sex, or what? What birth control are you using? How long have you been off of it? Is he still wearing a condom? How’s your man’s sperm count? Is everything working down there with you two? Are you guys having enough sex?” (Whoa.) No, thanks.

Don’t let your curiosity get the best of you. Or your friendship. You may get the information you want, but you’ll damage the friendship. I think that the woman that is comfortable talking about her infertility, will talk about it. So let her bring it up.

And if she does share intimate details with you, honor her in that. Be very careful not to gossip about anything she shares with you. (That means not telling anybody she hasn’t specifically told you to tell.) This comes down to simply loving your infertile friends, being patient with them, and learning how to honor them and uphold their privacy through the process.

4. Be Exceedingly Thankful To Be A Mom.  It’s especially difficult for women who could never conceive, or lost every child in miscarriage to hear women gripe and complain about being a mom. It’s true that motherhood has intense challenges, sleepless nights, and can at times make you feel like you are totally losing it. But, for the Christian, we are called to battle back with joy and gratitude and reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Complaining and grumbling not only steals your joy and darkens your perspective, but it can make the hearts of others ache, too. So be joyful in your mothering, knowing that others are watching and listening. You might be afraid that if you “enjoy” your motherhood too much in front of “childless” women, you will cause them pain. However, I think the opposite is true. Your grumbling causes them pain, not your joy. So be exceedingly joyful in your motherhood, and if, or when they get to enter motherhood they will be more likely to be joyful in it, too.

5. Be Available For Your Infertile Friends.  The longer a woman, or couple experiences infertility, the more likely they will be to open up about it. And if they open up to you, give them the encouragement they need. Pray for them, comfort them with Scripture, and remind them that God is lovingly leading their life together. We were very private about our struggle with infertility, but the few people we did open up to provided such a source of comfort and strength to us during the process.

Infertility Doesn’t Have To Break A Friendship
As Christians, we have this amazing opportunity to love each other. The seasons of our lives don’t always line up perfectly with each other. And although some friendships may drift while others thrive, let’s let it be because of the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And not because of the anger, bitterness, and jealousy of an infertile couple. Let’s not let friendships be broken by prying questions, or gossip, or because we were too selfish to look past ourselves.

I think something really beautiful happens when people from different seasons of life are both vulnerable and strengthening to each other. Titus 2 talks about how within the body of Christ we all need each other.  So, wherever you are at, whether you are in a house filled with the cries and screams of little children, or you are praying desperately for a miracle in your womb, or you are a grandmother, or you are a single person who is traveling the globe, let’s love each other. Because before any of us were mothers, we were daughters. We were sisters. We were children, born into the Kingdom of God and saved by the blood and mercy of Jesus Christ. The One whom we love, and live for.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).


This post was first published on Loving My Lot as a guest post I wrote for author/blogger Jeanne Harrison. Be sure to check out Jeanne’s other posts, like Mom vs. Mom: The War I Didn’t See Coming, and her new blog turned book, “Loving My Lot”, which you can purchase by clicking on the picture link below!

 

Photo Credit: D’Attoma Studios

To The Woman Who Thought She Was Pregnant When She Wasn’t

thought she was pregnant
Maybe you thought your belly was starting to curve. Maybe you let out your gut in front of the mirror after your shower, and could swear it was protruding.

Maybe you felt a wave of nausea on the drive to work.

Maybe your bra felt tighter than usual.

Maybe you felt extra tired this month.

Maybe you had some major mood swings and your husband quipped, under his breath, “She must be pregnant.” And you pretended to roll your eyes, but inwardly you were rejoicing.

Hoping.

Dreaming.

And then you woke from that dream, two minutes after the pregnancy test. And you woke again, several days later when your period began without fail.

And maybe you scolded yourself for letting yourself believe, hope, wish that this month was different.

Maybe you vowed that you would never let yourself “expect”that you were expecting again.

Maybe your heart grew a little harder, and your dreams shrunk a little smaller. But I want to tell you something, and it might sound cliché, but it’s true:Don’t stop hoping. Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop praying for a miracle.


Because when you stop, something dies in you. Something that very much needs to be alive if you are going to be a mom one day.

When we were trying to conceive, I wanted to give up. There were months I charted my cycles like a statistician, and other ones I picked up all those stupid charts and threw them into the garbage, along with my dreams.

And it happened on a Sunday, that a seed was planted in me. Not by my husband, not by IVF, but by a dear friend, named Stephanie. It was just a seed of hope. She knew we had been trying, and failing. And longing, and despairing.

