I feel a strange sense of reflection this year as my sweet baby girl turns two years old this month. I feel grateful and hopeful. I feel surprised by how vivid the emotions of all that has happened over the past two years still remain. Am I healed? Yes! Praise the Lord, I can confidently say that He has brought me through and I am on the other side of the hardest season of battle and despair I think I have personally fought through, EVER. But I am not without scars. I am not the same as I was. I am forever changed and my little girl is a constant reminder of all of it.
I have spent the last few months reflecting on the beginning of the journey… the moment I learned that I was expecting the baby I was never expecting. There I was – a pastor’s wife 13 years into our marriage, a 30-something-year-old mother of 4, a middle-class stay-at-home-mom – staring square in the face of an unplanned pregnancy. I had all the emotions, the thoughts, the fears, that are normally attributed to the single, impoverished teen mom and I didn’t know what to do with them! I didn’t understand how to process what I was experiencing because it did not fit into what I believed.
Every child is a gift. YES. I believe that… but this is did not feel joyful. This was not a happy surprise. THIS was NOT a gift I was prepared for. I was terrified. I was distraught and I was alone. I was surrounded by the best friends I could ever ask for and ones who loved me deeply, but I didn’t believe that I was allowed to feel the way I was or to have the thoughts that I was. I was stuck for months and always felt that I should have been progressing much faster in my ‘shock -> acceptance -> excitement’ journey. But I wasn’t.
When my little lady was born, I knew that I needed to be very intentional building an ‘attachment’ withe her. I was genuinely in love with her and overwhelmed by her sweetness and my desire to protect her from everything wrong in the world… including me. I made sure to cuddle her and tell her that she was loved as often as I could. Even as the Postpartum Depression settled in and I couldn’t even recognize myself, I knew that I needed this girl to feel safe. It may have felt fake, but it was a deeply rooted truth that I was fighting to hold onto even though my mind and emotions stood in stark contrast.
And that was my life for the next 18 months. Fighting to hold onto what I knew to be true about God, about myself, about my community, and about my children and role in their lives. So often, our feelings lead the way. We are taught to follow our hearts…. to go with our gut. For the Christian, this can prove deadly. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”. We cannot blindly trust ourselves to guide us through the mess of life. Our hearts will certainly lead us astray if not anchored in the truth of who God is and the foundation of the gospel.
I still find myself speaking very intentionally to that little girl. I tell her how thankful I am to be her mom. How I am so glad that The Lord saw if fit to entrust us with her when I am so undeserving. She is an undeniable gift of grace and has taught me more than I could’ve ever imagined about the righteousness and faithfulness of our God. I obviously love all 5 of my incredible babies (though at nearly 14, 12, 9, nearly 5 and now 2, I’m not sure I can accurately call them that, but I do what I want. #momperk). They have each demanded that I grow and mature in ways I didn’t even know was necessary before they came into my life. They have each caused me to realize that I am desperate for Jesus to show me how to be a mom for them, individually. A cookie-cutter, blanket approach will not work here!
But for that last one, there is a unique bond that we share. Though they’ve all changed me, she has shattered me! Her very existence, from the size of a sesame seed, has pushed me lower to the ground than I’ve ever been before and birthed a desire to remain there… prostrate before our Creator, as I trust in Him to see us through.
Happy Birthday, my Darling Girl.