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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Letter to my Daughter {before there are two}

My sweet Josie,

While you were still growing sweetly inside of me, I prayed for you. I prayed that you would be strong and joyful. Those two words stuck with me throughout my prayers for you as you grew inside of me.  You're only 8 months old but you already exude so much joy. And the world knows how strong you are with how you overcame so much when you were first born. You amaze me! The world is new and amazing to you.  I always imagined what you'd look like. I always daydreamed that you'd have big brown eyes and long brown hair. You'd dance around without a care. Already, we can see that you are a lover. You love to love. You love to cuddle, give kisses, burrow your little head into my hair, and lay on your daddy's chest. You love others so well already; you're an inspiration to me. You love and are so loved. Everyone that passes you, whether they are your friends and family or strangers, they always comment on how gorgeous you are, how happy you are. People can't help but be happy when they are around you and I know that you're going to use that for God's glory as you grow. Your smile, your laugh.. evidence of the joy that is from God. What a special person you are.. and you're not even a year old yet.

I never thought I could love someone like I love you. There have been some hard days when you were smaller and we were both learning. But every single day, I thank God for you. I thank Him for taking care of you and giving you great strength while you were in the NICU. Every time I look at you, I see God's faithfulness, His grace, His goodness. You are our precious gift from God.

Right now, you're our one and only. Your sister will be less than a year behind you and I think you're going to absolutely love having someone so close to grow up with. I know that when she gets here, it may be hard at first but I think, just like me and daddy, that having another baby in the house will naturally ease it's way into your life and heart just like you did for us when you came home at six days old.  I think you're going to love having someone your age that you can grow up with, exploring all God has for you both as you grow. I'm so thankful for that! I can see you two running around the house in dress up clothes, singing a funny song you made up just like your dad does.

 In just three short months, there will be two. Two sweet girls to love on and teach and hold and watch grow. But you'll always be my first baby that made me a momma. And I'll always love you, hug you, hold you, laugh with you, and cry with you. We'll always be there for you when you fall to pick you back up and dust you off. We'll be there in the good and bad, the sunshine and the rain. I pray everyday that you will know God and love Him more than anything the older you get. I pray for wisdom beyond your years. I pray for protection from what the world will tell you and that you will bravely and boldly know who you are in Christ. You are strong and brave! I'm so thankful for you and I can't wait to see what God has in store for your precious life!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The first few months of being a new mom, I honestly didn't struggle or deal with mom guilt. I was wrapped up in one thing: my new baby. Those first few months were quite a blur and everything I did revolved around our baby... feeding, pumping, recovering from a c-section, eating everything in sight,  crying alot and cuddling even more. Those things summed up my life. And while I did love every second of it (minus the PPD, of course), I held out hope that my life wouldn't always be consumed with these things. But it felt like a lifetime away. And then one day, I woke up and the newborn stage was over. It went just as quickly as it came upon us.

Josie wasn't needing to eat every 2 hours anymore and I eventually stopped pumping and moved onto formula (hallelujah!) and I knew that thing were getting somewhat easier. And that's when a new frenemy knocked on my door: mom guilt.

I was recovering and able to do things I used to do like workout, blog, take pictures, and read my Bible. I was starting to come out of the fog of postpartum depression and anxiety. Life felt normal again. Besides being pregnant again already, haha, but that's another story for another day.

As I was trying to create a daily routine, I found myself feeling so guilty when I wanted to do anything for myself. Mean little whispers filled my ears... "You're not a good mom!" "You have a baby to take care of, you don't have time for anything else!" "You always need to be giving your baby attention." "If you don't play with her or hold her 24/7, she'll never feel loved!" I had no idea where any of these feelings were coming from. I'd never felt them before. I feel like I'm a great mom, super loving and attentive. I know my baby better than she knows herself. Yet, anytime I tried to do anything that didn't involve Josie, I would feel like a total failure.