It was such a simple thing. I was just standing alone in the church ladies’ bathroom, drying my hands on a paper towel, and she walked in and said, quite out of the blue, “Can I pray for your womb?” I kind of laughed, and then said, “Sure.” Even though, my first thought was, “What good would that do?” Even though, I had stopped praying for a baby months ago.  Even though, I already accepted this wasn’t God’s path for us. And I was trying to be okay with it. But I said, “Yes,” anyway. I told her she could pray for me.  And so, she laid her hands on my flat belly, and prayed that God would bring life there, to my womb.

That was it.

But it started something in me, like a smoldering wick that suddenly burst into flame. Like the reawakening of a dream. It was hope. And it fluttered awake in me.

And I know, it can hurt to hope. It can be dangerous to hope. But without hope, everything dies.

I knew I had already tried everything in my power to become pregnant. But the great thing about hope is that, it has nothing to do with the person who is hoping, and it has everything to do with the One who is being hoped in.

And so I felt free, because I wasn’t hoping me. I was hoping in God. The One in whom all things are possible.  

To the woman who thought she was pregnant and found out she wasn’t. To the woman who feels worn out with asking. To the woman who has stopped believing God hears,

He does hear you.

And to the woman who feels “past-due” for a miracle, I want to remind you of a woman who has felt this same way. Her name was Sarah, Abraham’s wife. And she could not have children. And she stopped hoping she ever could.

But when God has ordains something, it happens. And God had chosen Sarah to bear a son, even she was almost ninety years old.

“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.” But God told Abraham that his wife will bear a child, and when she heard it, “Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’…” Genesis 18:11-13

Maybe you feel like Sarah. Maybe you feel too old, or too jaded to believe God could do this.

But be encouraged. He can. He still can.

And you are never beyond hope.

God still brings children into the arms of a mom who will love them, at all costs. And I don’t know how it will happen. But God still does miracles in orphanages across the ocean. And God still does miracles in the foster system and the court rooms of America. And God still does miracles in the wombs of barren women.

I see one every day. She’s blonde, and her eyes are blue like the ocean, and when she smiles, it’s like Heaven breaks through.

So don’t lose hope. You need it. And let this hope reawaken your dreams. And reawaken your prayers. Because God hears you.

Don’t stop praying for a baby.

Don’t stop praying for a miracle.

Because God still hears the cries of the barren.

And He answers them.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


For more encouragement during infertility, check out these posts, About My Barrenness, How Far Is Too Far When Trying to Conceive, When the Barren Sing, Stop Waiting to be Happy, or any of the other posts in my Trying to Conceive Category. Please share these posts to encourage anyone struggling with this season.

When Motherhood Gets Messy


“Don’t touch Mommy when she’s on the potty.”

This is an actual rule in our house. One of those rules you never imagine making before entering motherhood, but makes total sense after the fact. My daughter is two, and when I’m on the toilet, she likes to stand right up next to me, with her hand on my thigh like a faithful midwife.

A midwife who won’t leave. Who screams and pounds on the door when I try to lock her out. It’s rather stressful…for all digestive purposes.

My daughter has a way of entering my space. Whether I want her to, or not. How I am disarmed by a two-year-old day after day, I am still trying to figure out.

We’re in the potty training stage right now. Which means…I currently spend most my free time sitting on the bathroom floor. Waiting for her to “finish.”

I never thought I’d be comfortable eating my breakfast cereal or drinking my coffee while she stinks up the place. But I am.

I am reaching new “lows” like a Limbo champ.

Public Bathroom or Wrestling Cage?

Public bathrooms are the worst.

My daughter is obsessed with them. Every time we’re in a new store, she wants to “go.” I’ll open the door of the stall, and she races in like she’s first in line at the gate of Disney World. And she always heads for the same place, that little one foot gap between the toilet and the wall. You know, the place where only two things—the plunger and toilet brush–should be? But alas. My girl makes three and picks them up and greets them like long lost relatives. That’s when I start screaming, “No! No!!! Yucky!! Put those down!! Yucky germs! No! No! Not in your mouth!!!” So much for peaceful parenting. Get me in a public restroom and I’m a fire-breathing dragon.

