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*Ah-choo*

Please excuse me a moment while I dust off these keys…

So, apparently having a baby is everything everyone ever told me it would be: time-consuming, stressful, sleep-depriving, busy, really busy, scary, confusing, messy…

And absolutely wonderful!

In the past five months, my whole world has been turned upside down, shaken senseless, and re-prioritized. Some parts have been downright painful (like labor, delivery, nursing, and hormonally-driven emotional surges), but there are other parts that have been just…amazing. Completely, breathtakingly amazing.

Before the birth of my son, nothing and no one would make me understand what it’s like to be the mother a chubby, toothless wonder that has stolen your heart away by doing nothing else but simply existing. Or that I’ll actually be OK with being pooped on, peed on, vomited on, drooled on, chewed on, and bit by him, because he’s got the most beautiful toothless smile you’ve ever seen. I’ve heard at least two people describe motherhood as “watching your heart walk around outside your body,” which I have personally found to be true.

Of course, it’s not all lollipops and rainbows over at my house – don’t get me wrong. My laundry has piled up, the floors need to be scrubbed, my bed hasn’t been made since…yeah, let’s not go there, and you probably shouldn’t turn on the light if you want to use my bathroom. My husband and I haven’t fought this much in a five-month time span since we were engaged while living 1,300 miles apart. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life, and don’t get me started on the list of things that nobody tells you about when you’re pregnant.

But, I am surviving and, dare I say, thriving by the grace of God. His grace keeps me going. It allows me to soothe the crying baby when all I want is for someone to hold me so I can have my own good cry. It helps me get dinner on the table when I want to just crawl under the covers and hope my messy house will just go away. It shows me how to love and respect my husband when we’re both sleep-deprived and cranky. It lets me be OK with the fact that there is no manual for being a parent.

I have a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of space on this blog processing what I’m going through and learning, now that I’m a mother. Some people may find it to be just another mom blog, but I hope that for some it will be an encouragement. Maybe you’ll relate, maybe you’ll get some insight, maybe you’ll even have some advice for me. However it happens, my life is forever changed because five months ago my son was born, and there’s no going back. So here I go…

I’m not very good at keeping a journal.  Or a diary.  I never have been.  But I do keep certain things – important, impactful things – written down somewhere, so I remember them.  And these comparatively few things are usually the things that I will remember, because I wrote them down.

Yesterday, I was talking to God after a really rough afternoon, and I remembered a post from my old blog:

Psalm 23 (my notes in italics):

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. I will trust You unconditionally and unquestioningly to take care of me.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, I will trust You to bring me good things, to cause me to flourish and be refreshed.
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. I will trust You to take care of my safety and well-being.
4 Even though I walk through the the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Even when I go through the scariest times in my life, I will trust You to always take care of me. And I will find reassurance in Your authority and support.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. I will trust You to protect me and bring me honor in spite of those who may try to harm me or bring me down.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. I will trust in You and Your promises!

I want to make a better habit of writing things down – both the good and the bad – because it is good to remember the things God has done.  The saying, “time heals all wounds,” can be so true.  After so much time has passed, I sometimes find it hard to remember how difficult my previous trials were, and I face my current trials with despair, because I can’t see past them.  But looking back can give me the encouragement I need to look ahead, because now I remember feeling this sad/overwhelmed/angry before, but I also see how God was faithful, and He is always faithful, and He will get me through, just as He did before!

I once read a post on a friend’s blog – My Interior By Design – that went like this:

1. Healthy things grow.

2. Growing things change.

3. Changing things challenge us.

4. Challenge forces us to trust.

5. Trust leads to obedience.

6. Obedience makes us healthy.

7. Healthy things grow.

Change.  It can be so difficult.  It can be so good.  It can be a pain in the butt!  Changes have really hit me as I adjust to life in a new state (and yes, sometimes I walk around during my day with the David Bowie song, “Changes”, stuck in my head).  For example, in the state of Georgia, you get your driver’s license from the Department of Driver Services (or DDS), but then you go across town to a totally different office run by the county to get your car’s plates.  Never had to do that before, and the idea sounded awful – two different offices to complete a task that I used to be able to take care at one?! Come. On.  Well, it turned out to be a rather painless and efficient system, because it took all of 20 minutes for both my husband and I to get our car tags, so…yay! 🙂

Another thing I’ve been adjusting to is not knowing anyone around here.  Well, I’ve got my neighbor, who’s been really nice, but she’s much older than me, so we probably would run out of things to talk about if we ever found a place we both wanted to hang out.  I really drive myself crazy at church or Starbucks, which are both places I used to go and see friendly faces.  Oh, well, the faces are friendly enough around here, too, but none of them are familiar.  That doesn’t stop my from scanning every face, trying to find someone familiar!  Still haven’t found one.  😦

It’s hard to think back and remember that only 5 years ago, I was in the same situation in Virginia.  I had just moved from the Midwest, where I was born and raised.  Friendly strangers, low humidity, and cold weather were all I had known!  Needless to say, moving to the East Coast/South, living 20 minutes from the ocean was quite a culture shock!  I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t have a clue where to start!  Fast forward half a decade, and as we packed up all our earthly belongings (besides the ones that are still being stored in my parent’s basement), we said several teary goodbyes to people who had become close friends.  People who I had never known existed a few years before are now some of the dearest people to me. 

And now, I look forward to living that all over again, even though I have no idea what the process will look like, and it probably won’t be all that fun sometimes, but one day, I will be able to look at my life and smile at all the wonderful people who have come into it at different times, in different places, and made it so much more special.

So here’s to growth, change, challenge, trust, and obedience!