Every time my husband and I would go on a much-needed date, I would think about Josie almost the entire time. I wondered if she knew I was doing something else without her... as if a 5 month old thought about things like that. I own a photography business and any time I had to be gone to shoot a session, I felt the guilt creeping back into my head. I barely put any effort into my quiet time with God because I was so consumed with holding my baby constantly. I didn't open my laptop to write once for seven months because I felt like any time away from Josie, even though she was right beside me playing happily and carefree, was going to mess her up somehow. The mom guilt is real, y'all. But I knew that I didn't HAVE to feel like this. I really wanted to shut it out... I at least wanted to stop listening to that guilt in my head.

I realized that any guilt, even mom guilt, is from the enemy. Guilt is never from God. In fact, Jesus took away all guilt when He proclaimed, "It is finished." 

I had to accept that truth and live it out in my own life... as a mom and beyond. I hated carrying around the heavy weight of mom guilt and Jesus reminded me that that burden is not mine to bear. He wanted it. So, I gave it to Him. And I give it to Him daily, hourly even.

The enemy of my soul still tries to get to me fall into the lie of mom guilt but when I soak myself in God's truth and in prayer, I can fight against those lies that I am not a good mom if I simply do something I enjoy. I still have to tell myself not to worry when she is playing happily in the floor beside me and I am reading or writing. She doesn't mind and I shouldn't let it bother me either. Date nights are needed and I should never feel guilty for putting my husband first. Don't let the enemy lie to you either. Jesus came to take those burdens of feeling unworthy or not good enough. In Christ and only because of Him, I am FREE. And so are you.

I will not let Satan steal my motherhood and I will not let him steal my joy even for a day. Because my today belongs to God and I find all my hope in Him as a mom and outside motherhood. Jesus redeems every part of our life for His glory. He is worthy, mama, even when you feel like you aren't.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Seven Months Later... I'm Back!

I'm currently in the floor of Josie's nursery as she sweetly naps this evening. It's the first time I've typed on a computer in seven months. I'm a bit rusty. But I wanted to share my heart and a little bit of where I have been.

 I didn't plan to take such a long break from writing but motherhood is a demanding thing. It's so many things, actually. So many good, hard, beautiful, tiring, and precious things. Being a mom has rocked me to the core and then some. From a scary, life-altering whirlwind of a labor+delivery, not knowing what will happen in the next moment to slowly gaining confidence as the months go by as a new mother to a precious and tiny baby girl who has pretty amazing hair and those cheeks.. don't get me started on those cheeks.

Let's back track to February of this year. Maybe one day I will be ready to write about Josie's birth but that day (and the many days after that in the hospital) is still raw and looking back is still tender to the touch, hard to think about, and somewhat painful as I remember my baby hooked up to so many machines but honestly --- so overwhelmingly good because God was faithful to us during such a scary time. I grew so much in my trust in my Faithful and Wonderful God. Josie is as healthy and chunky (and long) now as ever and I'll never be able to put into words the thankfulness to God that I feel in my heart for showing us mercy, grace, protection, healing, and ultimately, His presence during the time that Josie was born and was in the hospital. I struggled with control for many years and in a moment, all I had was Jesus to cling to for my life and my freshly new daughter's life. That will strip you of any feelings of control you think you have.

I dealt with postpartum depression/anxiety for a solid five months and still battle some anxiety but God has been so faithful to deliver me from that. I definitely want to write more about that later on so that other moms can know that they are not alone.

And then, we recieved some big news in the midst of no sleep and feeding a two month old every 3 hours. We are pregnant again! I cried and my husband laughed and leaped for joy. And I cried some more. God definitely gives us more than we can handle but He never leaves us alone to deal with it ourselves. I'm almost 6 months pregnant with another healthy baby girl and I'm so thankful. And tired. Haha! 

I have grown so much in my relationship with God as I face trials of many kinds (mainly motherhood related). I'm trying to learn how to be a faithful mother while also being a faithful wife, servant, and most importantly Jesus follower. Everyone says it's a balance but honestly, I don't believe that. I am learning that when I give my ALL to Jesus every single day, He provides me with the strength and energy I need to be a mom, the love I need to be a wife and faithful servant of Christ to those around me.

Survival mode is where I have been these last seven months but slowly and surely, the Lord is showing me that He has abundantly more in store for me and every other precious person He has created no matter what role He has given you.