The whole experience is catastrophic. And as we take turns going potty, I’m not sure what’s worse: my turn, when she stands with her hand on the latch of the stall door, and smiles, knowing I am at her complete mercy, while I threaten her, “Don’t you DARE open that door!!” Or her turn, when she nearly takes a plunge into the enormous toilet while screaming, “I do it myself!” and then rummages her hand through the “feminine napkin” box like it’s a Happy Meal. Either way, it usually ends in a lot of screaming and scuffling and banging around. Sounding much like a wrestling cage-match to the person in the stall next to us.

(If you’re not a mom, imagine someone trying to sit on a toilet and wrestle an alligator at the same time. Because that’s much what’s going when Mommy and Toddler are in the next stall.)

[Click here to finish reading the rest of this post at Thriving Home Blog, where I have had the priviledge of being featured by Polly and Rachel.]

To The Woman Still Longing To Be A Mom

I am thinking of you tonight. Actually, I think of you often. I know how you feel when you walk through the Baby section at Target. Maybe with a gift registry in your hand, and wonder if you will ever own a tiny bathtub like the one you are buying. You wonder if you will ever own little onesies, or little shoes, or little anything. Because right now, the miracle seems so far away.

You will go to the baby shower and hear all the “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s” over every little, tiny gift, and wonder if you will ever have any little tiny gifts of your own to open? Will your stomach ever round with life? Will you ever hold a baby and whisper over him or her, the word you long to say, “Mine.

I know how your heart aches, and waits, and wonders at a life that seems so easy for others, even “accidental” for many, but so seemingly impossible and difficult for you.

Maybe tonight you hold out fragile hands to a God, that you have to believe, hope against hope, is a good Father. And gives good gifts to His children. And that He gives bread and not stones. Even when you can’t taste it yet.

For the woman who feels He is far tonight, I’m thinking of you. For the woman who is growing weary of waiting tonight, I’m thinking of you. And for the woman who has yet to hold her child lost in miscarriage, I’m thinking of you.

And maybe you never got see your baby’s face. Maybe you never even got to give your baby a name. But God knows your baby’s face. God knows your baby’s name. He knew from the moment He breathed him or her into existence. And though your arms ache to hold that child, He is holding him or her tonight. And though you’d give the world to sing them lullabies, He sings over them tonight. And I know you have to wonder, why aren’t they here? With me? And I do not know such a mystery. All I can wonder is, perhaps the world was not worthy of such a one.

They were too precious.

I’m not trying to make you grieve. I just want you to know that I love you tonight. And I think about you. And I want you to know God has filled me with compassion, and love, and hope for you.
Because you are the reason I started Barren to Beautiful. Your pain, and confusion, and your aching heart is the reason. And I know, we have never met. I wish we could. I wish I could hear your story. I wish I could hear your heart’s cry tonight. I wish I could console you.

And so, because I can’t, I just want to turn my gaze toward the One who can. The God who made you, and loves you, and has ordained your life with purpose. And so I’m just going to pray for you, if you want to join in:
Dear God,
I lift up my sister to You tonight. And though this is just a little blog post, You are a big God. And so I pray that You would break into the room where she is right now, by Your Spirit. And show her that You are real. And that You have the power, and that Your Spirit gives life.

Show her that You hear her cries in the night, even the quiet whispers of her heart. You know her dreams. You’ve seen them all. And before a word is on her tongue, O Lord, You know it completely.

You formed her together in her mother’s womb, Your eyes saw her unformed body. And all the days ordained for her were written in Your book, before one of them came to be.

And thank you that this is not the end. Thank you that endless and boundless life flows from You. Thank you that in You, death has lost it’s power. Death has lost it’s sting. And that the Day is coming when Death will be swallowed up in Life forever.

So bring comfort to her heart, and peace to her soul. And when her body is weak and gives out, be her strength. When her body fails her, month after month, let her say, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none on earth I desire besides You. Though my heart and my flesh may fail, You are the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
God, come close to her tonight–because you say in Your Word to the barren woman,

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
    behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
    and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11

I pray you would fill her with Your Holy Spirit, and that her heart and soul would overflow with Your life. And that though her womb may be barren, her spirit would not be barren any longer. Minister to her tonight. And let her rest in You, and to wake with perfect peace as she fixes her mind on You all night long.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

P.S My husband recorded this beautiful song in our living room the other night. And he did it for a friend who is grieving right now, but I just wanted to share it with you as well. It’s a very old hymn called, “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right.” Click here to listen to it. Perhaps it will minister to you, as much as it does to me.

Much love. You are my heart. And feel free to connect on Facebook, or via email at barrentobeautifulblog.com . For more of my story or encouragement during infertility, check out the posts in the Trying To Conceive category on my blog.

Love,

Rebekah

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

When Your Child Comforts You


“You okay, Mommy?” she said, pressing herself onto the arm of the overstuffed leather chair. Through my tears, I could see her wild-blonde bedhead, blurring into her pink Disney Princess pajamas.

“No,” I said with perfect honesty. “Mommy is sad,” my voice cracked.

I had just got the news that morning: a dear friend’s brain cancer had returned. And my heart felt broken for him.  For his wife, and his girls. And I kept trying to pray—but all I could do was cry.

And I didn’t want to cry in front of my daughter. Because she is two. And I didn’t want to upset her. But sometimes you just can’t hide how you feel. And so, I sat in the big leather chair that morning, with my face in my hands and cried, while my coffee got cold.

But she kept pressing closer to me, pushing her whole body under my arm, climbing into my lap, and gently brushing my long hair away from my face, so I couldn’t hide behind it. And I wanted badly to be alone. I just wanted to think, and pray, and cry.  But when you’re a mom, you don’t always get the opportunity to “just cry.” Even when you feel it’s the only thing you are capable of doing.

“Maybe you could sing Mommy a song?” I offered, trying to brighten the mood. She looked at me eagerly. And I expected she would sing me her favorite song by default, “Happy Birthday.” But that morning, I was surprised by a different tune.

Instead, she sang me one of the lullabies I wrote for her, which goes:

“Don’t cry little Selah, 

Don’t cry little girl.

Don’t cry little Selah,

For you know, He holds the world.” 

But she didn’t sing those words; she changed the lyrics. And I didn’t even know she could do that. But she changed the words just for me, and instead sang:

“Don’t cry little Mommy,

Don’t cry little girl. 

Don’t cry little Mommy,

For you know, He holds the world.” 

I lay my face against her chest, sobbing into her soft cotton pajamas. Holding her closer than ever before. And as I felt her heart beating against my face, I just felt so…small.

Just a little Mommy.

Just a little girl.

I was holding her, but really, it was as if she was holding me. With her warmth. With her tight embrace. With her big blue eyes searching my brown ones.

“You feel better now?” she asked, eyes wide as saucers. “You feel happy?”

“Yes. Yes,” a smile breaking forth from my face, “Thank you.”

And I realized, at that moment, just how much I needed her. Just how much she comforted me. Not just then, but all the time. Her presence is a constant comfort to me, and I didn’t see it until now.

My Sweet Child,

I know I am your Mom. And it is my job to take care of you, and keep you safe. To care for you. And I promise, I always will.

Long before you were born, I knew that you would cry, and I would soothe you. But I didn’t know that sometimes when I’d cry, you would soothe me, too. I didn’t know, when you were just in my womb, that the nights I’d hold you late into the night, you would be holding me, too. I knew I would hug and kiss you, but I never imagined how it would feel when you would hug and kiss me. I knew my hands would reach for yours, but I never imagined yours reaching for mine. I knew I’d sing you lullabies, but I didn’t know you’d sing them back to me.

I knew you would need me.

But I never imagined how much I would need you. 

How much I would need your nearness. Your embrace. Your voice. Even your lullabies.

Because at the end of the day, I’m really just a little Mommy. I’m just a little girl. And I forget, He holds the world.

And it wasn’t long ago, I was just your size, and saw the world through your eyes.

It still looks so very big to me. And I still get scared. And I still cry.

And the One who holds the world, also holds you, and holds me. And what’s amazing is that He also lets us hold one another. And it’s more precious than I thought.

I thought I knew what it would be like to be a mom—to be your mom. I thought I understood the gift, before I opened it. But I didn’t. Because you are a gift that seems to unfold into a thousand more, every day.

And I didn’t know until now, how much I needed you. But I do. I didn’t realize the comfort you bring me–and have always brought me since the day you were born. For so long, I thought you needed me close to you, but I really think, I need you close to me, too.

And for all the tears of yours I’ve dried, you have indeed dried mine, too.

And for all the happy tears I cried, I cried them all for you.

I will always be your Mom. But in case I don’t always let you see. I need you, just as much as you need me.

Love,

Mom

“So don’t cry little Mommy,

Don’t cry little girl,

Don’t cry little Mommy,

For you know, He holds the world.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And please pray for my friend with brain cancer. He needs God to hold him tonight.